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Substation automation to see sustained growth over the coming years

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Monday, July 22, 2013

The global substation automation market is expected to grow over the coming years as utilities look to improve the reliability and resiliency of their electric grid.

As more utilities look to modernize their electrical infrastructure, a major concern for these firms is ensuring that an increase in electricity flow does not hinder the performance of their service. Demand for dependable electricity service is growing as more consumers enter the nation's electricity network. This is putting stress on the country's utility grid, which is considered to be dated in comparison to the available technology that can be used to monitor and correct disturbances in power distribution.

Because of the increasing need to improve electricity distribution, deployment of substation automation technology is expected to increase. Through technologies such as intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) companies can monitor the power flowing through their infrastructure and adjust current flow based on the information they communicate. This way, companies do not have to undergo a massive reconstruction of their electric grid while still making the necessary accommodations to meet an increasing power demand. Because of this technology's importance in helping utilities meet the demands of consumers, global revenues for this type of technology is expected to grow.

Global substation automation predictions
A recent report published by Zpryme explains that the global substation automation market is expected to grow over the coming years, hitting $15.58 billion by 2020.

This growth is driven by  technologies designed to improve the efficiency of substations and make them more intelligent. The report explains that most of these advancements are being driven by big name companies like General Electric and Siemens, but a number of niche market vendors are also expected to see increased growth over the coming years.

Last year, the majority of the market was made up of IT systems and applications, communication networks, monitors, IEDs and sensors. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years as this collection of technology will make up 58 percent of the market by 2020, just a single percentage point down from the 2012 figure of 59 percent.

A growing body of evidence
The Zpryme report is only the most recent positive prediction for the growth of the substation automation market. A recent report by Research and Markets believes that this market will grow to nearly $100 billion, though it is important to note that the collection of technologies examined differ from Zyprme.

According to Research and Markets, the global substation automation market is currently worth $95.30 billion but is expected to grow to $122.94 billion by 2018 at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2 percent.

In North America, the market is expected to increase by a CAGR of 9.1 percent. Currently, revenue for substation automation in the region is at $31.61 billion but Research and Markets predictions see it increasing to $35.47 billion.

The "self-healing" grid
One of the advantages of substation automation technology is that allows the grid to become "self-healing," by using the information that the IEDs collect. This information can communicate power surges and lulls in electricity activity, disturbances that could be caused by natural disasters or a possible cyber security breach, and shift the flow of electricity based as a result. This can help prevent blackouts and minimize the the number of consumers without power when one occurs.

SUBNET helps utilities create smart grid solutions through the utilization of substation automation technology. By creating IT solutions employing these IEDs, SUBNET can consolidate the information communicated by these IEDs into a single location so as to create easier monitoring of their infrastructure and increase control over the networks electricity habits. SUBNET's IT solutions, allow utilities to modernize their existing infrastructure without having to completely overhaul their grid.

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