Larry Fisher spends all his time lately designing new ways to conserve electricity.
As the research director of NextGen - the division of private, New York City-based ABI Research that tracks smart grids worldwide - Fisher has more and more on his plate these days. That's because the wave of new investment in this emerging sector is just beginning.
NextGen also serves as an incubator for brand-new approaches in electronics and smart-grid technology. Over the past several years, the groundwork for smart grids has emerged in a number of countries, Fisher says. For that reason, the rates of both investment and implementation are increasing.
In a brand new report, Fisher's research team estimates that we will spend some $45 billion worldwide between now and 2015 on smart-grid-related transmission-and-distribution (T&D) infrastructure, implementation of related components at the level of utility companies distributing the power to consumers, and smart meters. (These last ingredients allow you to measure usage and redistribute power on your own.)
When compared to the trillions spent on generation and transmission, $45 billion may seem like a pittance.
But it certainly does indicate that a change is approaching. And for certain companies that find themselves in the middle of this significant energy revolution, it's going to mean lots of profits.