Distribution Automation 2012 - 2016: Technologies and Strategies for a Digital Grid

by Ben Kellison

With utilities investing a significant amount of capital into infrastructure, communications, and software for the distribution grid, GTM Research publishes an in-depth analysis on the requirements, technologies and strategies that are ushering in the new age of distribution automation (DA). 

Current utility DA upgrades are just beginning to scratch the surface of what will be required to support the proliferation of distributed renewables and electric vehicles. New capacitor banks, voltage regulators, and load tap changers, along with the retrofit of older units with monitoring and control modules to allow for feeder, substation, or system-wide coordination will be crucial for the next-gen grid. The three large California IOUs already plan to spend more than $700 million on enabling feeder automation and VVO over the next decade, and seventeen utilities receiving stimulus funds have spent $46 million on automated capacitor banks and automated voltage regulators. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also helped 32 utilities fund $43 million in automated switch purchases from the first quarter of 2009 through the second quarter of 2011. These investments are just the beginning, as GTM Research forecasts the annual DA market in the U.S. to reach roughly $3 billion per year by 2015. 

Figure: Selected DA Projects in the U.S. by Utility and DA Technology

Note: Click on image above for larger version / Source: GTM Research

At nearly 150 pages, this report is the leading resource for understanding the DA market's opportunity, economics and competitive landscape. The report includes market forecasts through 2016 for automated switches, capacitor banks, reclosers, substation transformer monitors, voltage regulators, distribution management system (DMS) platforms, fault location, isolation, and service restoration (FLISR) applications, and volt/VAR optimization applications. It also examines utility-specific DA project economics. In addition, GTM Research compares and profiles over 20 of the leading DA vendors. 

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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