New regulations in Germany are expected to spur growth in the deployment of smart grid infrastructure in the country’s power sector.[quote] According to a new report compiled by the Northeast Group, Germany has lagged behind its neighbors in deploying smart grid infrastructure, despite representing the “largest market in Europe.”
The Washington-based firm forecasts Germany’s investment in smart grid infrastructure to grow to $23.6 billion between 2016 and 2026. [Itron wins in Germany grid integration deal plus US smart grid demo project]
Northeast Group adds that these regulations should spur a market that will include 44 million smart meters by 2026 and a total of $23.6 billion invested in smart grid infrastructure.
Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group, stated: "Germany is finally providing some clarity regarding its intentions for smart grid infrastructure investment.
"In July the country passed its Act on the Digitization of the Energy Transition which calls for the deployment of smart meters. This will lay the foundation for much needed investment in smart grid infrastructure required to integrate the country's growing supply of intermittent renewables."
Smart grid infrastructure development
A release notes that the recent smart metering legislation is the next step in the country's broader transition to a low-carbon and energy efficient energy economy known as the Energiewende. [Germany sets smart meter standards for nationwide rollout]
The release continues on to say that despite ambitious renewable energy targets, Germany has lagged behind its European peers – many of whom will reach 80% penetration by 2020–in meeting smart metering targets.
As of 2017, select customer classes will begin receiving smart meters. Germany aims for full deployment by 2032 but the Northeast Group is forecasting that it will achieve this sooner once the benefits of smart metering become clear.
In addition to smart metering, Germany will also invest in other smart grid infrastructure segments. Over the next decade, the country will invest $14.1 billion in advanced sensors, communications and software for its distribution grid and in battery storage. Investment will be undertaken by the country's four largest utilities – RWE, E.On, EnBW, and Vattenfall – as well as the numerous Stadtwerke, or municipal utilities.