Distribution Automation Communication Networks: Strategies and Market Outlook, 2012-2016

by Gerry Runte, Ben Kellison

With much of the smart grid M&A over the past two years centering on acquisition of communications companies, GTM Research forecasts the cumulative market for U.S. private distribution automation (DA) communications systems to be between $600 million and $1.8 billion through 2016. Because automation of distribution systems, substations and transmission grids offers more rapid and greater return on investments than smart meter programs, we believe that the (largely undeveloped) DA market represents the greatest opportunity to reap the benefits of the smart grid.

FIGURE: Distribution Automation Communications Taxonomy

Source: GTM Research

This 116-page report assesses the tangled and nascent U.S. market for the communications networks that enable DA, providing descriptions of technologies and applications, market forecasts, and case studies in order to facilitate market entry. The report also provides 30 comprehensive vendor profiles, as well as highlighting planning and implementation of utilities, including Alabama Power Corp., Arizona Public Service Co., Burbank Water and Power, Consolidated Edison, Consumers Energy, Duke Energy, Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Hydro One, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison.

Gerry Runte Contract Analyst

Gerry Runte began his career as Nuclear Fuel Manager with General Public Utilities Corporation (GPU). At the time GPU was one of the few utilities contracting for all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle and was acquiring fuel for the systems for four nuclear units: Three Mile Island Units 1 and 2; Oyster Creek and ForkedRiver. After the accident at TMI‐1, Runte was a member of a small team that successfully raised the additional $750 million necessary to complete cleanup. He was the owner’s representative on behalf of Cajun Electric G&T’s 30% share of the River Bend Nuclear Station. In the late 80s and early 90s, Runte was Manager of Rate Affairs for GPU Nuclear Corporation, where he implemented a program to assure the corporation’s preparedness to withstand operational and management prudence reviews. In the early 90s, Runte was Director of Strategic Planning for the GPU System.

After GPU, Runte served in executive leadership roles at the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and two of its fuel cell development companies, Mosaic Energy and M‐C Power Corporation. At GTI, he achieved 40% annual revenue growth and established the company as a key player in the hydrogen energy sector. In his current position as Principal at Worthington Sawtelle LLC, a marketing consultancy specializing in emerging energy technologies, and previously as General Manager of Clean Energy at ARES Corporation, Runte has played a central role in developing partners, structuring joint ventures, and guiding product commercialization in the clean energy and alternative fuels sectors. At ARES, he formed a strategic alliance with a waste‐to‐energy technology firm building plants in the U.S. and overseas. He also was instrumental in the launch of a biodiesel joint venture whose assets were later sold to a large biodiesel production company.

Runte holds a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Chemistry and a Masters in Nuclear Engineering, both from Pennsylvania State University.

Ben Kellison Director, Grid Research

Ben is the Director of Grid Research for GTM Research, specializing in Distribution Automation, Network Management and Renewables Integration markets.

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