Monday, October 25, 2010

Smart Grid: Top Ten Trends

In the past few years, the electric utility industry has experienced a momentous season. The business of electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption has been thrust to the forefront of public discourse – as both a villain and a savior – in the fight against climate change and the struggle for energy independence and security, among other global priorities. The “smart grid,” the integration of new embedded computing and communications technologies into the fabric of the power network, is widely seen as the means to adapting the electrical infrastructure to meet these global needs. A new white paper from Pike Research identifies 10 key trends that are driving the sweeping changes currently underway in technology, business, policy, and even consumer behavior. The paper, which includes 10 predictions about the smart grid market in 2011 and beyond, is available for free download on Pike Research’s website.
“The electrical power grid is in the midst of a dramatic transformation,” says senior analyst Bob Gohn. “As utilities, vendors, and other key stakeholders gain more real-world deployment experience, the reality of the smart grid is coming into focus, too slowly for some, but at a faster pace than typically seen in this industry. Existing players are transforming, new players are entering, and consumers are awakening.”

Gohn adds that the months ahead should witness the maturation of the smart grid as all the trials, mandates, and pilots move toward production deployment. Pike Research has identified dozens of trends that bear watching and scrutiny.

A few of Pike Research’s smart grid industry predictions include the following:
- Security will become the top smart grid concern
- Distribution Automation will rival AMI as the most visible smart grid application
- The “Bakersfield Effect” will continue, but some consumers will actually LIKE the smart grid
- Smart meter and AMI focus will shift toward Europe and China
- The “Year of the HAN” will not arrive… yet
- The Demand Response business transformation will accelerate
- The ARRA smart grid “stimulus” will finally have a positive impact
- The standards “horse” will begin to catch the deployment “cart”
- Data management will be the next bottleneck to smart grid benefits
- Existing data and telecom vendors will get serious about the smart grid

Pike Research’s paper, “Smart Grid: Ten Trends to Watch in 2011 and Beyond”, offers timely perspective and insight on the key factors that are likely to determine the success or failure of various smart grid initiatives. Conclusions and predictions in this paper are drawn from a broad array of Pike Research reports, with market forecasts included for key market sectors. A full copy of the white paper is available for free download on the firm’s website.

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