Utility spending on smart meter analytics to triple through 2030

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Global utilities will increase investments in smart meter analytics by three times between 2021 and 2030 as they seek to unlock the full value of advanced metering infrastructure, according to a whitepaper released by research firm Guidehouse Insights.

The research firm forecasts a 13.4% compound annual growth rate to be recorded through 2030 with global market revenue reaching approximately $5.4 billion in 2030 from $1.6 billion in 2021.

The US, China, and Western Europe lead the global market for smart meters, according to the study.

The study states that 65% of US consumers have a smart meter, and utilities’ need to optimise the management of distributed energy resources will help increase the penetration to 95% by 2030, according to the whitepaper.

“Although investor-owned utilities receive the lion’s share of recognition for national smart grid development, it is important to note the strong willingness and desire among midsized utilities to similarly invest in smart metering,” states Guidehouse Insights in the AI at the Grid Edge: How Inside-the-Meter Analytics Drive Value at the Grid Edge report.

When the smart meter concept gained popularity a decade ago, the majority of use cases were associated with reducing utilities’ non-revenue electricity through accurate and automated meter reading. However, advancements in technology are changing this with the introduction of new use cases and business models that are associated with grid modernisation, according to the paper.

Today, the increasing amount of data acquired from smart meters are being utilised by utilities to optimise workforce management, billing accuracy, and automate grid functionalities.

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As a result, capabilities including grid automation, energy efficiency, digital marketplaces, demand analytics, load disaggregation and customer segmentation are enabling utilities to enhance customer services, speed up the energy transition and improve the resilience of grid networks against climate change, according to the whitepaper.

Utilities are now able to personalise services to customers, for instance in the event an appliance inside a consumer’s home is using too much electricity, smart meter data can be used to provide energy-saving recommendations.

Energy companies will invest more in artificial intelligence and machine learning-based analytics to ensure the acquisition, processing, and use of smart meter data for real-time management and operations of DERs.

Guidehouse Insights predicts solutions for demand-side management and energy efficiency to lead the global spending on smart meter analytics. The spending is in line with efforts to leverage DERs to accelerate the decarbonisation of grid networks and the provision of affordable energy to consumers, according to the study.

For instance, with the use of electric vehicles increasing over the coming years, grid network operators will be forced to employ smart meter analytics to be able to use demand response to ensure EV charging does not strain the grid. The deployment of solar PV also continues to increase, however, utilities are struggling with fluctuations and curtailment, which they can address using real-time status data regarding consumer usage to optimise plants’ performance, states the study.

“Digitisation is no longer sufficient. Leading utilities are now transforming their businesses through AI-powered, forward-looking insights,” according to Guidehouse Insights.

In addition, the amount of data utilities are receiving from smart meters continues to increase as the number of units increases and consumer energy usage trends change. And as such, energy companies will need to employ advanced data management mechanisms and technologies such as AI and machine learning to be able to manage, process and make use of the data.

“The increasing volumes and types of smart meter data can seem overwhelming and are often characterized in terms like terabytes and petabytes,” says Guidehouse Insights.

As technology advances, utilities have moved from receiving data from consumer smart meters from a daily basis to hourly, then to 15-minute-basis and now to in near-real-time basis, states the whitepaper.

Guidehouse Insights reiterates that as the digital transformation of the utility sector progresses, the full benefits of smart meters will be slowly reaped as more use cases surface. However, collaboration is critical with “innovative analytics providers attracting a broad network of metering partners with a focus on inside-the-meter intelligence,” states the study.

Find out more about the whitepaper.