New study analyzes successful smart grid projects around the world

2013-11-05 - First-ever global research into smart grid return on investment identifies characteristics of successful smart grid projects.
Over the last decade, smart metering and smart grids have received a lot of attention – from regulators, media, customers and researchers alike. Until recently, however, stakeholders had little means by which to benchmark the payback potential of investments in more intelligent infrastructure. Ventyx, ABB’s specialist enterprise software business, recently took up the challenge to fill that gap.

“Utilities are under increasing pressure to deliver more power, more efficiently, while maintaining high levels of reliabilty,” said Jeff Ray, CEO of Ventyx. “As demand continues to rise, so too do the challenges faced by utilities. These encompass everything from spikes in demand caused by heat waves to managing outages caused by hurricanes and wildfires. Leading utilities are leveraging smart grid technologies to meet these challenges head on, and we want all of our customers to understand the benefits smarter grids can bring.”

To learn from different approaches and identify key success factors in smart grid projects, Ventyx commissioned a report from global energy think-tank VaasaETT. The research drew on VaasaETT‘s broad expertise in demand-response and smart-grid programs, competitive energy markets and energy consumer behavior. It mapped more than 200 projects worldwide using in-depth questionnaires conducted with 30 project owners. The survey included a variety of project sizes, differing scopes and a wide geographic spread. The result is the just-released 2013 Smart Grid Global Impact Report, the first global study of its kind to date.

The report appraises the success and value of smart-grid technology against a host of criteria, including reliability, innovation and customer impact. Not surprisingly, of the many findings outlined in the study, a key outcome is that the most successful projects are more holistic – with a broad range of components deployed. In other words, multiple smart-grid components working together to provide intelligent, “comprehensive" solutions are more effective than isolated pilot installations.

“Since 2003, utilities have invested more than $14 billion in ‘smart grid’ projects globally, but much of this investment has focused on advanced metering and monitoring technology,” said Philip Lewis, CEO of VaasaETT. “Given the long-term nature of capital investment, utilities must move beyond a technology-focused ‘smart’ grid to an ‘empowered’ grid by focusing on true interconnectivity, connecting the silos of source-to-socket lifecycle processes, to real-time conditions in the grid, and to consumers. Empowered grids make energy companies more productive, and more responsive to their customers.”

The Smart Grid Global Impact Report has been has featured in Ventyx’s Beyond Smart roadshow, which has provided preliminary results to customers, prospects, media and industry analysts from Toronto to Tokyo – and numerous stops in between. The report has generated strong interest from utilities to date, with many expressing a desire to participate in future editions to further global collaboration for a brighter energy future.

For more information on the report, go to