Industry Market Trends

Utilities Roll Out Distribution Automation as Key Smart-Grid Element

October 21, 2013

Cleantech research firm Navigant reported that for many utilities the focus of their smart grid efforts is shifting from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to the larger issue of distribution automation (DA), “intended to reduce capital and operating costs, as well as improve the efficiency and quality of the power grid.”

Navigant defines distribution automation as “intelligent distribution systems that are fully controllable and flexible, and that can help operate the grid more efficiently due to their embedded intelligence.” The technology “can play a critical role in outage recovery, delivering the capability to sense and pinpoint faults, reroute power flows through dynamic sectionalizing, and even provide key location information back to line crews to speed repair and recovery.”

By 2020, the firm forecasts, “more than 15 percent of the global installed base of smart meters will be incorporated in functional AMI/DA systems, ... up from 2 percent in 2012.” Navigant has estimated that global revenues from DA systems will grow from $6.3 billion this year to more than $11.3 billion by 2020. The growth in DA is in part driven by the “proven reliability improvements and verified grid efficiencies” experienced by utilities during smart grid pilots in recent years. Read More