The latest report by research firm SBI Energy investigates the dynamics of the relationship between the smart grid and consumers. Smart Grid and Consumers delves into the question of who benefits from the smart grid.
“The ‘consumer factor’ is coming to the forefront of smart grid engineering,” said David Cappello, SBI Energy analyst and author of the report. “By focusing on the consumer sector of the smart grid, an area largely unexplored and often ignored in smart grid analysis, our study provides unique insights into the consumer mindset and shows how different it is from the industry's perspective.”
The paradox of the smart grid industry is that in the roll-out of smart grid meters, sensors, appliances, and other components, consumers have yet to be fully informed even though they are the key to smart grid success. Some consumers don’t even know that the smart grid exists. Nevertheless, consumers are keenly concerned about energy costs and energy options as it affects them. This indicates a solid base on which to build consumer support for the smart grid, according to SBI Energy.
“The smart grid will never work without active consumer engagement, which is why a report such as ours is so important. It evaluates the potential for consumer engagement against current attitudes of general unfamiliarity, indifference, and even downright resistance,” said SBI Energy Publisher Shelley Carr.
SBI Energy estimates the overall global smart grid market at $90 billion for 2010, an increase of 30% over 2009. The U.S. market is estimated at $26 billion for 2010, a rise of 12%. SBI Energy also projects the global smart grid market will increase 150% between 2009-2014, reaching $171 billion by the end of the forecast period. The U.S. market is projected to double over the timeframe to about $43 billion by 2014.
About 80% of the global smart grid's current estimated value represents investment on the utility side in grid infrastructure and information and communications technology (ICT). The consumer applications and software sector—primarily smart meters—represents the remaining 20%.
Smart Grid and Consumers examines the issues involved in building positive two-way communications interactions, and the intrinsic negative resistance that can be expected. With a focus on residential applications and services, it provides an in-depth analysis of advanced metering infrastructure, smart meters, demand response, dynamic pricing, home energy management systems, home area networks, smart appliances, popular communications platforms, and futuristic technologies. The study also introduces an original classification system, dividing the smart grid into three sectors: grid infrastructure, consumer applications and software, and information/communications technology.