Smart grid technologies are often portrayed as being vital to the efforts to increase renewable energy production, yet this aspect of the smart grid is the least developed. Massive amounts of new transmission lines will be necessary to access the best large-scale wind and solar resources, however the biggest buzz is about smart grid technologies at the distribution level. While smart meter installations and distribution automation projects are being deployed at scale in many countries around the world, a much broader set of smart grid technology tools will be required for the successful integration of renewable energy at both the utility scale and on a distributed basis. These tools include static VAR compensators and synchrophasors within the transmission grid; advanced energy storage at the transmission, distribution, and residential levels; dynamic pricing demand response; virtual power plants; microgrids; and smart wind and solar technologies.
Except for a limited number of geographies, the hype surrounding the smart grid's vaunted ability to aggregate and optimize renewables is largely relegated to PowerPoint presentations, pilot programs, and long range planning. The success record of smart grid renewables integration is a mixed bag, with European countries boldly plowing forward, while many U.S. utilities exhibit what has been described by a former California state regulator as "electrotrophobia" - the fear of change linked to greater reliance upon intermittent renewable energy resources. Pike Research anticipates that this situation will change over the next several years, creating a significant expansion of the market opportunity for smart grid technologies that enable the integration of renewables.
This Pike Research report examines current thinking and practices with regard to a series of smart grid technologies, policies, and applications designed to help integrate large penetration levels of renewable energy into power systems around the world. The study provides market capacity and revenue forecasts for the following technologies: static VAR compensators; synchrophasors; transmission, distribution and residential advanced energy storage systems; demand response; virtual power plants and microgrids. Key industry players are profiled, including SWOT analysis of their market positions, and regional market forecasts for each key segment extend through 2018.