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Substation automation market to see substantial growth by 2018, report finds

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Substation automation, which utilities are increasingly using to automate and streamline all monitoring and processing associated with substations, is expected to continue to grow in the next five years as more utilities come to understand the benefits of investing in such a system. 

According to a new report released by MarketsandMarkets, more utilities around the country are starting to outfit their transmission and distribution equipment with advanced technologies as the smart grid continues to unfold. Much of this will be centered on substations that have already been built, but will need to be retrofitted with the necessary intelligent electronic devices (IEDs).

The installations will come alongside new communication platforms that can efficiently transfer all data collected by the systems to the utility, which can then leverage the information to improve operational efficiency. These two factors will likely send the substation automation market above the important $100 billion threshold. 

"The automation functions and applications ranging from supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and alarm processing to integrated voltage variation control, metering to record information generated by substation devices in order to optimize the management of assets and enhance operation and maintenance efficiencies with minimal human intervention," the report read. 

While there are several segments that make up the substation automation market, all together the sector is expected to reach a market value of $122.94 billion by 2018, with a compound annual growth rate in this period of 5.2 percent. 

According to the report, the largest factors that will support spending in the substation automation segment will include the increased importance of grid efficiency, security and reliability, lower costs and lower energy loss during the transmission and distribution process. However, the report did note that there will be a few hindrances to market growth, which include regulation issues and strong initial investments that could wane later on.

North America leading the way
Daily Markets reports that North America is currently has the largest market share for substation automation, with many of the systems in the region already hitting several benchmarks. The North American market alone is forecast to rise to $35.47 billion by 2018, up from the $31.61 billion it is expected to rise to by the end of 2013. This expansion will come at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1 percent. 

As more utilities install substation automation, many are finding that installing multiple gateway devices to collect all data is highly efficient. SUBNET's Unified Substation Communications solution solves this problem using one server to unify all substation data.

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