German legislation drives smart meter market growth


German legislation, passed  in July this year, will see the installation of 44 million smart meters by 2026 and a total investment of $23.6 billion in smart grid, we reported earlier this week.

“Germany is finally providing some clarity regarding its intentions for smart grid infrastructure investment,” Ben Gardner, President of Northeast Group says. “In July the country passed its Act on the Digitization of the Energy Transition which calls for the deployment of smart meters. This will lay the foundation for much needed investment in smart grid infrastructure required to integrate the country’s growing supply of intermittent renewables.”

German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel.
German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel.

According to the BMWI (the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) “The Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition heralds the launch of the smart grid, smart meter and smart home in Germany.

“We are using it to enable the development of a digital infrastructure that is capable of connecting more than 1.5 million electricity producers and large-scale consumers.”

Cost and benefits for German consumers

The legislation sets out  a clear ruling on costs, with maximum ceilings. “This ensures that the costs do not exceed the expected benefits.”

The installation of smart meters will be phased in gradually, with large power users taking a leading role in the initial installations.

Small and domestic users will follow at a later stage, allowing for lessons learned from the larger user to be passed on to residential customers.

German low carbon economy

The smart metering legislation is the next step toward a low-carbon, energy efficient economy for Germany. While the installation of smart meters has lagged behind that of other European countries, beginning in 2017, select customer classes will begin receiving smart meters.

Germany aims for full deployment by 2032 but Northeast Group is forecasting that it will achieve this sooner once the benefits of smart metering become clear.

Over the next decade, Germany will invest $14.1 billion in advanced sensors, communications and software for its distribution grid and in battery storage.

Investment will be undertaken by the country’s four largest utilities–RWE, E.On, EnBW, and Vattenfall–as well as the numerous municipal utilities.