The global market for smart-grid technologies will generate $73 billion in annual revenue by the end of 2020, up from $33 billion in 2012, according to the latest data from Navigant Research.
The projection means the market generating cumulative revenue of $461 million between 2013 and 2020.
Navigant says there is still considerable potential for growth in countries with populations of more than 100 million, and especially in Africa, where there has been almost no activity in this area so far.
Drivers of growth are likely to include the integration of renewable energy sources in developed countries, and a need to reduce non-technical losses in less developed economies, says Navigant.
The research company also points out that the market will not be fully saturated even by 2020, with significant numbers of people still living in “energy poverty”.
“Smart grid technologies improve the reliability and efficiency of the power grid via the application of modern IT capabilities alongside or in place of existing utility assets and networks,” said Bob Lockhart, a research director with Navigant Research.
“However, the term ‘smart grid’ has been overused to the point of losing its meaning,” added Lockhart. “A more precise definition includes five key applications: transmission upgrades, substation automation, distribution automation, smart grid information and operations technology, and smart metering.”
Transmission upgrades represent the most capital-intensive of those five applications, according to Navigant, and will account for nearly $250 billion in revenue between 2013 and 2020 – more than half the total for the overall smart grid technology market.