A new study released by Northeast Group, LLC  (Washington D.C.) has identified 25 emerging market countries that are positioned for the next wave of smart grid  activity over the coming decade. These countries will represent a smart metering market alone of at least $27 billion and could reach $49 billion by 2020. The total number of electricity meters in these countries will grow to 406 million by 2020, with 28% already under some regulatory mandate or target to be smart meters.
All 25 countries analyzed in the study are projected to begin smart grid deployments in the coming decade. Of the 25 countries, 11 are well positioned to begin large-scale smart grid deployments within the next 1–3 years. These countries include Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates. The scope of the study did not include the China or India markets.
According to the report, the 25 countries in the study are forecast to see average annual GDP growth of 4.3% over the next five years, compared with 1.7% in the developed world.
"The majority of smart grid activity to-date has taken place in well known markets in North America, Western Europe and East Asia,” says the Northeast Group . “These developed markets represent more than 95% of the current installed base of smart meters worldwide. However, there are a number of very attractive emerging market countries that have not received as much coverage and have very strong potential for smart metering and other smart grid projects. We view these 25 countries as representing the next wave of activity worldwide."
Smart metering – or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) – deployments will make up the majority of initial smart grid activity, creating significant meter hardware, communications, IT, and professional services markets across the 25 countries, says Northeast Group. Following AMI, there is strong potential for distribution automation, substation automation, and home energy management technologies, including distributed solar generation and electric vehicle supply equipment.
"Smart grid offers emerging markets a number of potential benefits. Countries can improve overall electric utility reliability, reduce electricity theft rates, manage surging demand and incorporate new sources of renewable energy. Modernizing the electricity infrastructure will be increasingly important as these economies grow quickly over the next several years,” says the Northeast Group.
Northeast Group, LLC assessed the smart meter potential of each country based on the potential benefits, the regulatory framework in place and the total market size. The report includes details on each of the 25 countries, including their industry structure, regulatory framework, business case indicators, and existing smart grid activity.