Last month, GTM Research published its latest assessment of the European smart grid market. The industry analysts expect spending to reach €3.1 billion ($4.2 billion) in 2012, and increasing to €6.8 billion ($9.2 billion) in 2016, but aside from these impressive numbers the report also makes an important observation.
“While the majority of national markets in Europe are advancing smart grid goals, few if any have meaningfully engaged the end-consumer,” according to the study’s lead author, Jan van der Zanden.
This comment points to the European focus (so far) on more utility-side applications while the smart grid enterprise in the US has largely been characterized by smart metering, home automation and other customer-facing applications. However, despite this focus, American utilities have had limited success, for example, in getting customers to sign up for demand response programs.
So, the Europeans might have a look at what their US counterparts have done, but what might be even more interesting is to see if any of them score successes that could be replicated in North America.
I’m thinking in particular of the conundrum in which the residential customers who represent the greatest potential for energy and costs savings are the ones for whom the “save money” argument is least effective. To put it more bluntly, if you live in a 5,000 square foot home, chances are the monthly electricity bill is not a major expense. Given how reluctant we humans are to change our behavior, the question becomes how to motivate these customers on the basis of something other than simple financial gain.
If our European colleagues find a solution to this one, it would be well worth importing.
- ► 2012 (13)
- The business case for renewable distribution generation
- Incorporating IEC 61850 interoperability into Smart Grid systems
- “Where’s the Big Data?”
- Finding Gold in Asset Health Management
- Smart Grid Investment Trends: Follow the money, Part 1
- Why is battery energy storage such a hot topic?
- Security guru Richard Clarke, industry practitioners weigh in on cyber threat
- Virtual tour of ABB's Smart Grid Center of Excellence
- New Smart Grid Center of Excellence Unveiled
- Looking forward to 2013