Rising energy costs and national rollouts are driving the uptake of smart meters into homes and businesses
A new research report from analyst firm Berg Insight has predicted that smart meter penetration in Europe will reach 52 percent by 2016.
According to Berg, the installed base of smart electricity meters in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.4 percent between 2010 and 2016, to reach 130.5 million at the end of the period.
This is up from Berg’s previous prediction last year when it said that the installed base of electricity meters would grow by around 17.9 percent between 2009 and 2015 to reach a total number of around 111.4 million.
And it seems that this market will see increased investments, with Berg forecasting that annual investments in smart metering technology will exceed €3 billion (£2.6bn) by the mid-2010s.
Smart meters are devices that are designed to help consumers and businesses monitor their energy consumption. Last September John Granger, general manager, for IBM’s Global Business Systems in North-East Europe, said everything is in place for smart power grids that could stave off a looming energy crisis.
Meanwhile Berg said that smart meters will constitute the core building blocks in future smart grids that will support electric vehicle charging, renewable micro-generation and advanced energy conservation.
And it pointed to the increased rollout of smart meters across Europe, following major rollouts in Italy and the Nordic region. It pointed to “massive” rollouts of smart meters in Spain, France and the UK.
“Endesa has commenced with a rollout to 12.9 million customers in Spain and the second largest electricity network operator Iberdrola will follow”, said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight.
“ERDF is awaiting formal approval from the government for a nationwide rollout to 33 million customers in France and in the UK the leading energy suppliers British Gas and E.ON have committed to the deployment of several million smart meters prior to the start of a mass rollout in 2014,” he added. “By that time there will also be massive installations in additional countries such as the Netherlands, Ireland and Norway.”
Western And Eastern Europe
And it seems that it is not only the developed western European nations getting in on this. Apparently for the first time, there are also plans for major smart metering projects in Central Eastern Europe.
Berg said that CEZ in the Czech Republic and Energa in Poland have announced large scale pilots as the first step towards full-scale installations. Energa has the most advanced plan to achieve full coverage for smart meters among its 3 million electricity customers by 2017.
With the rising cost of energy becoming an increasing burden for many households, smart meters have been proposed as a way to help this by reducing demand. A number of governments have promised to roll them out nationally, but the idea has been criticised, both for the potential security risks, and for the sheer difficulty of doing anything useful with a flood of smart meter data.