Knoxville, TN, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- November 29, 2010 - The core drivers for smart grid deployments globally are primarily economic and policy based, according to a recent report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The economic drivers are similar to those that have existed over the last century – having the most effective way to match electric supply with demand 100 percent of the time and cover many subcategories. The newest driver is the rate at which emerging technologies are advancing, such as communications, computing power, energy storage, and renewable generation, which are creating new opportunities and innovative ways to match electric supply and demand. In addition, there are emerging drivers to understand potential business models where power sales do not drive profits.

The report says one of the key findings of the survey is that smart grid pilots and demonstrations are being pursued to determine costs and benefits so that the extension of the smart grid applications for wide-scale deployment can be pursued in an educated manner and help to understand the factors that can affect the costs and benefits.
In addition, a key external driver is regulatory policy goals including greenhouse gas, energy efficiency, reliability, and renewable portfolio standards.

The report, Smart Grid Leadership Report: Global Smart Grid Implementation Assessment, was prepared by EPRI and the Galvin Initiative with the goal to provide a global perspective on the key drivers for utilities to deploy smart grid projects and identify emerging trends in those deployments.
The report finds that applications being deployed within smart grid projects range from project to project, but the most common include demand side integration and empowering customers, improving system performance and power flow and energy, and reducing greenhouse gases.

These findings confirm that information and communication technologies are at the forefront of smart grid projects in order to enable integration of demand side resources, power quality and reliability applications, and renewable generation penetration. A majority of respondents indicated “Internal Operations” improvement as a key driver that prompted their smart grid project. The response to this and similar questions highlight the complexity of smart grid projects and that there is no one-size-fits-all in regards to what is the single most important driver for all utilities, says the report.

An important survey result was that less than half of those who responded indicated that they have conducted market research for the smart grid project at their company and most companies indicated that their customers have very little knowledge of the smart grid. This is an indication that developing activities involving customer interaction, such as variable pricing programs, will be important to help educate customers about the smart grid, states the report.