Smart is inevitable — around the world, it is being driven by green concerns, security and reliability issues.
The move toward smart is happening for different reasons — and at different speeds — around the globe.
Investment in smart is being driven by a number of factors, including:
- Climate change
While the legal nature and degree of commitments varies by country, reducing carbon emissions is a significant global priority. Smart meters can raise awareness of energy use and provide a stimulus for reducing consumers’ carbon footprint. For utilities, carbon reductions will be the greatest in a revolutionary shift to smart, where “demand-response” mechanisms shift flexible energy demand to off-peak hours — enabling utilities to meet higher energy demands with the same amount of generation.
- Energy conservation
Energy efficiency is being pushed in many markets as a separate initiative to climate change, as efficiency gains provide immediate financial benefits.
In developed countries such as the US and Europe, aging infrastructure is overstretched and smart grids are seen as a solution; in India and China, where demand outstrips supply, adoption of smart initiatives is low but there is potential for leapfrogging to smart on longer-term projects to expand the grid.
There are many elements to this, including energy theft, theft or corruption of data, external hacking and terrorist attacks. However, the most common driver is fraud prevention.
Here we examine developments in smart within key markets (Australia, Canada, China, Europe, India and the US) notable for the size of their market opportunities or for their leading positions in smart. For each country, we discuss:
- What is driving smart?
- What is the status of smart developments, and what regulation/legislation exists to support it?
- Is smart being treated as an infrastructure upgrade, an evolutionary change or a revolution?
- What is the impact of smart on P&U?