Smart Grid technologies include smart power management and architecture system components.
The global power utilities are the next mega-market moving from analog, standalone systems to digital networked technology. The opportunities are huge in everything from wireless components in smart meters to giant power electronics in transformers and substations and vast renewable solar and wind farms, plus the energy storage systems that will be built alongside them.
But these opportunities will be slow to materialize. Utilities are regulated and thus inherently slow moving. Policies at the level of the global Kyoto Treaty on down will influence the pace and direction of movement. And many market unknowns are yet ahead Ė like how much consumers really want to monitor the energy use of their fridges or dryers.
Forward-looking utilities and such vendors as Cisco Systems have now put business units and plans in place. Over the last two years the first cut of some very basic framework standards have also been drafted. But plenty of technical work is also ahead to graft commercial IT technologies on to the power grid in ways that ensure safety and open the door to more automated operations of a grid that will depend less and less on conventional fuels.