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Smart meter market shifts as shipments grow – IDC Energy

The momentum of global smart meter shipments is now shifting to Europe, Asia and South America as overall shipments also increase, according to IDC Energy Insights.

According to IDC Energy’s Worldwide Quarterly Smart Meter Tracker, smart meter shipments around the world in the second quarter of 2012 grew 33.6 percent over the previous quarter, and were up nearly 51.3 percent year over year.

The growth is expected to continue and worldwide annual shipments will surpass 130 million units by the end of 2016.

In the U.S. market, a slowdown was seen following the peak of spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, even though smart metering continues to supplant earlier generations of analog and AMR technologies.

Meanwhile, in Europe, utilities are actively testing various advanced metering infrastructure technologies and are looking to adopt them. Several members of the European Union have also committed to embracing smart meters due to E.U. legislation mandating the technology’s deployment in economically feasible scenarios.

But while the member states are in the process of finalizing the regulatory framework for their respective national rollouts, IDC says the work is taking longer than previously anticipated in some cases, and deadlines might not be met.

"Despite the continuing political commitment to smart metering, these regulatory procrastinations, in combination with ongoing macroeconomic pressures, are currently holding the European smart metering market back," says Petr Stabrawa, senior research analyst with IDC Energy Insights.

With that, large smart meter tenders are not expected in the E.U. before the second half of 2013, IDC says, but global meter vendors are looking into new market opportunities in other geographic regions.

The BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India, and China – all of which currently have rapidly increasing energy consumption, outdated energy infrastructure, and problems with energy loss/theft – are said to have significant potential for advanced metering infrastructure.

"As the momentum in AMI deployments moves to less established markets, both utilities and the vendor community need to determine the best approach for each market,” said Dean Chuang, senior research analyst with IDC Energy Insights. “While each market and utility has different needs and a different level of smart grid ambition, there is ultimately a compromise between selecting an ideal customized solution and the costs of deviating from a standardized approach.” – EcoSeed Staff

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