The Muni Smart Grid 2012: A Survey of Utility Deployment, Expenditure and Strategy

by Ben Kellison

For the past two years, GTM Research, in collaboration with the Municipal Smart Grid Summit (MSGS), has conducted a survey of key decision-makers from a diverse group of municipal utilities in order to provide insight into this key emerging market segment. The findings presented in this report are based on a 37-question survey.

Municipal utilities are a fragmented, albeit important demographic, largely neglected by the initial surge of smart grid spending in the United States. With more than 75% of investor-owned utilities already pursuing grid modernization initiatives, including advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation (DA) and other technologies, GTM Research anticipates the next wave of smart grid expenditures will be led by municipal utilities, accounting for close to $7 billion through 2017.

Furthermore, the initial wave of smart grid deployments in the United States had a steep learning curve, forcing many utilities to adopt a ‘learning by doing’ approach that has resulted in a fragmented vendor ecosystem and disparate networks. Integration will be the key to addressing the municipal market and the vendors most capable of integrating legacy hardware and networks will stand to benefit the most. We also anticipate strong demand for next generation applications, which leverage the capabilities of AMI and legacy AMR systems at early-adopter utilities. Not surprisingly, AMI continues to drive smart grid investment and is still widely regarded as the most important smart grid application by municipal utilities, followed closely by distribution automation.

FIGURE: What Do You Consider to Be the Most Important Applications of a Smart Grid?

This 45-page survey was conducted and published in conjunction with Municipal Smart Grid Summit (MSGS).

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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