2008 Global Utilities - Environmental Focus for Smart Grids

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.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Smart Grids: Energy and Environment Issues 2008
    • 1.1 Smart grids and climate change
      • 1.1.1 Catalysts for change
      • 1.1.2 Vision for the future
    • 1.2 The reality of global warming
      • 1.2.1 Smart meters
    • 1.3 Trillions to be spent on electricity grids
      • 1.3.1 ICT solutions for global warming and energy saving
    • 1.4 Will we get it right in 2008?
      • 1.4.1 Industries need to work together
    • 1.5 Leadership is all that is needed
  • 2. Smart Grid Overview and Global Activities
    • 2.1 Overview of smart grids
      • 2.1.1 Introduction
      • 2.1.2 What is a smart grid?
      • 2.1.3 Current grid outmoded and outdated
      • 2.1.4 Old technologies, and no young engineers
      • 2.1.5 Utilities need to be modernised
      • 2.1.6 In favour of smart grids
      • 2.1.7 Smart grid analyses 2008
    • 2.2 Smart grid activities 2008
      • 2.2.1 Overview of smart grid activities around the world
      • 2.2.2 Case study 1: Australia
      • 2.2.3 Case study 2: USA
      • 2.2.4 IBM’s Intelligent Utility Network Coalition
  • 3. Global Utilities Broadband Market 2008
    • 3.1 High level analyses of broadband
      • 3.1.1 Broadband doesn’t just equal high-speed Internet
      • 3.1.2 The many aspects of broadband infrastructure
      • 3.1.3 Cities to take charge
      • 3.1.4 National or local infrastructure
      • 3.1.5 The pointless technology debates
      • 3.1.6 End-to-end connectivity for national NGNs
    • 3.2 Utilities broadband trends and analyses
      • 3.2.1 Introduction
      • 3.2.2 BPL market overview
      • 3.2.3 BPL review
      • 3.2.4 BPL SWOT analysis
      • 3.2.5 Selecting the right business model
      • 3.2.6 Utilities as telcos
      • 3.2.7 Other developments
      • 3.2.8 Analysing telecoms and the electricity utilities
  • 4. Home Plug and Demand Side Management
    • 4.1 Introduction
    • 4.2 HomePlug
      • 4.2.1 Introduction
      • 4.2.2 Every socket a telco outlet
      • 4.2.3 Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM)
      • 4.2.4 56 bit DES
      • 4.2.5 Interoperability
      • 4.2.6 Reach – with and beyond each home
      • 4.2.7 HomePlug Powerline Alliance
    • 4.3 Trends and developments 2008
      • 4.3.1 HomeGrid Forum
      • 4.3.2 Zyxel digital media adapter uses HomePlug AV
      • 4.3.3 HomePlug product shipments double
    • 4.4 Home networking
    • 4.5 Demand Side Management/Energy Management Services
      • 4.5.1 Introduction
      • 4.5.2 DSM applications for residential users
    • 4.6 Conclusion
  • 5. Regional Overviews
    • 5.1 North America
      • 5.1.1 USA
    • 5.2 Latin America
      • 5.2.1 Overview
      • 5.2.2 Argentina
      • 5.2.3 Brazil
      • 5.2.4 Chile
      • 5.2.5 Colombia
      • 5.2.6 Costa Rica
      • 5.2.7 Ecuador
      • 5.2.8 Mexico
    • 5.3 Europe
      • 5.3.1 Western Europe
      • 5.3.2 Eastern Europe
    • 5.4 Africa and the Middle East
      • 5.4.1 Africa
      • 5.4.2 Middle East
    • 5.5 Asia
      • 5.5.1 Overview
      • 5.5.2 China
      • 5.5.3 Malaysia
      • 5.5.4 Singapore
    • 5.6 Pacific region
      • 5.6.1 Australia
  • 6. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Table 1 – Overall electricity price increase in select countries – 2003 - 2008
  • Table 2 – BPL networking equipment unit sales worldwide – 2006 - 2007
  • Table 3 – HomePlug product shipments – 2007 - 2008
  • Table 4 – Electricity market price increase in select Western European countries – 2007 - 2008
  • Exhibit 1 – Definition of smart grid
  • Exhibit 2 – Smart grid applications
  • Exhibit 3 – Regional summary of smart grid activity – 2008
  • Exhibit 4 – Selected smart grid/AMI/AMR project examples worldwide – 2008
  • Exhibit 5 – Key starting-points for local broadbanding
  • Exhibit 6 – Key broadbanding steps
  • Exhibit 7 – Potential BPL applications
  • Exhibit 8 – HomePlug from NetComm (Australia)
  • Exhibit 9 – Traditional and non-traditional energy information/energy management services

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Number of pages 74

Status Archived

Last updated 2 Jul 2008
Update History

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

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