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The Asia-Pacific smart grid market earned approximately $5.4 billion in 2012 and will reach $15.83 billion in 2018, finds a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

The report says the smart grid market in Asia-Pacific got a huge boost from the rollouts of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in Australasia and smart city projects in North Asia. In addition, the market can expect higher revenue inflow with the rising popularity of demand response systems and energy management system (EMS) installations, as well as Southeast Asia's desire to switch to smart grids.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the increased generation of renewable energy also creates snags in the transfer of power over an already-stressed network, thus highlighting the need for smart distribution control and management systems to better maintain grid reliability and stability.

Smart grid projects in South Korea, Singapore and Japan are testing the feasibility of distributed generation using solar photovoltaics, biomass, wind energy and electrical vehicle charging, in addition to AMI and EMS in homes and buildings.

Countries such as Japan and South Korea also expect electric vehicles (EVs) to comprise 20% of the total vehicles on the road by 2030. However, because EV charging is an additional load on the power grid, the report says a smart grid is a viable solution to the transmission and distribution issue, as it can identify peak-load hours and appreciate off-peak charging of the vehicles.

Despite its obvious benefits, the smart grid market is pegged back by its high cost of implementation, lack of standardization and security concerns, the report continues. Frost & Sullivan says utilities have to assuage end-user concerns by educating customers about AMI and demand response systems, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can help increase the adoption of smart meters by reducing their costs.

"The OEMs, utilities and customers play equally important roles in shifting from a conventional grid to a smart grid," says Avanthika Sathees, a research analyst at Frost & Sullivan. "The market’s prospects appear bright, as countries in the Asia-Pacific are likely to undertake large-scale projects over the next six years."

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