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U.S. Exporters Poised to Capitalize on Global Demand for Smart Grid Products and Services

June 29, 2017

By Vickie Gunderson, Smart Grid Analyst

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The average number of Internet-connected devices per household is expected to increase five-fold by 2022, leading to potentially over 50 billion connected devices by 2025.  As more devices are connected to the Internet– in our homes, offices, and manufacturing facilities – it is becoming increasing more critical that people have access to reliable, secure, affordable, and clean electricity to power them.  And U.S. firms that provide the products and services to meet these grid modernization needs are seeing increased global interest.

Earlier this year, we released an Update to the 2016 Smart Grid Top Markets Report. These articles offer detailed analysis of the near-term growth potential for U.S. exporters of smart grid products and services overall and for three sub-sectors:  transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment, smart grid information communications technologies (ICT), and energy storage.  The Update expanded the number of ranked international markets for U.S. exporters from 34 to 50 markets and ranks them according to opportunities.

Across the suite of sub-sectors, U.S. exporters remain global leaders. Deployment of these advanced technologies across the United States to modernize our grid is serving as a global test bed for these disruptive technologies. Nowhere is this more apparent than for energy storage systems.

Today, the United States is one of the global leaders in deployment of energy storage with more than 200 battery projects totally over 400 MW added to the system and remains the world leader for testing innovative policy, regulatory, and business models. However, projects are being deployed across the globe with global deployment of energy storage expected to increase seven fold over the next five years.  This presents a key export opportunity for U.S. manufacturers and service providers.

Over the last eight years, the costs of grid-scale battery energy storage has decreased ten fold. These types of cost reductions are driving the deployment of a wide range of energy storage systems in the United States and around the globe and enabling electric utilities to store electrons (electricity) to provide power when it is needed and help steady the 24/7 need to balance the generation and the demand for electricity.

As a result, the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (TPCC-REEE), and the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Energy are leading an interagency effort to enhance services and programs to support U.S. competiveness in a range of sub-sectors across this diverse industry – including for energy storage.

In the  2016 Smart Grid Top Markets report, the Department of Commerce included dedicated analysis on energy storage to increase market intelligence for U.S. exporters, and our January 2017 Update included the first sub-sector rankings for energy storage exporters. Additionally, at DistribuTECH 2017, under the International Buyer Program, the Department of Commerce led delegations totaling more than 400 foreign buyers to facilitate meetings with U.S. energy storage and smart grid companies, as well as interact with U.S. utilities who have successfully deployed these products domestically.

Further recognizing the link between technology deployment and regulatory barriers, we have engaged in a series of market-specific activities. At the third U.S.-India Smart Grid Workshop in New Delhi,I participated in public-private discussions on the challenges to smart grid technology deployment in India. We also held discussions on communications networks for electric utilities in Brazil under our partnership with the Utilities Technologies Council through our Market Development Cooperator Program, and later this year (October 31-November 2), we will be leading a delegation of U.S. firms to Toronto and Calgary for the Renewable Energy Integration Trade Mission.

And this is just the beginning! Stay tuned for upcoming events related to global smart grid opportunities, and a full update to the Smart Grid Top Market Report later this fall. Sign up for our Global Energy Team newsletter to stay in the know!

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