While the market for home energy management devices is growing at a rapid pace, there are still some hurdles to be overcome before it becomes a mature, stable retail environment.
Fragmentation of Regulations
One of the problems facing consumers is the fragmentation of regulations governing these devices and their applications. Called EIDs, for energy information displays, these devices must meet a range of fiscal and regulatory regimes, both from a product design perspective and from a utility regulation viewpoint, which may vary from province to province, from state to state, and from one country to another.
Despite these relatively minor hurdles, consumer interest in energy issues, particularly conservation and control, is higher than it has been in decades. In this context, a huge market for energy information displays – interfaces to allow consumers to monitor and manage their home energy usage – is emerging.
For example, tens of millions of smart electric meters are slated for deployment in the next few years. In many jurisdictions these energy monitoring and display devices have already been installed and await the further implementation by electric utilities of automated measuring systems. Governments everywhere are spending billions of dollars to support investments in alternative energy – wind, solar, and geothermal – and other energy efficiency initiatives
Forecasts of User Growth
Pike Research estimates that the number of home energy management users will reach 28 million by 2015, and the company forecasts that in-home display devices will be the largest EID category, with 14.4 million units shipped by the same year. Web-based dashboards are also predicted to be a major category with 11.1 million users, followed by mobile phone energy applications with 2.6 million users. The vendor market for home energy management devices is increasingly crowded and very competitive as a variety of industry players pursue the emerging EID opportunity.
Often at the forefront of energy efficiency movements, utilities will again play an important role in the development of the market, however, in some regions there are signs of a consumer-led, retail-oriented market. Even technology giants like Microsoft and Google are getting into the market with competitive offerings.
Energy Management and Control
Energy monitoring devices will provide consumers with an unprecedented level of management and control over electrical energy consumption in their homes, enabling them to improve the effective use of this energy, and to benefit from improvements in efficiency and cost savings. They will also provide important tools for utilities which can use them for more efficient management of power generation and distribution, by incorporating dynamic pricing and load control during periods of peak and off-peak demand.