U.S. Smart Grid, beyond the Smart Meter

In the residential home, there is growing interest and investment in many new types of consumer-oriented smart energy products, from home-networked energy usage displays to smart thermostats to smart-grid-friendly household appliances all products intended to let customers see, measure and control their energy use. Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on the verge of market acceptance are also expected to create greater consumer interest in the smart grid, creating demand for both home-use and publicly located smart PEV chargers.

The smart grid extends beyond the consumer and the smart home, too. The smart meter is just one of the various interactive sensors and smart energy technologies in a multilayered smart grid infrastructure and network. Integrated deeper within the transmission and distribution (T&D) grid are new self-healing grid components, advanced control systems and other upgrades to the utilities back-office software that address important T&D challenges of infrastructure reliability, power quality and voltage regulation, and renewable energy integration and energy storage.

Emerging smart grid (SG) product categories for both the home and the T&D infrastructure are the focus of this Fuji-Keizai USA report. The report profiles 48 industry players, using table format to summarize findings on each company’s SG products, deployments and partnering activities. The focus is smart grid technologies with relevance to PEV integration, T&D automation and renewable energy integration and devices that bring intelligence to the edge of the grid whether sensors in the T&D system or grid-connected devices in someone’s home. These needs present an entirely new load (i.e., customers) for the electric power grid, new integration problems to solve, but also new opportunities that utilities haven’t seen before.

The report explains the status of SG interoperability standards-related activities and the latest U.S. government stimulus funding allocations for SG technologies. Although the preponderance of SG pilot and demonstration projects in the United States still remains focused on the buildout of the smart meter/AMI network, other projects are at the early stages of implementing more advanced SG technologies and concepts. This report profiles 10 pilot deployments and demonstrations being staged to advance the integration of PEVs, microgrids, renewable energy resources, energy storage and self-healing technologies into the smart grid.

Findings, forecasts and the market analysis in this report will be valuable to anyone looking to understand an electric power industry undergoing major change, not unlike the changes that happened in the Internet and wireless revolutions, only potentially more challenging, yet with as many opportunities. The report is based on current information available through government sources, energy industry trade publications, technical articles from online business journals, and company news releases, investor presentations and interviews with smart grid industry experts. The Obama stimulus package provided the roadmap guiding the market size estimates and forecasts to 2015 for key market segments. Readers can also refer to Fuji-Keizais companion October 2009 report on “U.S. Smart Grid: Market Layers/Technologies/Players, 18 Demonstration Projects and Future Outlook.”