In terms of geographic spread, the sector mirrors photovoltaics with the U.S. clinging to top spot but due to be replaced by China in 2013, in large part thanks to a willingness to invest in smart grid technology by the Chinese government.
Some $4.3bn was invested in smart grid technology in the U.S. down from $5.1bn in 2011 and a big smart metering procurement program from the Chinese national State Grid company was the main driver behind $3.2bn of investment in the People’s Republic, up from $2.8bn in 2011.
With nations such as Japan, India, Korea and South East Asian countries added, Asia invested a total $5.6bn, significantly more than Europe ($1.4bn, up from $1.1bn) and Latin America ($400m). Regulatory progress has been made in Brazil and major deployments in the U.K. and France in 2014 are expected to drive an improvement next year despite mixed take-up of the EU smart metering directive.
The largest share of the global investment, around $7.1bn, was devoted to smart metering and associated services and infrastructure costs with distribution automation and integrated demonstration projects of features like demand response, home energy management and smart electric vehicle charging, the next most popular investments.
Bloomberg is predicting a compound annual growth rate of investment of 10.4% globally over the next five years, taking worldwide smart grid investment to $25.2bn by 2018.