GlobalData’s latest policy report, ‘Smart Grid Policy Handbook 2021,’ offers comprehensive information on major policies governing smart grid in several countries. The report covers eighteen key countries and the EU, providing the current scenario and future plans in implementing smart grid technology, giving a fair idea of the overall growth potential of the smart grid industry in each of these countries and also globally. Countries covered in the handbook include the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, France, Spain, Germany and the UK. The report discusses the net-metering policy and smart meter rollout in these countries. Advanced metering infrastructure, microgrid, smart cities, time of use pricing, communication protocols and electric vehicle charging infrastructure are among the other topics covered in the report. The report uses data and information sourced from industry associations, government websites and statutory bodies.

Smart grid-enabled technologies such as smart metering, demand response, and vehicle-to-grid are witnessing huge uptake globally, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Various countries including the US, China and France have framed policies and started programmes for the further development of smart grids. Developing countries such as India and Thailand are also launching pilot projects to design and strengthen the policy framework for smart grids. Rapid installation of electric vehicle charging stations in several countries is aiding the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) infrastructure growth. Several countries are looking to develop smart grid technology as it offers several benefits such as greater transparency and control over power consumption, improvements in grid reliability, and reduced electricity prices.

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Smart meters have enabled utilities to start demand response programs for their customers. Customers can achieve cost savings with time-of-use pricing while utilities can improve grid operation and enhance grid reliability through incentive-based demand response programmes. Several utilities are making a mandatory switch to smart meters from regular meters. Utilities are driving the transition as it is beneficial for them in understanding the demand better and planning generation more efficiently. In some cases, the government is pushing utilities to carry out the transition to balance the grid better. Increasingly, consumers are becoming more accepting of the transitions as utilities provide assurance around privacy using encryption.

Countries such as France, the UK, Canada and Spain with high electric vehicle (EV) and renewable energy ambitions are betting on V2G systems as they are set to revolutionise both sectors in parallel. As the power mix of countries increasingly leans toward renewables, the intermittency of renewables will be more and more of a problem that can only be addressed by increasing energy storage capacity. The use of electric vehicles as modular storage units that can charge during off-peak hours and supply a portion of their charge during peak hours will go a long way in balancing the grid provided there are many such electric vehicles and that most charging points are connected to V2G systems.

Energy storage is another major aspect that will enable and drive the widespread adoption of smart grid technologies. The ability to store electricity especially that generated by renewables and use it later not only makes the transition to renewables a more practical one, but also enables the management of electricity and enables grids and distribution companies to adopt schemes such as demand response, time-of-use pricing, and smart metering. In most of the major smart grid markets, energy storage capacity is on the rise and is estimated to see sharp growth during 2021-2030.