We've talked at length
about the "smart grid" before -- the idea that adding intelligence into the electrical transmission and distribution grid (and some lump in distributed generation as well) would help promote energy efficiency, reduce waste in transmission, and prevent outages and brownouts.
Now the Global Environment Fund, a cleantech venture investment firm, has released a very useful study
(note: opens pdf) which specifically addresses the subject. Out of the global $81B spend on power grid infrastructure in 2005, they argue, $25B could be addressed by "smart" products. As they point out, transmission spending is already forecast to be greatly increasing in the U.S., since 70% of transmission lines are 25 years old or older, 70% of transformers are 25 years old or older, and 60% of circuit breakers are 30 years old or older -- and we're running out of capacity to begin with. A large bill is becoming due, and smart grid technologies can help mitigate the costs and build a more reliable system in the doing.
The report is particularly useful because it provides an introduction to key customer segments, key technologies, important market drivers, etc. A good primer. Cleantech investors and others who are getting up to speed on the topic should certainly check it out.