According to a new research report, Smart Metering in Europe, from the analyst firm Berg Insight, the market for smart metering solutions in Europe will deliver a strong performance in the coming five years.
Until 2017, electricity distribution network operators and power suppliers will invest approximately € 15.8bn in the deployment of 110 million smart meters. Between 2011 and 2017, the installed base of smart electricity meters in Europe is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.5% to reach 154.7 million units at the end of the period.
Meanwhile, the penetration rate for smart meters in the EU27+2 area will more than triple from 18% in 2011 to 56% in 2017. The increase will largely be driven by nationwide rollouts in France, Spain, the UK and a handful of other European countries. Based on current deployment plans, around 70% of EU households will have smart electricity meters by 2020. Germany remains the only major country in Western Europe that has not committed to the introduction of smart metering. The initial approach by the German energy regulator to rely on a market-driven adoption of the technology has not resulted in much uptake.
Therefore, Germany is now evaluating the option of a regulation-driven nationwide rollout. During 2013, the German federal government is expected to announce the results of an economic assessment of the business case for smart metering in Germany. The key question that should be answered is whether the benefits in the form of energy savings, grid optimisation and greater efficiency outweigh an investment in the magnitude of € 15–20bn.
‘Germany’s decision on smart metering will be decisive for the future of the whole smart grid technology sector in Europe,’ said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight. ‘If Germany draws the same conclusions about smart metering as most other countries in Western Europe, it will open up a large and diverse market that offers plenty of room for both new and existing players to define the next generation of cutting-edge smart grid technology.
‘In the opposite case, the market opportunities for smart metering solutions in Western Europe will essentially dry up after 2020 and most European industry players will be unable to find new customers and lose a decade’s experience before the introduction of third generation smart metering systems begin in 2030.’