Where the opportunities are: Smart grid growth in Europe


By: SGN Staff

The need for reliable, high-quality power and increased energy efficiency are underscored by the growing interest in the capabilities of smart grids throughout the world. A new study report from Frost & Sullivan focusing on Europe identifies which smart grid sectors in the region are exhibiting the most robust growth opportunities. It also outlines the hangups that are restraining even faster growth.


According to the report, Smart Grids in Europe - Identification of Key Growth Opportunities, at least some of the sectors with the most potential won't come as a huge surprise: advanced metering infrastructure, distributed generation integration, sensors, advanced transmission technologies and electric vehicles.


Smart meters,  a cornerstone and one of the most visible elements of the smart grid, were of course helped along significantly in the region by the EU mandate to reach 80% coverage by 2020 - a goal countries like Denmark, Finland and Norway are expected to reach well before then.


"The success of the smart meter rollout in Europe is largely due to the regulatory push," said Malavika Tohani, Frost & Sullivan Energy & Power Supplies Research Manager. "Smart grids are integral to achieve the EU 20-20-20 targets - 20% increase in energy efficiency, 20% reduction of CO2 emissions and 20% renewables - by 2020."


But Tohani also pointed to several roadblocks that are impeding that growth:

·         Financing uncertainty and the absence of incentives for distribution system operators and consumers

·         Concerns about consumer information security

·         Interoperability and the lack of solid regulation, standards and specific legislation

·         Consumer awareness


As an example, Tohani noted that concerns regarding information theft had slowed the smart meter rollout in the Netherlands and is now doing the same in Germany. "Advances in software and technology to protect consumer information, together with proper privacy laws to prevent data theft, will be critical to overcoming this challenge."


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