The smart grid transformation is resulting in an enormous volume of data – a data deluge – flowing into utilities at a high rate. The volume of data is expected to grow by several orders of magnitude over time. Utilities must solve data collection and storage challenges and learn how to analyze and act on new forms of information before they even get to the point of realizing real returns on their smart grid investments. According to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, the worldwide market for smart grid data analytics is expected to grow steadily through 2020, with cumulative worldwide spending from 2012 through 2020 totaling just over $34 billion.

“Smart grids cannot be considered smart without the actionable intelligence to correct deficiencies and introduce efficiencies throughout the power delivery system, from transmission, substation and distribution systems, to the customer side of the meter,” says research director Carol Stimmel. “The demand for market analytics will only grow stronger as utilities upgrade their systems, and both seasoned providers and new entrants are vying to deliver on the promise of a smarter grid.”

The bulk of this spending will occur in Asia Pacific, where annual investment will surpass $2.5 billion by 2020, the report finds. This is driven by China’s aggressive deployment of smart meters and its related infrastructure, though at this point it is unclear which drivers will be most important to that country in deploying analytic solutions. As those drivers become more understood, it is possible that opportunities in Asia could grow at an even faster rate than currently anticipated.