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2008 Global Utilities - Environmental Focus for Smart Grids

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Last updated: 2 Jul 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 74

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide BPL sector with a focus on smart grids. Providing analyses, statistics, trends and forecasts, it includes a market overview of developments and explores in detail the movement towards using this technology in smart grids. A summary of smart grid activities around the world is provided including information on regional developments.  

Subjects covered include:

  • Overview and introduction to smart grids;
  • Analyses of smart grids in terms of energy and environmental issues;
  • Summary of smart grids activities around the world;
  • Overview and developments in BPL;
  • High level analyses of broadband developments;
  • HomePlug and Demand Side Management information;
  • Regional overviews.

Researchers: Paul Budde, Lawrence Baker, Lucia Bibolini, Peter Evans, Phil Harpur, Lisa Hulme-Jones, Paul Kwon, Henry Lancaster, Peter Lange, Tine Lewis, Kylie Wansink

Current publication date:- July 2008 (5th Edition)

Next publication date:- December 2009

 

Executive Summary

The future growth of Broadband over Powerline now largely rests on smart grid development and in 2008 it is becoming clearer that smart grids will be one of the networks of the future. Utilities around the world are turning their attention to smart grids for internal energy monitoring and management. This is primarily due to rising concerns relating to climate change and CO2 issues and the utilities are now in a race to upgrade their decades old infrastructure to make it more intelligent and efficient.

At the same time, many utilities involved in this market have become unwilling to take on the telcos in the broadband market and the support for BPL as a third broadband access for the home is waning. Applications for BPL technology now revolve around smart grids and Demand Side Management services. Utilities are looking internally and using the technology and skills to upgrade their networks for smart grid purposes. The utilities involved in these developments are embracing the concept of an end-to-end solution in the total energy chain.

BPL offers benefits in home networking due to its ubiquity. Utilities and access providers around the world are aggressively deploying HomePlug in BPL applications for electric grid management, automatic meter reading applications, Command and Control and broadband to the home. The regulatory and social environment today favours energy conservation which is pushing utilities toward DSM as a way to reduce costs, minimise investment in new power plants and improve customer service. There is growing requirement for a more sophisticated management of energy in people’s homes and businesses.

A smart grid will also offer smart meter features which will allow users and utilities to utilise information about usage, supply and real-time price, as well as allowing them to better manage energy use both from an end-user and a supply perspective. However governments need to ensure that smart meters do form part of an overall smart grid strategy. Smart meters on their own could be an expensive dead-end investment if this hardware eventually has to be removed from homes to be replaced with IP-based, software-driven meters with two-way communication over the Net.

This report provides an insight and analyses into the trends and developments taking place in BPL with a focus on smart grids. The report provides a market overview of developments and explores in detail the movement towards using this technology in smart grids. A summary of smart grid activities around the world is included along with developments at a regional level for North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Key highlights:

  • In the US OnCor has purchased its BPL infrastructure and will no longer have it managed externally. OnCor is using the infrastructure primarily for Smart Grid management and due to its success plans to continue the BPL roll-out that will eventually pass around 1.5 million homes.
  • The first smart grid project was launched in 2007. Today Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Hong Kong, USA and Russia are considered to be some of the leading markets in terms of smart grid development.
  • Applications for HomePlug technologies include home and business control of lighting, appliances, climate, security and energy consumption. HomePlug product shipments have doubled in the past year or so.
  • In Africa, some power utilities are billing as little as 30% of the electricity actually being consumed.
  • Countries in South and Central America that have started to develop smart grid technology include Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. Latin American utilities are interested in smart grids particularly with a view to reducing theft, a major regional challenge.
  • While Middle East Gulf countries are making little use of the technology at home, investment companies from the region are funding smart grid technology companies around the world.

 

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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