The U.S. and EU plan to coordinate the development of smart grid standards, if financial frugality can be overcome, according to a GBI Research report.
The report states that the U.S. plans to implement smart grid technology to reduce the national energy demand by 20 percent, improve system efficiency by 40 percent and incorporate 20 percent renewable sources into the total electricity capacity by 2030. These aims, however, might not be met if plans fail as a result of the global recession.
In 2011, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the EU’s Smart Grid Coordination Group (SG-CG) agreed to collaborate on smart grid standards development, joining smart grid standards between the two continents to ensure smart grid devices and systems can be used together globally.
The U.S. economic crisis might impact smart grid development, however. The U.S. sovereign credit rating was reduced by Standard and Poor’s rating agency last year from AAA to AA+, which will affect government loans from the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF).
High levels of interest will be demanded until economic stability returns to improve the U.S. credit rating. Long-term borrowing will prove difficult, and a lack of investments required for power infrastructure might lead to risks of delays and even discontinuation.
Successful smart grid pilot projects are hoped to encourage future investments. Ventures have been initiated in segments such as cabling technologies, sensing and measurement technologies and customer interface technologies to aid smart grid development. The U.S. first showcased smart grid as a solution for energy issues. Other countries including Brazil and India are looking to the U.S. before initiating their own smart grid deployments.
Upgrading the power system is a long-term process and will require significant investment from private and government sectors. If such investment is achieved, the cumulative number of units installed in the U.S. smart meter market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.6 percent, from 13.47 million units in 2010 to 74.38 million units in 2020.