Green Economy

Published on August 22nd, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill


Smart Grid Spending Expected To Total Nearly $600 Billion By 2023

August 22nd, 2014 by  

Following on from news earlier this week, which saw Navigant Research predict investment in microgrids to reach $31 billion in the Asia Pacific region by 2023, the same company has released another report investigating smart grid technologies, and predict that market spending will total $600 billion from 2014 through 2023.

The report, Smart Grid Technologies, believes that “the market for smart grid technologies is evolving rapidly as the need for a more responsive, automated, and efficient power grid rises worldwide.” As a result, cumulative spending is expected to total $594 billion from 2014 through 2023.

“The benefits of smart grid technology are becoming increasingly measurable, in terms of both economic benefits and improved grid reliability,” says Richelle Elberg, senior research analyst with Navigant Research.

“Government mandates and growing challenges to grid stability, such as aging infrastructure, electric vehicle charging, and distributed generation, are contributing to increased spending on everything from smart metering systems in the field to new IT systems in the operations center.”

One of the major developments over the past year, according to the report, is the trend of the “smart” moving away from the control centers and out to the edges of the grid. The authors report that “intelligence is increasingly put into grid devices rather than in the operations center, and analytics are moving closer to the data.”

Distributed intelligence offers two major benefits to utilities.  First, it alleviates the data flow to central control, placing less stress on communications networks.  Second, distributed intelligence allows for faster – virtually instantaneous in some cases – response, which may help reduce outage times.

The report predicts that the falling costs for devices and communications networks, combined with the increasing desire for more efficient and reliable technologies will lead to growth in the smart grid market. Furthermore, Navigant believe that government mandates, especially throughout Europe, will help push market penetration over the coming decade.

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  • spec9

    A smart grid can really make a lot of difference. A lot of energy can be wasted by using brute force to deal with things like frequency regulation when a relatively small amount of energy at the proper place on the grid could more easily fix the problem. Demand-response, good supply prediction, good demand prediction, and other techniques can really improve the efficiency.

  • Calamity_Jean

    Several months ago I read (not here, elsewhere) some paranoid ravings to the effect that the “smart grid” would be the ultimate surveillance system. Supposedly, whoever controlled the grid could tell what every person was doing every minute of the day by analyzing the pattern of their electrical usage. Putting the “smart” out at the individual household or device might calm the kooks a bit.

    • spec9

      Of course the ridiculous thing about that is that many of these people are walking around with the ultimate surveillance system . . . the cellphone in their pocket.

    • Offgridman

      While there is a lot of paranoia to that story, unfortunately there is the grain of truth that caused.
      Three or four years ago when trying to encourage the rollout of smart meters in one of the Midwest states, which also came with a one time surcharge, a utility spokesperson got bragging. He told the media that with these new meters we can now collect the data on when and for how long everyone will be using their different appliances and electric devices so that this can help us with grid control and power delivery so what is needed will be delivered to the right places and in the right quantities to help avoid waste and prevent overloads which will help keep bills down..
      This really stirred up the tea party/libertarian faction, because in addition to the fee for the new meters the utility was trying to get permission to feed the data back through the homeowners wifi to avoid costs in collecting it other ways.
      So they took it to court over having to accept the installation of these new meters, the fees to do so, and supplying the connection without any compensation.
      Last I heard a year or two ago it had worked its way up to the higher levels of the state courts and may have headed for a federal decision, but haven’t seen anything lately on it.
      I think the state courts agreed that the customers didn’t have to supply a connection, but there were still disagreements on the actual installs and whether the customer could be charged for it.
      It was kind of stupid because the utilities were heading towards bulk data aggregation, but the libertarians were saying it could be turned into personal.

      • Calamity_Jean

        “He told the media that with these new meters we can now collect the data on when and for how long everyone will be using their different appliances and electric devices so that this can help us with grid control and power delivery….”

        That was stupid for two entirely separate reasons. First, it scares people. Second, who needs that level of detail anyway? It just gives them a bigger haystack to find the needle in.

        • Offgridman

          I do agree that the way it was delivered was stupid, to see why you only need to look at the resulting court cases.
          However all those needles of information brought into an aggregate haystack are the whole reason for the smart grid that is informed by the smart meters. I really don’t think that the utilities care what any individual needle (smart meter) say, that is just the paranoia of the individuals.
          However if you are running a grid that you know when and where you need to deliver energy, rather than just supplying a surplus for everyone everywhere for just in case. It results in big savings from not having to supply that surplus to start with, and the resultant line losses of an over supplied grid
          I am trying to explain some of the complexities of electrical engineering and power supply with just words and not get into the numbers explaining it that are required for proof.
          So hope that the idea of my message is understood, and you will believe me that smart meters are a necessary part of our future grid. This is not just for keeping track of the electricity used by all or delivered back by those with solar, but to see that the most economical amount of energy is delivered where and when it is needed to keep costs down for everyone.

  • Hopefully this will significantly decrease energy rates with its capacity to save electricity and redistribute it instead of our current use it or loose it system

  • JamesWimberley

    $600 billion sounds a lot. But it’s for a decade. The actual growth forecast is a rise “from $44.1 billion in 2014 to $70.2 billion in 2023”, nothing dramatic. Navigant also include “transmission upgrades”, so more of less anything in transmission counts as “smart”.

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