April 17, 2012
A number of key recent developments have occurred in the US’s fast changing smart grid market.
Firstly, the number of smart meters installed (though not necessarily activated) has risen rapidly. In part this is due to federal government stimulus funding, which continues to factor significantly. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently found that the penetration of smart meters managed by some 420 utilities reached 13.4% of households by the beginning of 2012, compared to 8.7% at the end of 2009. Including non-activated installed meters, the proportion jumps to 18% penetration. Many of these meters have been installed as a result of the Recovery and Investment Act, which is expected to fund 15.5 million installations alone. Some estimates suggest that between 50% and 75% of electric meters in the US will be smart by 2016, and that up to 100% will be by 2020.
Further assistance – to the tune of $25 million – has been ear-market to utilities in eight states to install smart grid technologies and improve their generation and transmission capabilities. The money is on top of the $250 million committed by the USDA Rural Development for smart grid technologies, of which about half has been spent.
In addition, the Department of Energy recently proposed spending $20 million to create an Electricity Systems Hub or a number of regional hubs during 2013. The Hub(s) would address the numerous difficulties which arise from changes to distribution and transmission systems on the regional and local level. The money is a welcome boost given that the Department has also proposed reducing funding for smart grid research and development by a quarter for 2013.
On a higher level, further cooperation is expected between the US and the European Union following a memorandum signed at the end of 2011 to improve standardisation between the regions, relating both to devices and entire transmission systems.
Hosted by Clarion Events, the Metering Billing/CRm event running in Bangkok from May 8th 2012 will display new metering technologies, demand response systems, real time metering, prepayment systems, revenue enhancing billing systems and advanced customer management applications for utilities in Asia.
For more information see http://www.metering-asia.com/