Despite its reputation as one of the biggest polluters per capita in the world, China leads the way in terms of investments in smart-grid technology, spending US$4.3bn in 2013.
The results, reported by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), show that China has knocked off its biggest economic rival, the United States, in terms of total spend.
According to the figures, the US actually saw a percentage drop of 33pc in direct funding in smart-grid technology, a total of US$3.6bn.
Meanwhile, global spend on the energy-efficiency technology grew as a whole by 5pc, bringing the total economic spend to US$14.9bn, meaning China now accounts for almost one-third of the total spending.
Trying to shake its less than environmentally friendly image, China has not just been funding smart-grid technology, but also some of the world’s biggest solar power plants both in terms of size and energy capacity.
Smart grid stronger than ever
Bloomberg’s senior energy-smart technologies analyst, Colin McKerracher, sees Asia and Europe as the continents to watch in terms of implementing the technology. “The fundamental drivers of the smart grid – greater grid reliability, further integration of renewable energy, and improved demand-side management – are stronger than ever.
“Asian and European markets will drive growth through 2020, while in North America the focus will continue to shift from hardware to software as utilities look to squeeze additional value out of the vast amounts of grid data now available.”
McKerracher believes that despite Europe’s initial slow start with the technology, it is expected to see the number of smart metres rise considerably, with an estimated 180m by 2020.