The penetration of smart gas meters in Europe

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A new report released by research firm Berg Insight explores the penetration of smart gas meters in Europe, as utilities in the bloc seek to modernise metering processes and grid management.

The report states that the penetration rate reached 33% with the installed base hitting 39 million smart gas meters in 2020.

Berg Insight predicts the bloc will install 70.1 million smart gas meters between 2020 and 2026 as the market records a compound annual growth rate of 10.1%.

In 2020, a total of 6.5 million units were shipped into Europe and the number is expected to stay at similar levels during 2021–2022 before gradually decreasing along with the completion of several large-scale nationwide rollouts.

The majority of installations in 2020 were in Italy, France, the UK and the Netherlands. The four countries accounted for 95% of smart gas meter shipments in 2020, according to the study. Italy, France and the Netherlands are expected to complete their rollouts soon, whilst the UK ramps up its yearly installations to reach up to 3.6 million units between 2022 and 2025.

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Belgium and Ireland are two other markets that are expected to contribute with significant shipment volumes in the next few years.

Levi Ostling, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight, said: “2020 was a significant year for smart gas metering in Europe as the Italian gas sector became the first in Europe to initiate large-scale adoption of NB-IoT as a primary meter connectivity choice.”

Smart gas meter projects deployed separately from smart electricity meters initiatives in Europe have mainly leveraged a mix of 169 MHz RF and 2G/3G cellular communications for connectivity.

The UK, the Netherlands and Belgium have used a local wireless or wired interface to transmit gas data via the customer’s smart electricity meter.

Ostling, added: “A change of the status quo might now however be on the horizon as new types of LPWA technologies have become more readily available in the past couple of years.

“Another emerging technology trend is the anticipated increase in the use of hydrogen in European gas supply operations. As the properties of hydrogen differ significantly from those of natural gas, meter vendors will have to put in place relevant technological and strategic roadmaps in order to position themselves in the new European renewable energy sector.”