The European Union is aiming to replace at least 80 percent of electricity meters with smart metering systems by 2020, which could reduce emissions across European states by up to 9 percent and cut annual household energy consumption by similar amounts, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.
The company’s latest report states that the Security of Electricity Supply (2005/89/EC) directive kick-started the EU’s drive towards smart metering, declaring that member states should take appropriate measures to safeguard the balance between electricity demand and generation capacity availability.
Following this, the EU energy package came into force in September 2009, aimed at producing an integrated Europe-wide energy market that would encourage the adoption of smart grid technology.
Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power, states that: “Smart grids facilitate the incorporation of renewable energy sources into the power system in a stable manner. This will help many countries to achieve their targets and meet domestic power requirements using clean power sources.
“They will also allow customers to purchase cleaner power with lower carbon emissions and receive data on when it is least expensive to use electricity, enabling them to adjust their usage accordingly. This will improve the utilization of existing power plants and reduce the amount of fossil fuel capacity required, limiting harmful emissions.”
A number of social and economic benefits will also come about with the introduction of smart grids, such as creating a huge number of new jobs and new electricity markets. In 2008, 280,000 new jobs were created in the US alone.
Nagatham explains: “Stakeholders will be able to create niche markets using distributed generation, storage, demand response and other programs and services, which will lead to new opportunities for revenue generation. In the long term, with the implementation of advanced meter infrastructure, demand response programs and customer side systems, savings through electricity systems will increase, benefitting stakeholders.”
— Solar Builder magazine