The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by government mandates and incentives for smart meter installations, net-zero goals and renewable energy plans, and increasing take-up of electric vehicles, and growing importance of technologies such as smart meters. In the last three years alone, there have been over 439,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Power: Energy efficient utility metering. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

150+ innovations will shape the power industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 83,000 patents, there are 90+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, synchronous multi-phase motors, sea water solar treatment, and synchronous motor cooling systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Hermetic pumps, brushless synchronous motor, and HVAC pumps are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are perovskite photoactive layering and linear motor actuators, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the power industry

Energy-efficient utility metering is a key innovation area in power

Smart metering is the primary initiative for achieving smart grid objectives. Smart grids solve critical problems such as renewable energy balancing, customer operations, peak management, and many others. Without a doubt, smart metering reduces commercial losses, monitors energy (in real-time or near real-time), detects energy theft, improves grid reliability, and leads to better revenue and tariff management. Furthermore, it provides detailed consumption information in order to reduce electricity bills as well as increase knowledge about the status of the electricity grid, which improves its performance and the quality of service provided to customers. 

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of energy-efficient utility metering.

Key players in energy-efficient utility metering – a disruptive innovation in the power industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to energy efficient utility metering

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
State Grid Corporation of China 186 Unlock Company Profile
China Southern Power Grid 73 Unlock Company Profile
China General Nuclear Power 22 Unlock Company Profile
NARI Technology 18 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 9 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Shanghai Municipal Electric Power Company 7 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid NARI Nanjing Control System 7 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 7 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 6 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 6 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 6 Unlock Company Profile
Generac Power Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
Equinix 5 Unlock Company Profile
NARI Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Information and Telecommunication 5 Unlock Company Profile
Generac Holdings 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) is a leading patent filer in energy-efficient utility metering. SGCC is a state-owned power utility. The company’s core business includes the construction and operation of power grids. It focuses on research and development of ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission and smart grid technologies. SGCC owns proprietary intellectual property rights and promotes the export of technology and related equipment. It also operates large-scale commercial UHV projects. SGCC supplies power to municipalities, provinces, and autonomous regions, servicing most of the territory in China and dominates China's smart meter deployment. SGCC has also recently completed the smart meter project in Saudi Arabia with a total of 5 million meters installed. 

In terms of application diversity, Schneider Electric, Huawei Investment & Holding, Kyocera, and Honeywell International are some of the leading patent filers in energy-efficient utility metering. Based on geographic reach, China Southern Power Grid, State Grid Shanghai Municipal Electric Power, and China General Nuclear Power are some of the leading patent filers in energy-efficient utility metering. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.