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By Doug Peeples
SGN News Editor
It doesn't happen every day, but frequently reports from market research and consulting firms on smart grid trends and forecasts fall like winter snow in the Rockies. Many are relevant and sometimes eye-opening while others seem to simply confirm what we already know (or think we know). Here's a sampling of recent thinking on what's going to happen in a variety of smart grid sectors over the next few to several years.
Smart grid investments
A Zpryme survey reports that 8 out of 10 executives in the utility, smart grid and
energy sectors believe that investments will continue to grow through 2012. "Utility investments will continue to increase because smart grid technology is the only rational long term strategy to manage the complex requirements of renewables integration, government regulation, emissions requirements and increased stakeholder demands," Phil Davis, senior manager at Schneider Electric Demand Response Resource Center told Zpryme.
But the report comes with some yellow caution tape: federal stimulus funding "has floated the smart grid thus far" and most of the executives surveyed said federal government support is "very important" to smart grid development. But as Jason S. Rodriguez, Zpryme CEO and research director put it, "The question now regarding the U.S. smart grid will be if sustainable growth can be achieved beyond 2012 as the government is likely to narrow its commitment to the future grid."
Building automation systems
It probably surprises no one that business is booming in building automation, but a new report from Pike Research says the market for building automation systems will double in the next 10 years, from $72.5 billion in 2011 to $146.4 billion by 2021. "Recent advances in automation technology, particularly relating to their integration with information and communication technologies, are dramatically increasing system capabilities and enabling deeper levels of energy management than ever before, thereby generating a surge in demand," said Eric Bloom, a Pike research analyst.
The smart grid market... and technology
Lucintel says the global smart grid market has benefitted from double digit growth over the past five years and that the momentum is expected to carry on through 2016, hitting the nice round number of $57 billion by then â€“ with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%. One major push for the smart grid market is increased renewable energy generation and integration. But Lucintel warns of challenges too, such as the high cost of installing components like smart meters and sensors as well as the maintenance and monitoring costs of smart grid technology. But the management consulting and market research company also says increasing costs of electricity generation, government green energy incentives, smart meter distribution and transmission facilities development to send power to remote areas also are giving the market a boost.
A new market study published by Market Publishers reports that large-scale upgrades of old technology and adoption of new smart grid technologies are the significant trends in the smart grid technology market. That global smart grid market is expected to reach $80.6 billion in 2016 compared to $22.8 billion in 2011, with a CAGR of 28.7% from 2011 to 2016.
And if you're wondering why the numbers from this study and the Lucintel report mentioned above don't quite match up, it's probably best to keep in mind that they may not be focused on or measuring the same things in the same way. But the trend is fairly obvious: up.
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