Smart Meters Are A Fraction of the Smart Grid Market

Despite all of the hullabaloo over consumer backlash against smart meters, the investment in smart meters will actually only make up a small percentage of the spending for the entire smart grid, according to a report from research firm ABI Thursday morning. ABI says that while $41 billion will be invested into adding digital intelligence to utilities’ transmission and distribution networks between now and 2015, only $4.8 billion (around 10 percent) will be spent on smart meters over that time period.

That financial break puts the entire smart grid into perspective, and is something we’ve pointed out several times before. The smart grid is still a very large market and opportunity despite how fast or slow, or successful — or not successful — utilities’ smart meter projects end up being.

Now if only 10 percent (not 99 percent) of the mainstream media stories on the smart grid were about smart meters. But the transmission and distribution portion of the smart grid doesn’t sit on the outside of a consumer’s home, so it’s not as fun to write about (except for smart grid cyber spies!).

There is actually a significant problem with the general public equating “smart grid” with the angry news stories about smart meters, so clearly there is more education needed. Smart grid vendors and utilities have recently been responding with more public education and community groups, particularly in California.

As far as ABI’s overall smart grid market prediction goes, comparing it to forecasts from research firms makes it seem like ABI low-balled it a bit. According to Pike Research (yes, they’re bullish on most things) the smart grid have an estimated $210 billion in cumulative investment between 2010 and 2015.

For more research on the smart grid check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Biggest Opportunities in the Smart Grid

Image courtesy of JU5T1N’s photostream.