Here, there, everywhere: a global smart grid overview


By: SGN Staff

By Doug Peeples

SGN News Editor


The smart grid initiative has gradually become a global phenomenon and, according to the latest reports we've seen, there is every indication that it's growing in size and scope despite the hefty bumps in the road most of us are familiar with. And while the demands and strategies vary from region to region, it looks like we all experience many of the same challenges and successes.


Getting a handle on cybersecurity

Ernst & Young's Global Information Security Survey 2012 says utilities and other organizations will need to drop their incremental approach of finding short-term solutions and get busy on overall information security threat issues if we're ever going to be able to answer "yes" to that question. Responses from more than 1,850 CIOs, CISOs and other information security execs in 64 countries showed that 77% acknowledged growing threats from external attacks while 46% said internal threats also were growing. Unfortunately, 63% said they have no security architecture in place and a handful (16%) said their information security was adequate. The report also addresses budget and finance issues.


Who could be calling the shots for Europe's smart metering industry? Germany

That may sound like a strange call to make since Germany is the only major country in Europe that has not pushed smart metering, with regulators instead relying on market-driven adoption which has shown meager results. Berg says the European smart metering market will show "strong performance" over the next five years with penetration tripling - and that it will be led by France, Spain, the UK and some others. But it also said Germany is considering a regulation-driven national deployment and probably will announce the results of its smart metering business case assessment next year.


Tobias Ryberg, Berg senior analyst, said it's an either or proposition. "If Germany draws the same conclusions about smart metering as most other countries in Western Europe, it will open up a large and diverse market that offers plenty of room for both new and existing players to define the next generation of cutting edge smart grid technology. In the opposite case, the market opportunities for smart marketing solutions in Western Europe will essentially dry up after 2020 and most European industry players will be unable to find new customers and lose a decade's experience before the introduction of third generation smart metering systems begin in 2030."


Europe's advanced water metering market also is taking off, said IMS Research in a report which also covers the Middle East and Africa. Double digit growth is expected every year through 2014. Advanced water meter sales are anticipated to represent almost a third of all water meter sales revenue in the EMEA although they won't be uniform throughout the area.

Growth in cloud computing for BEMS off to slow start

Business intelligence firm GlobalData doesn't expect the use of cloud computing to manage building energy management systems (BEMS) will reach its potential anytime soon. The industry is in its early stages and so far few countries are embracing the technology. The global cloud BEMS market yielded "modest" revenues of $142 million last year with 60% in the U.S. GlobalData found that while the technology may be useful for commercial companies that monitor their energy use of multiple outlets to compare performance, cloud services are "not as effective for single buildings where employing a standard BEMS would be more suitable."


Venture capital funding market warming up to renewables

The venture capital funding market for renewable energy will triple by 2020 as the result of supportive regulatory policies, environmental support for a lower carbon footprint and technology innovation, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan. Europe and North America have been the deal-making hotspots but renewables development in South Asia and the Asia-Pacific regions also are picking up speed. The report covers investment in solar, wind, marine/hydro, geothermal and biofuels.


And speaking of biofuels...

Cleantech market research firm Pike Research expects global biogas power generation to double by 2022. "Biogas can meet demand in power, heat and transportation markets, address a range of environmental issues, and may be deployed on both an integrated and distributed basis," said senior research analyst Mackinnon Lawrence. " What's more, the expansion of the biogas industry, which uses stable and well-understood processes, hinges on innovative applications and business models rather than breakthrough technologies."


Clean energy policy: comparisons and observations

A working paper from the World Resources Institute and four other research institutions explores the solar and wind industries in China, Germany, India, Japan and the U.S. and provides comparisons between policies and incentives, the current state of each market and the policies that have worked best. The global renewable energy industry is growing to match demand for clean and secure power, a trend that is expected to continue and grow more than eight times between 2009 and 2035 - if countries honor existing commitments and invest make needed investments of almost $3 trillion.


As the report notes, no one country has a stranglehold on the supply chain or the benefits of renewables growth. The paper also addresses competition, the drivers that influence policy makers and how they are evaluating ways to take advantage of renewables growth.