The Middle East distribution meter market was estimated at USD 2.46 billion in 2014 and it is expected to witness a significant demand over the forecast period on account of increased electricity demand and the imminent introduction of regulatory frameworks mandating smart meters’ installation. The energy-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are investing in the infrastructure development to boost the oil & gas industries, thereby increasing their industrial base.
Government initiatives and electricity utility companies are expected to increase the installation of smart meters, thereby increasing market demand over the forecast period. The key objective for installation includes reduction of transmission as well as distribution losses. Smart meters provide two-way communication between suppliers and consumers, thereby providing clarity in supply as well as demand requirements in a particular region.
Surge in activities such as upgrading of meters, generating capabilities, and transmission systems are expected to favorably impact the distribution meters market growth over the next few years. Furthermore, rising demand for advanced metering and smart grids infrastructure is anticipated to bolster the demand over the forecast period.
The electromechanical distribution segment accounted for over 40% of the market in 2014. The design of electromechanical meters was optimized for providing a combination of reliability, economy, and accuracy while providing cumulative energy consumption. However, it was deemed incompatible to support the functions required to integrate with a smart grid, which includes real-time prices, communication capabilities, and time of use.
The digital distribution segment thus incorporates significant opportunities over the forecast period owing to the potential benefits and is expected to unite local as well as international technologies for distribution, automation, and smart grids.
One of the key drivers behind the growth of the digital distribution segment is the ever-increasing replacement of electromechanical with digital counterparts, especially smart meters, which incorporate high efficiency, reliability, and easier integration of renewable sources of energy, such as solar energy.
Smart meters help the suppliers in identifying the real-time energy consumption pattern for the users, thereby mapping the clarity of demand and supply in the region. They provide real-time or near real-time power consumption readings, power quality monitoring, and power outage notification.
Factors such as increasing electricity demand, potential for renewable energy, and regional interconnection of power grids are expected to create avenues for the smart grid sector in the Middle East region. Smart meters help price-setting agencies to introduce consumption-based pricing models depending on the time of the day and season.
Saudi Arabia contributed to over 40% of the revenue in 2014. Qatar’s state-owned utility, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is expected to install nearly one million smart meters across the country by 2020, for replacing electromechanical and mechanical meters.
Kahramaa (Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation) is expected to install smart meters in place of traditional analog in Doha by 2016, while the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has undertaken a program to install over 12 million by 2025 throughout the kingdom.
Key industry participants include ABB Group, Advanced Electronics Company (AEC), DZG Metering GmbH, Echelon Corporation, Elster Group GmbH, Ideal Technical Solutions Co., Ltd., Iskraemeco, Itron, Petra Systems Inc., and ZIV Metering Solutions.
Leading players emphasize on the development of end-to-end solutions for building smart energy infrastructure in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Smart grid technologies offer the Gulf countries opportunities to upgrade their infrastructures for energy-saving applications. For instance, in February 2015, Landis+Gyr and Ericsson announced their partnership for addressing the Middle East smart grid transformation and smart metering projects. The key objective includes managing larger amounts of data, thereby opening avenues for energy consumption management and efficient grid along with seamless integration of renewable energy sources.
In August 2015, Kahramaa (Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation) announced the replacement of conventional with smart meters. With the latest technological advancements, Qatar’s smart meters are anticipated to be based on the remote reading system, which sends the readings automatically to the energy supplier.
Furthermore, in March 2012, Siemens announced a contract with Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation, known as Kahramaa, for the Qatar Power Transmission System Expansion project, which is expected to ensure uninterrupted power supplies to the business centers, households, and shopping malls in Doha region.
Use of smart meters offers real-time information on the water, natural gas, or energy consumption of a building. For offering enhanced energy management solutions to the customers, Kahramaa is expected to announce the launch of a smart project. In Doha, Siemens is also working on the supply of communication modules for approximately 15,000 water meters and for the installation of nearly 17,000 smart meters.
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