The Rural Smart Grid 2013: A Survey of Utility Deployment, Expenditure and Strategy


Each year, GTM Research, in collaboration with the Rural Smart Grid Summit (RSGS), conducts a survey of key decision-makers from a diverse group of rural utilities in order to provide insight into that key emerging market segment. The findings presented in this report are based on a 41-question survey covering everything from AMI to distribution automation and grid storage.

Rural electric cooperative utilities (co-ops) serve over 13% of all U.S. customers, yet fewer than 30 (of over 900) of these utilities serve more than 100,000 customers. These co-ops own over 40% of the nation's distribution lines and their collective service territories cover about three-quarters of the nation's landmass.

FIGURE: What do you consider to be the most important applications of a smart grid?

Source: GTM Research

Today, they are slightly more advanced than municipal utilities in terms of their smart grid deployments to date. Despite being early adopters of technologies like AMR, rural utilities will deploy smart grid technologies at an incremental pace, spending approximately $2 billion less than their municipal counterparts in the next five years. However, the benefits of smart grid technologies indicate that these utilities will continue deploying them well into the future. GTM Research anticipates that U.S. co-ops’ smart grid expenditure will total $1.1 billion in 2013.

FIGURE: Selected Large Rural Co-Ops’ AMI Deployments

Source: GTM Research

This survey was conducted and published in conjunction with the Rural Smart Grid Summit (RSGS).

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