In a January 2013 report, EEI said fast-growing distributed energy could undermine the utility business model. Wall Street is paying attention.
Smart Grid in America and Europe (Part II)
Past accomplishments and future plans.
In general, the E.U. and the U.S. are concerned with similar smart grid issues. While both governments view the deployment of smart meters to be of the utmost importance, they differ in prioritization on other issues. Challenges to smart grid deployment include unexpectedly high consumer bills—instead of consumer savings—and privacy concerns. In other topics, the E.U. has expended more resources on R&D of distributed generation and microgrids. Although the U.S. engages in less research on distributed generation and microgrids, it focuses on drafting interoperability and security standards, including evaluating privacy issues. Only recently did the E.U. order standardization of smart meters and interoperability standards.
Smart Meter Deployment
Installing smart meters is the first step to realizing the benefits of demand side management and improved two way communication and two way power flow for distributed generation. Despite the fact that the E.U. has installed more smart meters than the U.S., both have faced issues with consumer dissatisfaction, cost recovery, and privacy.
Since early 2000, more than 30 million smart meters have been installed in Italy, resulting in a penetration of almost 100 percent. 1 In Denmark, an advanced metering infrastructure project involving 390,000 meters will be completed by 2011. 2 Like Denmark, where penetration is more than 50 percent, Norway, Sweden, and Finland have achieved similar levels of penetration. France, Spain, and the United Kingdom (U.K.) have less penetration, but are committed to the smart grid with full deployment timelines. France plans to achieve full deployment in 2016, Spain following with 2018, and the U.K. in 2020. Other countries not on course with the E.U. directive of 80 percent smart grid meter penetration by 2020 have pilot projects. 3 Since 2010, Germany has required all new buildings to be equipped with smart meters. 4 It is anticipated that over 111 million European households will have smart meters by 2015. 5
In the U.S. only 4.6 percent of all electric meters were of the advanced metering infrastructure variety in the summer of 2009. 6 Since then, many states have received ARRA funding for smart meter deployment. Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company (OG&E) plans on full deployment within three years. 7 Duncan, Oklahoma plans to network the entire city with upgraded grid technology. 8 In Illinois, 141,000 smart meters are planned for the city of Chicago and 11 suburban communities. 9 Another rollout is in Vermont, where 85 percent of residents will receive smart meters. 10 In Maryland, smart meter rollout was just approved after an initial denial of the request to include part of the smart meter costs in the rate base and a mandatory pricing scheme. 11 At least 50 million smart meters will be installed by 2015. 12 By late summer of 2009, reports predicted