According to Pike Research, the total installed base of smart meters will reach over 350 million in the Asia Pacific region by 2016, nearly seven times more than the current number. China will overwhelmingly be the largest investor with a projection of just over 260 million in the next five years. Japan, South Korea, and Australia are also expected to see significant growth. Pike Research released an overview of their analysis which notes significant players in the market and grid performance.
Many countries in Asia have already implemented installation of smart meters, but not as wide spread as many Western nations. The smart meter industry in China is expected to be three times its current size in the next four years to become a $60 billion market. Energy consumption is expected to double in China over the next ten years, and the country is reporting that 25% of the energy produced is clean, making data collection all the more important. In fact, China is investing in smart grid systems at a higher rate than the United States.
But not everyone is convinced that smart meter data will be used in the most effective, consumer-friendly manner. While the data can be used to inform users of when best to use energy, they can also be a way for gigantic power providers to charge more during peak times, especially in the mornings and evening when the majority of workers are making their daily commutes. Concerns range from those who work at home to those who live in regions with drastic climate shifts, and even to public policies makers who fear the poor will be negatively impacted by fluctuating rates.
Although Australia is listed as a key area of growth for smart meter installation, at least one state in the country is hesitant to push the technology to all users. Victoria has stalled a previous program that would have called for wide spread upgrades. It’s unlikely that smart meters progression will stop, but the impact on individuals remains to be seen.