By Isabella Kaminski
Reseach and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan predicts that the number of smart meters in Europe will have grown 26% by 2017 (based on a compound annual growth rate compared to 2010) with the UK having the highest growth potential, closely followed by France and Spain.
The EU’s third energy directive aims to achieve 80% smart meter penetration by 2020. But Frost & Sullivan says there is regional disparity due to varying national regulation.
Sweden already achieved 100% smart meter penetration in 2010, while Italy's deployment is almost complete with 33.5 million smart meters installed in 2010.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the three hotspots in Europe will be France, UK and Spain, which are expected to have high growth in smart meter installations over the next two to three years.
The UK is expected to see 109% growth in smart electricity meter unit shipments from 2010 to 2017. The UK Government has already announced plans to install 53m electricity and gas smart meters in homes and businesses by 2019.
Meanwhile the French energy regulator CRE (Commission de régulation de l'énergie) has set out guidelines with an objective for mandatory implementation requiring all electricity consumers to have smart meters by 2016. In German, by contrast, no mandatory rollout has been planned.
Neha Vikash, Frost & Sullivan Research Associate, says: " The contrast in the level of smart meter deployment between various European states begs the question as to who should be responsible for smart meter penetration: the government or the industry.
“Manufacturers, utilities, network companies, ICT firms, retailers and remote monitoring and automation companies await standardisation in communication protocols. The standardisation is expected to come into effect by 2012, following which the industry is expected to grow rapidly.”