A Zpryme survey of 223 smart grid executives conducted in September reveals that 24 percent of respondents rated reducing peak energy consumption as their top justification for investing in the deployment of smart meters and other advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Other top justifications for investing in AMI were to reduce costs, increase grid reliability, and to allow consumer-based demand response.
The survey results, included in a white paper sponsored by Elster, also found that 28 percent of executives rated improved grid reliability as the top justification for investing in distribution automation (DA). The most important technologies required to enable DA are automated communication networks, intelligent distribution sensors, IT hardware/software, distribution management systems, intelligent electronic devices, and outage management systems.
The findings shown in the “Elster Answers AMI & DA Trends 2012” reveal that a convergence of DA and AMI will benefit utilities the most in the short-term, but customers will win over the long-term, as these technologies will give them more choice and control of their energy usage, a more stable grid, and lower electricity bills. Further, distribution automation plays a vital role in integrating renewables, distributed generation, and advanced demand response applications.
The survey findings indicate that over the next five years, the AMI and DA markets are poised for tremendous growth, both separately and in combination. The AMI industry is consolidating as large corporations acquire the proprietary solutions of smaller firms in order to expand their solution offering for utilities. The DA market is projected to quadruple in size in North America alone. North America and Asia offer the best investment targets for both AMI and DA. AMI and DA deployments will also spur investments in new technologies such as data analytics, cloud based energy management systems, load balancing and fault-detection-isolation-and-restoration systems.
Based on the Elster sponsored survey, about half of the smart grid executive respondents feel national smart grid policies or goals should be put in place, while 40 percent prefer polices to be set at the state level.