Barely a week goes past without news of some or other new or proposed AMI system from some part of the globe, and this is good news. It is good for the utilities, which are benefiting from prices contained by volumes and competition and facing the prospect of being able to streamline various of their business operations.
It is good for consumers, who will get more control over their energy usage, and with the potential for demand side management and energy efficiency it is good for the Earth. It is obviously good for the vendors. And not least, it is good for the technology. An interview with three major vendors (page 40) reveals that despite the innovations of the last few years, technological developments are continuing apace and there are still many more to come – and not only in the meter itself but also in ‘spinoff’ areas such as home automation and control.
This is also the subject of a new wide ranging report from the Galvin Electricity Initiative on new technologies that advance consumer control (page 44), which states that the transition of the electricity industry toward a demand driven business is being driven by emerging technologies focused mainly in the comfort, security and entertainment markets.
And these technologies are being provided not only by existing players but increasingly by “large and small innovative companies” – more than 400 active players having been identified to date – that are entering the market “almost daily.” Given, according to the Galvin report, that the shape that future systems will take is limited only by the imagination, and that over the next decade the demand for these technologies may well be such that they become ubiquitous (in the US at least), and given the potential for AMI in underpinning these technologies, we clearly face some exciting, if not challenging, times ahead.
In the next quarter Smart Energy International is hosting the 2nd Smart Metering West Coast event in Los Angeles, CA. With developments by all the major utilities in California in their smart meter initiatives over the past year, this will offer the ideal opportunity to review the status and potential of this fast expanding technology in the West Coast region.
As always also we invite you to contact us with your comments and suggestions for Smart Energy International.
Jonathan Spencer Jones