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A smart meter with its screen showing readings

Smart Grid Infrastructure Grows in Emerging Markets

Soaring global market opens new investment scope for energy sector.

The 8th edition of Emerging Markets Smart Grid: Outlook 2019, Volume VIII, a study published recently by the Northeast Group, LLC, highlights smart grid infrastructure growth in frontier markets in leaps and bounds.

According to the study, over the next five years, 50 emerging market countries will deploy 269 million advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart electricity meters. This AMI investment will total US$27.8 billion over the period 2019-2023. A further US$33.1 billion will be invested in additional smart grid infrastructure over the same period, including distribution, automation and battery storage, among other segments. Approximately half of these 50 countries have already begun large-scale AMI projects or have imminent plans.

The Northeast Group identifies growing markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, South Asia and Southeast Asia. At the start of 2019, there were 54.7 million smart meters installed across the 50 countries. With regulatory targets and other drivers, this number will grow to 323.6 million over the next five years. The majority of demand will come from the largest markets of China and India, but even discounting these countries, there will still be 109 million smart meters deployed over the next five years in the remaining 48 countries.

“Emerging markets are building on growth from recent years,” according to Steve Chakerian, senior research analyst at Northeast Group. "Large-scale rollouts are now underway in Malaysia and Mexico, major tenders are expected in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and deployments have been steady in Central and Eastern Europe, among other regions.”

The study also elaborates on trends being seen more broadly across the emerging market landscape. These include the growing frequency of vendor and third-party financing, potential supply chain shortages that could hinder growth, established Chinese vendors moving into new markets and the continuing decline of per-endpoint costs across all markets, both in developed and developing regions.

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