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Smart grid market to grow to $34 billion in 2012

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A new Visiongain report found the smart grid market will rise to a value of $33.91 billion in 2012 as the use of smart grid technologies continues to grow. These technologies will combine traditional grid infrastructure with advanced internet technology in an attempt to improve the efficiency of electricity distribution.

The report found that the market will see large expansions in the coming 10 years, but as more smart grid projects are developed, the industry will face two critical challenges along the way: The integration of interoperability standards and more consistency in introducing renewable energy sources into the grid. Once these two issues are solved, large-scale deployment of the smart grid will begin to actualize.

The growth will be driven by major investments - both public and private - in North America, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region. Europe, which currently has a better-established smart grid market, will see slower growth than its counterparts due to the still-weakening economic conditions in the region.

While the smart grid market in the Middle East and Africa currently lags behind other regions, the area is showing significant growth potential in the next 10 years.

Overall spending on smart grid infrastructure largely correlates to the amount governments provide to support the industry, as public funds and regulations are critical for smart grid development.

North America excels

Many deployments have already begun in North America, and the Midwestern U.S. state of Illinois has emerged as a potential hub for smart grid leadership, according to SmartPlanet.

The media outlet states that the Illinois' utilities are currently preparing for the "most comprehensive smart grid deployment in the U.S.," the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Mohammad Shahidehpour said.

"Illinois has quickly has become a hub for the R&D, manufacturing, development and financing of smart grid and energy projects," Shahidehpour said. "We can use our existing intellectual and human capital to ensure we serve as a model for the rest of the world."

SUBNET has been chosen by nine of the top 10 utilities operating in North America to install substation automation software that enables companies to securely and efficiently organize and manage vast loads of data. Such software will become crucial for utilities as use of disparate intelligent electronic devices picks up across the continent. 

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