Strong government mandates, operational efficiency requirements of utilities, demand-side participation, and the urgent need for ramping up energy security are the major factors spearheading growth in the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) market. Robust backing from governments across the Asia Pacific for ensuring sustainable power sector growth and efficient energy usage will keep the outlook for the AMI market buoyant over the next six to eight years.
Demand for smart meters will strongly impact the growth rate of the AMI market. Home area network (HAN) technology is likely to witness a surge in demand over the next five years as many countries in the Asia Pacific are poised to deploy smart meters.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (energy.frost.com), Asia Pacific Advanced Metering Infrastructure Market Outlook, finds that the market earned revenues of US$649.4 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach US$3,454.0 million in 2018.
"HAN allows customers to interface with utilities on load control and tiered pricing; it also lets them access real-time energy consumption information, thereby helping to reduce peak hour load and minimize energy usage costs," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sara Elisya. "For utilities, centralized data from multiple appliances and devices in consumers' homes will help provide differentiated services and reduce billing errors and costs."
Although the market is gaining steady traction, there are some aspects clouding its landscape. AMI technology is witnessing fast-paced evolution, thereby creating major challenges for utilities. They are now hesitant to invest in technologies that are on the verge of obsolescence while having to gauge the merits of upgrading ageing grid infrastructure, and keep the workforce abreast of the latest technology.
Currently, AMI technologies being deployed are not suitable for mass-scale installation, thus making utilities more reluctant to adopt them on a large-scale basis.
As the Asia Pacific AMI market is still at a nascent stage, it is not highly competitive, except in Australia and New Zealand. However, with the participation of local companies from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, the market is expected to become competitive over the medium and long terms.
"As the governments in these regions promote local companies, competition is likely to become intense for international participants," concludes Elisya. "This will compel foreign companies to reduce the prices of meters and communication networks, thus boosting the bargaining power of utilities."
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