By 2018 the world-pure smart grid business will need to be running at $155 billion, some 50% larger than the current annual expenditure for all electrical transmission and distribution equipment. This will require major restructuring of both the supply and demand side if a truly “smart” grid is to be realized. Memoori Business Intelligence's research estimates that $2 trillion will need to be invested globally by 2030. Sales of smart grid systems in 2010 stood at just $16 billion, clearly showing the business still has a long way to go.

The need to reduce CO2 emissions within the existing electricity production and supply grid will drive the future growth of this business. The grid must be able to incorporate renewable electricity production from a multitude of distributed sources and be capable of matching the supply of electricity with demand at the point of usage and in real time.

In the space of five years, mergers and acquisitions have grown from $134 million in 2007 to $10.6 billion in 2011. Both the growth and scale indicate the supply side is gearing up to meet the requirements of new technology and forecast demand for pure smart grid products and systems. Investment in the market is also on the increase with venture capital companies committing some $1 billion per year in 2010 and 2011 to smart grid suppliers.