Environmental regulations, high carbon emissions, and the need for energy quality and efficiency are expected to boost the demand for smart grids in Europe, according to a new report from market research company Frost & Sullivan.
The study points to Europe being a "front-runner in the enforcement of environmental policies" meaning that utilities in the region are more likely to install smart grid technology and consumers upgrade existing systems to leverage demand response (DR) options.
The report predicts the emergence of numerous aggregators in the European smart grid market to incentivise DR programmes.
In fact, the varying degrees of complexity observed in every European nation's regulatory framework will give rise to a pool of aggregators specific to each country, said Deepak Achuthashankar, industrial automation & process control industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
Mr Achuthashankar said: "Aggregators will act as an intermediary between utilities and end users, playing a balancing act to address the electricity demand-supply disparity.
"Their role will become progressively important in the region as industrial consumers have expressed their willingness to shift loads."
The analysis 'Revisiting the European Smart Grid Demand Response (DR) Market' finds that in the European context, consumer awareness and participation is crucial to the success of smart grid projects.
It is therefore imperative that consumers trust and understand the whole smart grid process and receive tangible benefits, it states.
As consumer awareness rises, ICT providers will also witness more opportunities in the region's smart grid DR market.
Due to technological maturity, however, machine-to-machine technology providers will need to forge alliances, develop interoperable standards, and leverage data to boost sales in the market.
Self-healing grid technology
Meanwhile in India, integrated power company Tata Power this week announced it has installed self-healing grid technology at a distribution facility in north Mumbai, claiming to be the first deployment of its kind by a distribution utility.
Tata Power has equipped its 11 kV distribution network at Kandivali with Self-Healing Grid technology as "an innovative step towards addressing power interruptions in an optimal way", said Ashok Sethi, executive director - operations, at Tata Power.