MUNICH, Germany While energy vendors and environmentalists promote smart power meters as a panacea for green user education and empowerment, the market perspectives have been rather unclear. Now a Swedish study brings light into the dark.
The installed base for smart electricity meters in Europe will grow by 16 percent annually in the time through 2014, predicts analyst company Berg Insight (Gothenburg, Sweden). At the end of the period, the market researchers expect the number of installed smart meters to reach 96.3 million units.
The EU aims at a quota of 80 percent of all households within the European Community be equipped with a smart electricity meter by 2020. The current and predicted market growth for these devices makes puts the EC target within reach, Berg Insights believes.
In Sweden, smart meters will already be mandatory beginning July 2009, but the adoption of smart meters has started in Italy, the study says. While Sweden by law the market penetration is already 100 percent, Berg Insight analyst Tobias Ryberg expects the next countries to follow will be Italy, Ireland, Norway and Finnland.
While by the end of the decade more countries including France, Spain and the UK will also introduce smart meters, other countries including the Netherlands and Germany are noticeably lagging. The Netherlands have reservations against smart maters because some believe their usage would violate privacy; in Germany they are yet regarded as a surveillance technology, the study says. Berg Insight's Ryberg however believes the privacy threat from smart meters is "grossly exaggerated, pointing out that smart meters are an "essential component" to create a sustainable energy system.
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