The number of smart meter deployments across 35 emerging market countries next year will more than double the number of installations in 2012, according to a study just released by the Washington, DC-based Northeast Group. What’s more, with growth continuing throughout the coming decade, these countries will represent a smart metering— or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) — market of $56 billion by 2022.
The annual “Emerging Markets Smart Grid: Outlook 2013” study analyzes the grid potential of 35 countries from Central/Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa, South Africa and Southeast Asia. The analysts predict that the total number of electricity meters in these countries will increase to 546 million within the ten years, with 27 percent already intended by regulators to be "smart."
“These 35 emerging market countries were active in deploying smart meters and associated smart grid infrastructure in 2012, with over 1.3 million [smart] meters [rolled out]. This activity does not even include the mega-markets of China and India, which are not covered in this forecast,” said a Northeast Group spokesperson. “A number of emerging market utilities already have announced large projects for 2013.”
In fact, 14 of the 35 countries are well-positioned to begin large-scale smart grid installations by 2015. These include Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Mexico, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates. Some of these countries already are in the early stages of their rollouts.
In recent years, smart grid activity has largely been focused in North America, Western Europe, and East Asia, due to the higher electricity demand in these regions. However, next-generation infrastructure offers emerging markets a diverse array of benefits as well—including a higher level of reliability, reduction of thefts and other nontechnical losses, and the opportunity to tie renewable energy sources to the grid. As smart grid financing models and regulatory frameworks have improved, emerging market countries are catching up with their more-developed peers.
“Regulatory development was somewhat mixed in 2012, but positive on the whole,” said the Northeast Group analysts. “In particular, emerging market countries are cooperating with more developed countries to establish interoperability standards for smart meters— helping [to] reduce a considerable amount of risk from these investments. This will facilitate the entry of leading international vendors into the market, many of whom already have local partners … in these countries. In fact, ten leading international vendors accounted for over 90 percent of deployments across the 35 countries in 2012.”
The researchers noted that, “One negative sign was that some emerging market countries backed away from previously announced deployment targets—but these targets are not out of reach, if smart meter prices decline and financing improves. Utilities and governments are learning important lessons from widespread pilot projects, which should lead to clearer smart meter regulations over the next few years.”
Smart metering deployments will be the first step of next-generation grid activity in most of these countries, creating significant markets for various AMI components—including meter hardware, communications platforms, information technology (meter data management and customer information systems), and professional services.
Following AMI, there is strong potential for distribution automation, substation automation, wide area measurement; and home energy management technologies, including distributed generation and electric vehicle charging equipment.
The study ranks the smart meter potential of each country based on the perceived benefits, the regulatory framework in place, and the total market size.
Edited by Rich Steeves