Smart Meter Shipments to Top 100m in 2011

by | Jun 23, 2011

Global shipments of smart energy meters will exceed 100 million this year and should increase to more than 250 million by 2016, according to ABI Research.

Europe is the region buying most of these smart meters and the rise in demand is largely down to government intervention, ABI says in its “Advanced Metering Infrastructure” study.

“Robust smart meter uptake in Europe is the result of mandates legislated by European central governments, coupled with heightened development in renewables,” says ABI Research industry analyst Kelvin Chan.

Smart meters measure usage of energy in buildings and report usage levels back to the supplying company. The two–way communication that connects the utility and customer plays a significant role in rolling out energy efficiency initiatives, ABI says.

North America is also experiencing a quickening deployment rate of smart meters, largely due to stimulus from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant programs, Chan says.

ABI also says that a growth in smart meter sales should be expected in Asia. China announced in its 12th Economic 5-year plan that “automated metering infrastructure” plays a key role in its economic vision. South Korea has also embarked on a smart grid demonstration project, encompassing various initiatives in the smart energy space. Singapore has also “joined the bandwagon” with its Intelligent Energy System, ABI says.

Another industry trend highlighted by ABI is that of the consolidation of manufacturers. As evidence, ABI points to Toshiba – known for its power generation and grid transmission and distribution business segments – acquiring Landis+Gyr, a company ABI describes as “a global pioneer in smart metering, networking and service products.”

In related news, a nonprofit body aimed at representing the political interests of smart meter manufacturers was launched earlier this month.

The Smart Meter Manufacturers’ Association of America is composed of all the major meter manufacturers in America. Meters from these manufacturers represent nearly 100 percent of the installed base of electric meters currently deployed in the United States and Canada, 35 million of which are considered “smart”, according to the association.

The body describes itself as “a nonprofit organization with a focus on smart meter advocacy and education.”

“Because the smart meter is such a foundational component of the evolving intelligent grid, we see the need to better inform industry stakeholders – from regulators and legislators to media and consumers – about smart meters and smart grid benefits,” said SMMAA President David Elve.

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