Prospects for Smart Meter Adoption by Regions
The smart electric meter market has shifted to a new phase in which the emphasis is on projects coming together in various countries in Europe and Asia Pacific.
In North America, the frenzy of new deployments is over. Global and regional smart meter vendors point to business activity picking up in Europe, where utilities in Spain, France, and the United Kingdom have projects underway, with conservation and energy efficiency as the main goals. In the Asia Pacific region, utilities in Japan, China, and India are expected to have major smart meter deployments over the next decade due to energy efficiency playing a key role in their approach to tackling climate change.
In Latin America, Mexico leads the AMI market with an anticipated 30.2 million smart meter installments by 2025. The country’s motivation stems from high rates of electricity losses, sometimes reaching over 20%. The Middle East & Africa have electricity loss issues similar to Latin America. It is estimated that smart meter deployments will pick up as these regions aim for greater electric grid efficiency and a reduction in technical and non-technical losses.
A recent case study from Nigeria provides an example of where AMI can increase meter data accuracy, reduce theft of service and boost utility revenue. Electric utilities in Nigeria are challenged by not being able to collect accurate consumption data from a vast majority of customers, sometime more than 80%. This severely limits profits and in turn their ability to upgrade the grid.
Some of these Nigerian utilities have turned to Huawei, a Chinese technology supplier that has developed a variety of solutions to meet this critical challenge. These utilities are in the process of deploying Huawei’s automatic metering system to some 400,000 residential customers. The new meters will be supported by a high-speed data network, including sensors and controllers which leverage a Huawei-developed PLC chip that supports 10 Mbit per second data communications. In addition, the system features a Huawei-designed IoT platform that integrates sensors, meters, and control systems. Data from customers’ meters will be transmitted to local utilities once every 15 minutes, giving them a near real-time view of usage within the network. With this AMI system in place, utilities can expect to greatly increase revenue and profit.
Prospects for smart meter adoption by region
In Asia Pacific, the volume of smart meter deployments has continued to be strong, driven by the Chinese market. Utilities in other markets, such as the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, are conducting pilots mainly, but large-scale deployments appear to be a couple of years away.
In Japan, the roll out schedule of smart meters is moving into higher gear. The leading 10 utilities have announced plans to finish installing residential smart meters sooner than originally planned. The move was prompted by a need on the part of the incumbent utility monopolies to better prepare for expected competition once the retail sale of electricity is deregulated in 2016. TEPCO will be the first to complete its deployment under the revised schedule, installing about 27 million smart meters by the end of its fiscal year 2020. The seven of the remaining utilities intend to complete their smart metering projects in fiscal 2022 and 2023, with the seventh, Okinawa Electric Power Company, moving up its expected completion date to 2024 from 2032. By 2024, virtually all of Japan’s roughly 80 million residential customers are expected to have a smart meter installed in their homes.
In China, deployments of smart meters and other smart grid assets keep moving at a rapid pace. SGCC, which provides electricity to about 88% of the country, had deployed more than 182 million smart meters as of the end of 2013 and is expected to deploy about 60 million more in 2014. Investments have not only been for smart meters. The company expects to spend substantially in 2014 for HV transmission lines, substation upgrades, and new meters.
India is just beginning its move toward smart metering, though officials have been making plans for several years. The country’s Central Electricity Authority has developed specifications for smart meters, and 14 pilot projects are scheduled to take place through 2017. By then, about 1.5 million smart meters should be installed and results from testing will be used to implement an aggressive rollout, which is expected to reach 150 million smart meters by 2027.
Latin America continues to attract attention for its potential as a smart meter growth market, but so far, deployments have been more strategic than widespread. In Brazil, for instance, the market has been hampered since the national regulator’s decision in 2012 to make smart meters optional. In the run up to the 2014 World Cup, there were expectations of more deployments, but the numbers have been minimal. For example, AES Eletropaulo has been piloting smart meters as a way to reduce theft of service, but has not announced any large meter rollouts. Similarly, CPFL Energia has a pilot project involving about 20,000 smart meters but has not announced further activity. Other markets, such as Chile and Argentina, have pilot projects in place and have conducted targeted rollouts, but no recent announcements of new business have been made. However, smart meter manufacturers say announcements of new meter projects in Latin America are imminent.
In the Caribbean, one utility is moving ahead with a smart metering project. The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority announced in March 2014 that it would deploy 55,000 smart meters from Itron. Tantalus was chosen as the AMI network communications provider for the project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The project, expected to be completed within a year, will involve customers on the islands of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas.
Middle East & Africa
Smart metering has picked up some in the Middle East. The large project in Lebanon, involving 1.2 million meters, would be the largest so far in the region. A similar volume of meters is anticipated in the UAE, where Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has announced the installation of about 100,000 meters at this point. The utility expects to deploy 1 million smart meters over the next 5 years, with an investment of approximately $2 billion during that period. In other markets, utilities are in the planning phase or have pilot projects in place. For example, Israel Electric Corp. is evaluating a pilot project involving 4,400 smart meters in Binyamina and Givat Ada.
In Africa, most of the metering projects are smaller or are in pilot phases. In South Africa, the city of Johannesburg is in the process of deploying about 50,000 smart meters by 2015 as part of a project using Itron devices. Meanwhile, Eskom, South Africa’s national utility, has been developing a pilot project involving meters from Landis+Gyr. In Zimbabwe, the government intends to continue with plans to roll out smart meters, even though there has been controversy surrounding the deployment plan because of the expense. Navigant Research believes smart metering will slowly take hold in Africa in the coming decade, but projects will be smaller in size compared to other regions because of funding issues and uneven regulatory guidance.
The adoption of AMI systems by utilities is part of a long-term transformation to create a more intelligent grid. The rate of adoption varies by region, but advanced meters will become the norm in time because:
• They provide grid managers with granular data and control capabilities that support greater system efficiency.
• They will be vital in a future of increased distributed energy resources (e.g., rooftop solar), growing numbers of EV, and new energy storage options. Older meters, cash registers essentially, were never designed for a grid as dynamic as the one now unfolding.
• Smart meters enable customers to become more efficient energy users, an important goal for consumers looking to reduce costs and regulators seeking equitable rates.
Source : White Paper – Power Industry AMI Thought Leadership by Navigant & Huawei
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