Western Europe, one of the highly advanced and matured electricity markets in the world, is planning to invest more than $133bn in ‘smart grid’ infrastructure in the next ten years, according to a study published by Northeast Group.

The investments are expected to strengthen Western Europe's position in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy development globally.

Large scale smart metering projects, investments in distribution automation, battery storage and information technology are driving investments in power grid modernization. 

As per the study, smart grid deployments are mainly driven by EU regulations, according to which most European Union countries will have to deploy 80% smart meters for residential customers by 2020.

Northeast Group's study estimates that Western Europe as a whole can reach up to 67% penetration by 2020, with 12 countries meeting the 80% mandate.

To meet its recently increased renewable energy and emissions reduction goals, the EU will need to increase investments in a range of smart grid infrastructure to ensure that the grids in the countries can handle the challenges.  

Smart grid contracts have been won by both European and international vendors. While Aidon, Ericsson, Iskraemeco, Kamstrup, Landis+Gyr, Sagemcom, and Ziv are the European vendors that won contracts, international vendors include Aclara, EDMI, Honeywell, Itron, Sensus and Silver Spring Networks.  

Northeast Group president Ben Gardner said: "Western Europe has long been a global smart grid leader and is solidifying this position with large-scale smart meter deployments in countries such as France and the UK.

"The large German market has been slower to develop but is now getting a boost with new regulations and early leaders Italy and Sweden are set to begin their first replacement cycle of smart meters. As a result, there will be billions of dollars of smart grid infrastructure investment in the region over the next decade."

Image: Western Europe to invest $133bn in smart grid infrastructure. Photo: Courtesy of Petr Kovar/FreeImages.com.