With a projected growth rate of 31.1pc between 2009 and 2015, the installed base of smart electricity meters worldwide is set to reach 302.5m within the next five years.
While today the percentage of installed smart electricity meters in Europe is between 15 and 20, analyst firm Berg Insight estimates that this figure will rise to 50pc in both Europe and North America.
In contrast the penetration of smart meters in Asia-Pacific is currently less then 1pc but is projected to grow up to 25pc by 2015.
Drivers for growth, says Berg Insight, include the demand for efficiency in the electricity sector as well as the generally accepted global need for energy conservation in the face of dwindling finite energy resources.
The analyst firm goes on to explain that national governments play a key role in highlighting the need for smart meters and encouraging adoption.
Here in Ireland Minister Eamon Ryan had announced the first phase of a €1bn smart meter plan back in 2008 to achieve the installation of this technology in all homes and businesses throughout the country by 2012.
This year the smart metering trials began in Ireland with 6,500 households taking part. Part of this trialing includes ‘smart bills’ from the CER (Commission for Energy Regulation) to persuade consumers that the installation of one of these meters will save them money and give them more control over their electricity consumption.
“Smart metering is now a globally accepted mature mainstream technology”, said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight.
“All over the world we can see how IT and telecommunication has transformed the metering industry from a business of mechanical devices and manual labour to an arena for state-of-the-art technology in everything from wireless networking to data warehousing and complex system integration.”
Going forward Ryberg predicts that beyond ubiquitous adoption of smart meters lies real-time informatics that will fundamentally change how power is generated, distributed and consumed.