South American smart grid market at the starting line


By: SGN Staff

Quick Take: Smart grid sales in South America are still relatively modest... but they are poised to hit significant numbers once they finally begin. As you will read below, South America is unlikely to be dominated by smart meters, as was the case in North America. (Even though energy theft is worse than in any other region, a situation that smart meters could help to improve). Instead, distribution automation will lead the way.  - By Jesse Berst


South America Smart Grid Market: $49.8bn by 2023    


WASHINGTON, /PRNewswire/ -- Two-thirds of electricity generation in South America comes from renewable hydropower, giving it one of the cleanest power sectors in the world. However, there are major problems with electric transmission and distribution infrastructure. A distribution loss rate of 15.5% is the highest in the world due to pervasive electricity theft and power outages are a continuing problem. As a result, an increasing share of electricity infrastructure spending is being allocated to smart grid investments that can help solve the numerous problems plaguing the region.


Smart grid expenditure will cumulatively reach $49.8 billion by 2023, according to a new study released today by Northeast Group, LLC. This spending will be allocated across the five segments of advanced metering infrastructure (or "smart meters"), distribution automation, wide area measurement, home energy management and information technology. The bulk of the spending will be in distribution automation ($23.2bn), followed closely by smart metering ($19bn with 80.7m meters).


"South America stands to achieve some of the largest benefits from smart grid infrastructure among all emerging markets," according to Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group. "When we released our first South America study two years ago, there was a lot of potential but limited activity. Since then, several countries have drafted smart grid roadmaps, launched numerous pilot projects and vendor activity has accelerated across the region."   


"Brazil is the leader, but other countries also have made large strides. Ecuador is aiming for full smart meter deployment by 2017, Colombia and Peru are finalizing roadmaps and Chile is developing smart city pilots. Established smart grid vendors are positioning themselves for this huge potential market and new players are entering the sector, such as telecom operators eager to expand their machine-to-machine (M2M) market offerings."


Northeast Group's South America Smart Grid: Market Forecast (2013-2023) Volume II study is 260 pages long, includes 163 tables and graphics and comes with an excel file with over 2,300 data points.  Forecasts are included for AMI, DA, HEM, WAM and IT for the ten countries of: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela and Bolivia.  To order a copy of the study, please visit: or email Ben Gardner at:


ABOUT: Northeast Group, LLC is a Washington, DC-based smart grid market intelligence firm. Our research is focused on the smart grid opportunity in emerging market countries.


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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