Many European states are investing in smart metering in the drive to meet EU's energy targets to be achieved by 2020. Earlier this month, the European Commission released an Energy Efficiency Directive aiming to achieve the 2020 target of a 20 percent energy saving, with smart metering and billing set to play a key role. The Directive, which presents the legislative framework for putting into place binding measures on energy efficiency, expects that major energy savings for consumers will result from easy and free-of-charge access to data on real-time and historical energy consumption through more accurate individual metering and billing, hopefully to empower consumers to better manage their energy consumption. The Directive is driving member states for 80 percent smart meter penetration by that date.
However, according to Frost & Sullivan, a "a global growth consulting company," region-wise disparity exists due to the different regulatory challenges faced by each country, thus having a direct impact on implementation. The firm's study forecasts 26% growth in Europe, with the UK holding the highest growth potential amongst all the European countries. The British Government has in fact announced plans to install 53 million electricity and gas smart meters in homes and businesses by 2019, while the French energy regulator CRE (Commission de régulation de l'énergie) has set out guidelines with an objective for mandatory implementation requiring all electricity consumers to have smart meters by 2016. Meanwhile, Sweden attained 100% smart meter penetration in 2010 while Italy’s deployment is almost complete with 33.5 million smart meters installed till 2010. On the other hand, no mandatory roll out has been planned in Germany.
Frost & Sullivan predicts that the three hotspots in Europe will be France, UK and Spain, countries that the consulting firm expects to witness high level of growth in smart meter installations in the next 2-3 years. In particular, ‘’[w]ith the UK Government publishing its plans for a mass rollout in 2014, the UK smart metering market holds the highest growth potential amongst all the European countries. According to our research, the UK is expected to witness a 109% growth in smart electricity meter unit shipments from 2010 to 2017.’’