Europe is embarking on a series of smart meter deployments that will transform the electricity industry across the continent. The adoption of smart metering at this scale across many of the world’s most advanced economies will drive a new wave of technical and market innovation in electricity metering that will have an impact across Europe and on global markets. According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, more than 237 million smart meters will be deployed in Europe by 2020, and almost 90 percent of installed electricity meters in Western Europe will be smart.

“Deployment of smart meters across Europe will be steady over the next 10 years, with the most intensive activity between 2015 and 2019,” says research director Eric Woods. “By 2020, smart meters will be an integral part of the energy infrastructure across the continent. However, as European utilities move closer to large-scale rollouts, it is inevitable that there will be growing debates over the precise benefits of smart meters, the cost of deployments, and privacy and security issues. The task facing governments, regulators, utilities, and suppliers is to demonstrate the advantages of smart metering to consumers, as well as their contribution to meeting energy efficiency targets and improving energy security.”

The challenges facing the European economy inevitably cast a shadow over such an ambitious investment program. So far, there has been no significant change in smart meter programs that can be directly attributed to the crisis in the Eurozone. Some slowing down of programs has occurred, but most European countries see the clean technology market as one of the key areas for future growth and are making the case for smart meter deployments to create local jobs.