The US stimulus package gives a big push to Smart Grid and Smart meters. Smart grid will utilize wireless sensor networks, software, and computing to enable utilities to see how much and where energy is being consumed, and if there are problems or blackouts in the network. Homeowners will be able to see how much energy they’ve consumed and adjust their consumption habits accordingly. Smart meters will pave the way for real-time pricing, where energy is priced at different rates depending on the time of day and much demand there is for the electricity. Utilities can use real-time pricing to better manage the loads on the grid, while home owners can use it to cut their monthly energy bills. President Obama has called for the installation of 40 million smart meters and 3,000 miles of transmission lines. Who gets the market?
Itron and GE have been battling it out for the large utility deployments. The only strong European player is Landis+Gyr. Now, British Gas teams up with Landis+ Gyr to deploy up to one million of Landis+Gyr’s “dual fuel” electricity and gas smart meters, along with Landis+Gyr’s innovative touch screen in home display, in UK customer homes, marking one of the fastest, largest and most advanced smart meter deployments in Europe. As part of the development, Landis+Gyr will share details of its smart metering system with third parties, allowing UK businesses a fast track to the creation of new and innovative solutions aimed at consumers, suppliers and utilities alike.
This again shows the importance of national policies in creating demand for innovations.