4 reports in 4 minutes: smart meters, smart grid financials, utility maturity and EV adoption
By Liz Enbysk
SGN Managing Editor
Should we be talking to consumers about smart homes instead of smart meters? That's what a new study out of the UK seems to suggest. Scroll down for a quick peek at that report and three more we think you'll find as interesting as we did.
Should we be talking about smart homes instead of smart meters?
The other day we told you about a smart meter showdown in the UK with Silver Spring Networks, Sensus and other companies vying for a piece of the $18.5 smart meter deployment that's supposed to begin next year. On the heels of that we thought the recent YouGov survey of 3,000 British consumers had some interesting results. For example, 63% of the respondents didn't know what a smart meter. However, when the concept was explained, respondents felt that greater visibility and control of energy usage in the home (77%) and the introduction of fair pricing via accurate billing (73%) were the top two reasons to favor a smart meter. And 60% felt that the idea of a ‘Home of the Future’ with a range of remote controllable gadgets and appliances putting the consumer in control, makes smart meters much more appealing. Like consumers most everywhere, the Brits do have some concerns about smart meters, according to the report. It highlights data privacy (59 percent), accuracy of billing (32 percent) and the installation process (28 percent) as the most important concerns that need to be addressed through any consumer engagement process. Download a pdf of the report here >>
VC smart grid investments are "ambling on with no clear direction"
That's the word from Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group who calls the Silver Spring Networks IPO the lone highlight in an otherwise slow first quarter of 2013. Mercom's snapshot of VC and M&A activity characterizes it as flat for the last five quarters, with Q1 of this year seeing $62 million in nine deals - nearly identical to Q1 of 2012. The top two VC deals last quarter each raised $15 million. Cylance, a provider of cyber security products for the infrastructure industry, raised $15 million from Khosla Ventures and Fairhaven Capital in a Series A round, and Sentient Energy, a developer of advanced grid monitoring solutions that consist of modular intelligent monitoring devices and software applications, raised $15 million in an undisclosed round from Foundation Capital. In terms of M&A activity, there were only four transactions in Q1; among them Toshiba's acquisition of Consert. Learn more about the report >>
Electrification of transportation is gaining traction
That's what the IEE says in a new white paper that maintains that under even the most conservative scenarios, more than five million EVs will be on the roads in the U.S. by 2035. But they're saying the figure could actually increase to as much as 30 million depending on advances in battery technology. AS Lisa Wood, IEE’s Executive Director and Vice President of the Edison Foundation, sees it: "Opportunities for electrification in the transportation sector are large and advanced batteries are a major driver. Electric transportation makes economic and environmental sense. Approximately 90,000 Americans have said goodbye to the pump and hello to the plug due to battery advancements and a growing selection of car models that has made driving an EV more accessible than ever before. This number will only grow.” Related to that, Earth Techling points to a new Electric Vehicles Initiative report that has the U.S. leading the world in EV sales at the end of 2012 - but it's still a drop in the bucket compared to total passenger car sales. Download the IEE white paper (pdf) here >>
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