Boulder, CO, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 5, 2012 – The smart energy system was worth $222.35 billion in 2011, according to a new study by Pike Research – and of this 41 percent was generated in Europe, while in North America and Asia the amounts were much lower at 24 percent and 21 percent respectively.
According to Pike Research the emerging smart energy paradigm covers multiple energy sources, storage mediums, and conversion devices with one thing in common: the ability to be deployed in a modular, distributed, and scalable fashion. Thus smart energy is defined as “the range of efficient technological options available to providing electricity in a distributed fashion, either for local use or for grid support.”
The reason that the smart energy paradigm is starting to gain increasing traction is that there exists a window of opportunity for change. The two most important of the factors are the availability of all the building blocks in the complete system and the investment cost needed to keep the current paradigm in place.
On the generation side smart energy system components that were generally available in 2011 were solar PV and CSP, wind both onshore and offshore, hydrokinetic power, geopower, conventional biofuels, and biopower combustion. Energy storage applications that were available were CAES, pumped hydrokinetic power, advanced batteries, flywheels, and hydrogen. Energy conversion devices included fuel cell backup power, CHP and electron generator, and advanced generators.
Pike Research also found that that the size of the smart energy sector is growing at such a pace that in 2011 it represented over 10 percent of the global annual additional capacity forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Each of the major areas is on a growth curve, with none showing a negative compound annual growth rate. Even though some of the fuels and technologies are still very new and are starting from a very low base, making growth somewhat “easy,” the old war horses of wind and solar are still posting growth.
This is being driven by a number of convergent market drivers. These include the rising costs of maintaining the current energy system as well as regulatory and policy initiatives in many countries around the world. In the policy arena, the European Union is leading the way, but a number of other countries, including Australia and South Africa, are positioning themselves as early adopters of smart energy technologies.