Smart Grid Communications Node Shipments Will Surpass 133 Million by 2018 according to a report by Navigant Research.

Nodes are a key component of a smart grid network that enable connection to the network management system. Essentially they enable the monitoring of the smart power grid – how much power is used, where and by who, and they link information from smart meters in consumer homes and workplaces back to the control center.

Smart grids and power supply networks in general are seen as a key investment for the transition from combustion vehicles to electric vehicles, because:

  • The increased power demand on the network, generated by charging EVs
  • Billing and metering, in particular offering different rates to encourage people to charge during off-peak periods
  • Managing peak demand generally
  • Managing the impact of clean/renewable energy on the grid, specifically: supply fluctuations associated with Wind, Solar and ocean energy
  • Energy storage: using the energy storage capability of EVs that are plugged in to charge, is one possible grid storage solution, which requires smart grid capability and localised re-distribution

Spending on communications for smart grid deployments is accelerating as utilities demand more robust networks that can be leveraged for a growing range of applications. Vendors and service providers have responded by improving the suitability of their communications platforms for a variety of applications – not only smart meters, but also for enhanced distribution automation applications.

The number of communications node shipments associated with the smart grid will rise to 133.3 million worldwide by 2018, up from 91.8 million in 2013. The volume of shipments will decline slightly in 2019-2020, the study concludes.

“Managing the buildout, security, and optimization of the communications network for the smart grid represents one of the great challenges and opportunities in the power sector today,” says Richelle Elberg, senior research analyst with Navigant Research.

“The industry has made significant strides in just a few years; accordingly, many of the expectations and assumptions from as little as two or three years ago have shifted dramatically.”

Previously, many smart grid communications devices were part of specialized, proprietary systems. Over the past 18 months, however, vendors have recognized the value in supporting standards-based technologies. This has resulted, according to the report, in unprecedented activity and cooperation among many stakeholders.

The report, “Smart Grid Networking and Communications”, analyzes recent developments in the global smart grid communications market. Nearly two dozen communications technologies are explained in detail, and use cases are described. The study also examines the shifting funding environments and changing priorities of utilities and how communications equipment and services are evolving to meet those demands. Updated market forecasts for smart grid communications nodes and devices, segmented by device type, application, technology, and region, extend through 2020. The report also examines how vendors are positioning their products in the smart grid communications market and provides profiles of players active in global smart grid projects.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website: www.navigant.com

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