EU smart meter rollout will cut emissions and create jobs, says report

The rollout of smart meters across the European Union will cut harmful emissions and create social and economic benefits by 2020, according to a new report.

Research and consulting firm GlobalData said in a new report, Smart Grid Policy Handbook 2016, that the EU’s smart metering initiative could reduce emissions across member states by up to 9% and cut annual household energy consumption by similar amounts.

The EU has set a target of replacing at least 80% of electricity meters with smart meters by 2020, wherever it is cost-effective to do so.

According to the report, the EU’s drive towards smart metering was kick-started by the Security of Electricity Supply (2005/89/EC) directive, which took effect in February 2006. The directive said that member states should take appropriate measures to safeguard the balance between electricity demand and generation capacity. Amongst other things, it recommended the adoption of real-time demand management technologies such as smart metering systems.

This directive was followed in September 2009 by the EU energy package, which aimed to help establish an integrated Europe-wide energy market that would encourage the adoption of smart grid technology.

“Smart grids facilitate the incorporation of renewable energy sources into the power system in a stable manner. This will help many countries to achieve their targets and meet domestic power requirements using clean power sources,” explained GlobalData analyst Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham.

“They will also allow customers to purchase cleaner power with lower carbon emissions and receive data on when it is least expensive to use electricity, enabling them to adjust their usage accordingly. This will improve the utilization of existing power plants and reduce the amount of fossil fuel capacity required, limiting harmful emissions.”

GlobalData also highlighted the social and economic benefits associated with the introduction of smart grids, such as creating “a huge number” of new jobs and new electricity markets.

Nagatham added: “Stakeholders will be able to create niche markets using distributed generation, storage, demand response and other programs and services, which will lead to new opportunities for revenue generation.

“In the long term, with the implementation of advanced meter infrastructure, demand response programs and customer side systems, savings through electricity systems will increase, benefiting stakeholders.”

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