Trends driving the smart grid

Bruce Rowse

The following six trends are driving the development of smart grids globally.

  1. Growing and substantial investment in lowering the cost of energy storage. Example: $7.3b US government investment in energy storage.
  2. Continued global growth in the demand for solar PV. Installed global capacity by 2020 is expected to reach 500 GW.  In 2013 global installed capacity reached 100 GW.
  3. Major economies investing in smart-grid infrastructure. Example Chinese investment in electric car charging infrastructure.
  4. Smarter metering and demand management solutions becoming more prevalent. Demand management examples from the U.S. and Japan.
  5. Increasing private investment, which is much more agile than central government controlled investment. This trend dates back a few years and is continuing.
  6. Decentralised lighting systems jumping ahead of rural electrification in developing countries. Spin-off technologies could contribute to a much cheaper smart grid.

Policy around electricity networks should take these trends into account.

 

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