India’s Meters Get Smart
Worldwide shipments of smart meters could reach 131 million units annually by 2018, according to Navigant Research, www.navigantresearch.com. Much of this growth will likely happen outside of North America as regions such as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, among others, either play catch up or leap frog the United States when it comes to smart-meter deployment.
Tim Wolf, marketing director of smart-grid solutions for Itron, www.itron.com, a smart-grid solutions provider, says Europe will most likely be the market to watch during the next few years in terms of smart meters, thanks to the 20-20-20 mandate to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and increase the use of renewable energy sources. He also points to utilities in the Asia-Pacific region, in Latin America, and in Africa.
In India, a recent partnership promises to provide realtime energy data to a new group of utility customers. Corinex Communications, www.corinex.com, a technology-solutions provider for utilities, has teamed up with Indian electric-meter manufacturer Genus Power Infrastructures, www.genus.in, to develop what the companies are calling “India’s first indigenous smart meter.”
Genus smart meters will connect to a Corinex SmartGrid Powerline Concentrator, which the companies say is a step up from existing concentrators. The solution will harness advanced smart-grid communications technologies and standards to maximize device interoperability, which also helps to futureproof the technology.
Corinex says the plan is to bring the Genus meters with BPL (broadband-over-powerline) infrastructure, which supports up to 40 Mbps, to the Indian market within the next few months. Genus says it will be the first to deploy such technology, bringing realtime meter data to customers as the rollout takes place.
According to industry experts such as Eric Dresselhuys, executive vice president of global development for Silver Spring Networks, www.silverspringnetworks.com, a networking-technologies provider for smart grid, this type of global expansion of smart meters is no isolated case. Dresselhuys calls smart grid a “global imperative,” reaching worldwide markets such as Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and now, India.
As smart-meter penetration reaches into new global markets—India and beyond—the companies leading these efforts hope to reduce infrastructure costs for utilities, help avoid costly power outages, and improve customers’ ability to manage their energy use on a day-to-day basis.
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