Central and Eastern Europe's smart meter spending is forecast to hit $10.3 billion cumulatively by 2023, according to smart grid intelligence and consulting firm Northeast Group, LLC. While the drivers for each country in the region are different, EU regulations and a need for advanced metering infrastructure technology seem to be taking precedence.
Northeast Group's study, Central & Eastern Europe Smart Grid: Market Forecast (2012-2023), forecasts smart metering growth in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
"Central and Eastern Europe is the most advanced region among emerging market countries for smart grid and smart meter deployments," Northeast Group said. "All ten countries covered in this study are expected to adopt EU smart meter regulations over the course of this decade, and some already have extensive smart grid roadmaps in place. At the same time, with lower electricity demand levels compared with Western Europe, it's not clear if all CEE countries will meet the EU targets. Each country's unique energy sector drivers are determining whether or not it will meet prescribed targets."
The EU has mandated that all member states provide smart meters to 80% of their customers by 2020, if it is economically practical. All member states were expected to wrap up smart metering cost-benefit analyses by September 2012, but less than half of CEE countries have completed them. Northeast Group said most CEE countries say they plan to meet the EU mandate, but haven't officially added the EU regulations into their own legislation.
The firm also said those EU regulations remain the driving force in the region, and that while some CEE countries may miss the 2020 deadline almost all will have done an almost complete deployment by the end of the 2023 forecast period.
Northeast Group also says it's no surprise that most CEE countries see the value. "Electricity prices are among the highest in the world, so customers can benefit from having greater control over their electricity consumption. Meanwhile, distribution loss rates are much higher and the duration of power outages in the CEE region are much longer compared with Western Europe, so utilities stand to gain from metering upgrades. Additionally, as these countries add greater percentages of renewable sources of energy, grid upgrades are necessary to handle the intermittency of these resources."
The study forecasts five sub-categories of the AMI market: meter hardware, communications, IT, professional services and installation costs for the 10 countries. It also includes an assessment of vendors based in the region and regional efforts of top European, American and Asian vendors.