As end-users become smarter about their energy use, their communities are getting smarter, too. The market for smart energy community technology is on the upswing.
According to the research firm Guidehouse Insights, entire communities are beginning to combine a variety of emerging energy technologies. Its October report,“Smart Energy Communities: Energy Technologies and Solutions for Smart Cities, Districts, and Communities: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts,” projects global revenue for the smart city and community energy market to grow about 10% per year, from the current value of $24.7 billion to $63.9 billion in 2030.
According to Guidehouse, communities have become increasingly interested in combining a variety of new, clean energy technologies, including renewable power generation, energy storage, smart meters, green buildings, blockchain and others. These components can be integrated into microgrids, virtual power plants and other aggregations to give communities greater control over energy use.
Guidehouse finds that the trend is driven by a number of factors. Ambitious government goals to reduce carbon emissions are driving tech companies and utilities to develop and adopt these new technologies. Residential rooftop solar and home batteries are becoming more popular. Customers also want more locally generated energy. All of this increases the challenge for managing the grid. In the face of that challenge, combining smart technologies enables communities to improve resilience and reliability at low costs.
The Guidehouse study notes that at this stage, most of the smart community technology is being adopted in the form of trial projects, proof of concepts and demonstration projects. Cities, real estate development firms, engineering multinationals, technology companies and utilities are all embracing the concept.
Guidehouse projects the smart community market in North America to more than double, from just under $5 billion in 2020 to more than $10 billion in 2030.