Frost & Sullivan: High Costs, Uncertain Returns Curb Utilities' Investments in Australian Smart Grid Market ~Lack of specific payback periods stalls potential smart grid development projects

SYDNEY, Jan. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- While several Australian electricity distribution utilities have progressed toward smart grid implementation, they are reluctant to substantially invest any further in smart grids due to the lack of specific payback periods. These reduced investments, along with unsatisfactory performances of smart grid technologies when tested in real application environments, will restrict the smart grid market's growth in Australia. Nevertheless, demand is likely to pick up beyond 2015 as power companies experiment and improve roll-out results.

Frost & Sullivan's new analysis, Australian Smart Grid Market - Utility Survey, (http://www.energy.frost.com), finds that the market earned revenues of more than $400.0 million in 2012 and estimates this to reduce to $260.0 million in 2016.

The ease with which people can remotely read smart meters and potentially even control meter readings has created a level of discomfort among consumers, thus affecting adoption. Intensive consumer education and improved understanding are crucial to alleviate these concerns and encourage customers to install new technologies.

"The disaggregated structure of the Australian power transmission, distribution and retail industries poses a challenge for smart grid deployment," said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Power Systems Senior Consultant Sarah Wang. "While power distribution companies owned by the state governments actively encourage consumers to reduce peaks in energy demand, privately-owned retail companies build peaking generators to meet energy demand, thus inhibiting the full utilization of smart grids."

The high initial costs of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart grids and regulators' hesitation in approving cost-reflective-tariff schemes have also postponed large-scale smart meter rollout. The challenges encountered during previous rollouts and the unclear business cases in some instances have delayed approvals for proposed projects.

Participants are striving to get these delayed projects back on track through increased focus on demand management and the active participation of customers, which have led to successful business case demonstrations. Power companies are using smart grids to achieve operational competence, streamline processes, and meet the demand for energy efficiency. Capital investment deferral is another factor compelling companies to shift to smart grids.

While smart grids enable the successful integration of renewable energy into the electric power network and effectively improve network efficiency and stability, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

"Vendors must collaborate closely with utilities and actively experiment with various solutions, installing sensors and monitors at substation transformers and poles. Resorting to pay-as-you-go meters instead of selling off-the-shelf solutions is another option," noted Wang. "They need to examine and enhance existing infrastructure, including automating networks using supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and communication systems."

Installing these systems with the latest developments in monitoring and communications will yield returns and ensure market survival.

If you are interested in more information on this research, please send an email to Donna Jeremiah, Corporate Communications, at djeremiah@frost.com, with your full name, company name, job title, telephone number, company email address, company website, city, state and country.

Australian Smart Grid Market - Utility Survey is part of the Energy & Power Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: Asia-Pacific Smart Grids Market, Chinese High Voltage Transmission Market, Global Solar Power Market, Mexican Solar Power Market, and North American Onshore Oil and Gas Pipelines Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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Australian Smart Grid Market - Utility Survey
P67A-14

Contact:
Donna Jeremiah
Corporate Communications – Asia Pacific
P: +61 (02) 8247 8927
F: +61 (02) 9252 8066
E: djeremiah@frost.com

Carrie Low
Corporate Communications – Asia Pacific
P: +603 6204 5910
F: +603 6201 7402
E: carrie.low@frost.com

Jessie Loh
Corporate Communications – Asia Pacific
P: +65 6890 0942
F: +65 6890 0988
E: jessie.loh@frost.com

http://www.frost.com

SOURCE Frost & Sullivan



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