smart grid

A new report released by research firm Northeast Group states that emerging market countries will deploy 148 million smart meters over the next five years.

In addition to the advanced meters, these countries are expected to invest $91.4 billion in smart grid infrastructure including grid automation and battery storage.

Northeast Group’s 10th edition of the Emerging Markets Smart Grid: Outlook 2021 study has found that major projects are already underway or will begin in 2021 in over half of the 50 countries analysed.

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Some 43.6 million smart meters were installed across emerging market countries (156.9 million if you include the massive market of China) at the end of 2020. The number of smart meters installed is expected to grow to 191.6 million over the next five years (607.7 million including China).

Though the specific drivers vary by region and country, there is now a growing consensus around smart metering and meaningful legislation backing up deployments in most of the largest countries.

Global pandemic spurring on growth of smart meters market

Projects in leading countries such as Russia, Brazil, and Mexico will soon lead to millions of smart meters deployed every year, and in the case of India, tens of millions. These deployments will represent a key source of future revenue for leading global vendors along with smaller local manufacturers based in emerging market countries.

Steve Chakerian, a senior research analyst at Northeast Group, said: “Unsurprisingly, the global pandemic blindsided the smart grid infrastructure industry in 2020, with project delays and supply chain interruptions seen in several regions.

“But in the end, utilities with smart meters had a far easier time collecting their revenues during lockdown orders, so 2020 might actually prove to be a boon for the smart grid industry in the long run, having demonstrated many of the benefits of this technology.”

Indeed, the pandemic is highlighting many of the trends that were already underway, including utilities’ need to reduce non-technical losses and the role for government and multilateral funding to drive infrastructure modernisation. These trends – along with lower-priced meters in regions such as South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa – will drive growth in smart grid infrastructure investment across emerging market regions.

Emerging Markets Smart Grid: Outlook 2021 is available online.