The smart meter market is picking up new momentum as 2016 unfolds. Announcements for a number of significant projects and partnerships signify an expanding market, which bodes well after a somewhat sluggish past few years.
In the United States, New York utility Con Edison has chosen Aclara to provide nearly 5 million electric and gas meters as part of its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployment. Con Ed will utilize Silver Spring Networks‘ technology for its communications network, and IBM was selected as the IT system integrator. The Con Ed approach is unique for its view of what a modern utility could look like, and the utility is driving this initiative at a time when New York is rethinking its energy future under a plan known as the Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV. Con Ed’s plan includes the capability for easier integration of renewable energy sources, gaining real-time grid insights, and reducing and repairing outages more quickly, according to Eric Dresselhuys, Silver Spring’s executive vice president of global development. The Con Ed project still awaits final regulatory approval, but it does have the green light to begin backend IT work in anticipation of installing meters starting in early 2017.
Another smart meter project of note is the one announced recently by Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW). The largest U.S. three-service public utility, MLGW selected Honeywell (which acquired Elster in December 2015) as the provider of one million electric, gas, and water meters to be deployed over the next 5 years. The utility will install the meters using Honeywell’s Elster EnergyAxis smart meter technology in a deal valued at $200 million.
Outside the United States, Mexico’s state-owned utility Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) has awarded Landis+Gyr a new contract to supply an AMI system in the states of Campeche and Quintana Roo in CFE’s Peninsular Division. The deal calls for Landis+Gyr to supply its Gridstream AMI solution, including a radio frequency (RF) mesh network and nearly 96,000 advanced meters. The main objectives of the system upgrade are to reduce non-technical line losses, improve efficiency, and enhance service delivery to high-use customers. The project is part of CFE’s long-term plan to install a total of 30.2 million smart meters by 2025.
In South Asia, two major Pakistani utilities have finished the rollout of 50,000 smart meters, according to MicroTech Industries (MTI), a Lahore-based technology vendor. In addition to supplying the three-phase meters, MTI also handled installation, implementation, communications, and hosting services for the projects at the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) and the Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO).
In Europe, utility E.ON and technology provider Siemens have announced a partnership to develop and deploy smart metering technology solutions for the German market. The country is in the midst of preparations to install smart metering beginning this year as part of a new overall energy mix plan. The two companies plan to offer their expertise, with Siemens’ EnergyIP application platform serving as the technical component for their joint offering.
There is still plenty of runway left for the deployment of smart metering technology, and projects continue to unfold across the globe. These advanced metering solutions form the backbone of grid modernization, which leads to greater efficiencies and help underpin Navigant’s Energy Cloud vision of a decentralized grid. Expect many more similar smart meter projects to be announced over the remainder of this decade and beyond, as noted in Navigant Research’s Smart Meters report.