Europe may lag behind the United States and China in terms of overall smart grid investment, but its still a multi-billion-dollar market for smart meters, distribution automation, and the next wave of distributed, renewable energy integration. And while U.S. smart grid investments have been falling over the past year, Europes investments are growing.
So says the European Commissions Joint Research Centre, which this week released a report tallying more than 450 projects representing a collective investment of 3.15 billion ($4.28 billion) across the 28 EU member states, plus Switzerland and Norway.
That tally includes 50 new projects, worth a combined 475 million ($646 million), that have started since the JRCs last report, which covered projects through late 2012. Over that time, 400 new companies entered the smart grid sector.
JRCs Smart Grid Projects Outlook 2014 report also includes new interactive visualization tools -- including this cool map showing region-by-region spending across Europe over the past decade.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance labelled Europe the sleeping giant of smart grid in its February report on 2013 industry investment, noting the progress of large-scale smart metering contracts in Spain, France and the U.K., as well as growing spending on distribution grid monitoring and control systems, demand response and green energy integration.
JRCs report doesnt specifically include smart meter projects, which added up to nearly 5 billion as of its latest tally. It's calculating those separately in a report set to be released later this year. But it does highlight a number of projects that are tying together smart meters, consumer engagement, distributed energy resources, electric vehicle charging and other grid edge systems. Here are the highlights from the report.
Investment is coming across a broad set of grid imperatives
JRC's report uses several key categories to organize its hundreds of projects. Most investment is going into "smart network management," which includes "increasing the operational flexibility of the electricity grid, like substation automation, grid monitoring and control," and the like.
Smart customer and smart home technologies take second place, followed by aggregation of demand-side resources like virtual power plants, integration of distributed energy resources, electric vehicle integration, and large-scale renewable energy integration:
Source: Greentech Media
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