Greentech Lead America: Revenue from smart grid
renewables integration will grow from $3.8 billion in 2012 to just under $13
billion in 2018, according to Pike Research.
The market for smart grid technologies that help
integrate renewable energy sources will expand steadily over the next six
The smart grid movement encompasses a range of
technologies that will help utilities and grid operators integrate renewable
energy assets, including microgrids, dynamic pricing systems, advanced energy
storage, and virtual power plants (VPPs).
Millions of dollars are being invested in the ability of
the smart grid to lower the costs of integrating renewable generation at the
transmission, distribution, and residential levels of energy service provision.
“For all the talk of the challenges of bringing
increasing amounts of distributed, renewable energy sources onto the power
grid, in reality there is no consensus on the exact effects of renewables
integration on grid operations,” said senior research analyst Peter Asmus.
“What we do know is that the fundamental architecture of
today’s electricity grid – based on the idea of a top-down system predicated on
unidirectional energy flows – is becoming obsolete, and is unsuited for the
increasing diversity and variability of power generation,” Asmus added.
Microgrids, VPPs, and other smart grid technologies
represent the vanguard of a new business model that echoes, in many ways, the
diversity and modularity of our rich telecommunications networks, according to
The time horizons for widespread commercialization of
these technologies vary widely, according to the report. Demand response, for
example, has been offered in some forms by utilities and grid operators for
many decades, while clear business models for advanced energy storage have yet
to be demonstrated.
While larger investments are flowing toward renewables
integration at the transmission-level of power service, most of these
technologies, such as high-voltage direct current lines, do not qualify as
“smart grid.” Today, distribution level smart grid technologies such as
microgrids clearly lead this market.