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A smart grid is a digitally enabled electrical grid that gathers, distributes, and acts on information about the behaviour of all connected entities in order to improve the efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of electricity services.
On Monday the IDC Energy Insights released a report called ‘Worldwide Utility Smart Grid Spending Forecast, 2010-2015’, in which it analysed 14 different smart grid project types across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, in an attempt to deduce where investment priorities lay in the different regions.
They predicted that global investment in smart grids is likely to increase by 17.4 percent from 2010 to 2015, reaching a massive $46 billion worldwide.
In their report the IDC tried to understand the size of spending along with the timing, in order to determine the way in which smart grids will develop around the world. They looked at the areas where spending may occur such as: improving grid reliability, supporting the distribution and production of renewable energy, reducing operations and maintenance costs, increasing the efficiency of energy distribution, improving the security, and enabling efficient response to demand.
North America already has a widely deployed advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), and by 2014 they predict that investment will start to focus on feeder automation and automated fault restoration. Europe and Asia-Pacific on the other hand are focusing on AMI and smart meters, with further investment and growth to begin at a later date than in North America.
Europe is actually focussing its efforts on its 20-20-20 goal of; 20% increase in energy efficiency, 20 percent reduction of CO2 emissions, and 20% renewable generation sources by 2020.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com