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Substation automation market to hit $4.3 billion by 2020

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, August 14, 2012

With more utilities deploying smart grid projects, the market for substation automation equipment is expected to see significant growth through 2020, which in turn will allow utilities to greatly improve their own operations and create a more reliable grid while doing so, according to a new report from Pike Research.

Substation automation equipment, which includes communications, protective relays, SCADA devices and innumerable sensors, has been a thriving market for more than a decade now, but current technologies have pushed substation automation into a new generation. As utilities integrate the technology with the evolving smart grid, substation automation will gain even more importance in smaller distribution substation, and will prompt utilities to perform grid modernization projects to improve already-automated systems.

Pike Research stated that this new trend will lead to faster growth in the global substation automation market, which will expand from $2.7 billion in 2012 to $4.3 billion in 2020.

"Even as individual equipment costs and per-substation spending are declining due to technology advances and a shift to retrofits, we expect that the overall market will continue to grow," said chief research director Bob Gohn. "The smart grid trends driving automation deeper into the distribution network, combined with continued growth in Asia, will sustain steady growth in the overall substation automation sector."

New transmission substations currently comprise the largest sector of all substation automation revenue. This sector is expected to hit a high in 2013 and 2014, after which it will begin a slow decline through 2020 with an effective compound annual growth rate of 0 percent between 2011 and 2020. However, projects that entail retrofitting existing transmission substations and installing automation in distribution substations are expected to grow 7.1 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in the same nine-year period.

By the end of the decade, newly automated distribution substations will account for the highest percentage of substation automation installations.

This large growth in substation automation will be accompanied by an unprecedented change in how utilities monitor their substation activity, which will include using a wide range of intelligent electronic devices to collect and analyze data.

However, with so many smart grid vendors entering the market, interoperability is expected to be one of the biggest issues faced by utilities. To confront this problem, SUBNET developed its Unified Grid Intelligence interoperability philosophy, which drives the company's approach to real-time integration of intelligent utility systems. 

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