Distribution Automation

Distribution Switchgear, Volt-VAR Systems, Fault Detection/Isolation,
and Feeder Protection/Control: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

In the context of smart grid deployments today, distribution automation (DA) refers to an intelligent distribution system that is fully controllable and flexible. Such a system can help operate the grid more efficiently, thanks to its embedded intelligence. It is also self-healing in many types of power outages, which is a significant benefit for utilities and their customers.

At the same time, electromechanical equipment and passive circuit elements further downstream on the grid are increasingly being equipped with intelligent sensors, processors, and communications technologies. Smarter transformers can adjust themselves without the need of human intervention. Power lines have devices that locate faults and call in fault currents and power quality issues. Capacitor banks and line regulators that work in concert with the above equipment to optimize voltage and power factors can effectively reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Also, lessons learned from smart grid pilots over the last 5 years are being tallied and molded into best practices. Such progress will be a powerful driver for growth in the DA market. Navigant Research forecasts that global DA revenue will nearly double by the end of this decade, growing from $6.3 billion in 2013 to $11.3 billion in 2020.

This Navigant Research report analyzes the global market trends for low voltage (LV) and medium voltage (MV) automation and communication. The technical discussion revolves around the intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) inside and outside the substation fence and the functional evolution of distribution automation. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, business cases, regional differences, and technology issues that are shaping the DA market. Key industry players are profiled in depth, and worldwide revenue and capacity forecasts, segmented by application and region, extend through 2020.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • How much does automation and communication cost per feeder, and what is the potential DA market worldwide?
  • How rapidly will the DA market grow through 2020, and how will that growth be spread across world regions?
  • What are the benefits and the business cases for DA?
  • How can DA improve system reliability, accommodate renewables integration, and increase grid efficiency?
  • Who are the major players in the DA market?
  • What are the technical challenges facing DA today?
Who needs this report?
  • Distribution grid equipment vendors
  • Smart grid hardware and software companies
  • Telecommunications companies
  • Utilities
  • Government agencies and policymakers
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

1.1   Distribution Automation Overview

1.2   Definition and State of Distribution Automation

1.3   Market Forecast

2. Market Issues

2.1   Electrical Grid Overview

2.1.1   The Smart Grid   Smart Grid Drivers

2.1.2   Distribution Automation Definition

2.2   Distribution Automation Benefits

2.2.1   Enhanced Reliability Management   Reliability Indices

2.2.2   Operations Optimization

2.2.3   Equipment Condition Management

2.2.4   Dynamic Management of Distributed Generation

2.3   Distribution Automation Business Case

2.3.1   Customer Energy Reductions

2.3.2   Reliability Improvements – Value of Service to the Customer

2.3.3   Utility Operational Benefits   Avoided or Deferred Capital Expenditures   Direct Operations and Maintenance Reductions   Technical Operations and Maintenance Reductions (Energy and Fuel Cost Savings)

2.4   Distribution Automation Challenges

2.4.1   Information Management

2.4.2   Telecommunications

2.4.3   Standards Adoption

2.5   Regional Differences

2.5.1   North America

2.5.2   Europe

2.5.3   Asia Pacific

2.5.4   Latin America

2.5.5   Middle East & Africa

3. Technology Issues

3.1   Distribution Network Overview

3.1.1   North American versus Other Regional Grid Design Models

3.1.2   Distribution Feeder Topologies

3.1.3   Legacy Distribution Circuits

3.2   Distribution Automation Progression

3.2.1   Key Recent Developments   Telecommunications Technologies   Protocols and Data Standards   Distribution Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition   Distribution Management Systems and Common Information Model

3.3   Substation Equipment and Automation

3.3.1   Substation SCADA Systems

3.4   Distribution Feeder Devices and Technologies

3.4.1   Circuit Breakers, Fuses, and Related Devices

3.4.2   Switches, Sectionalizers, and Related Devices

3.4.3   Distribution Transformers

3.4.4   Capacitor Banks

3.4.5   Fault Indicators and Sensors

3.5   Field Area Network Communications

3.6   Smart Grid Communications Standards

3.6.1   SCADA Standards   Distributed Network Protocol   IEC 61850

3.7   Smart Grid Communications Security

3.8   Smart Grid Networking Technologies

3.8.1   Wired Technologies

3.8.2   Wireless Technologies

3.8.3   Comparison of Communications Technologies

3.9   Types of Distribution Automation Functions

3.9.1   Basic Automation

3.9.2   Integrated Volt-VAR Control and CVR Strategy

3.9.3   Basic Monitoring

3.9.4   Remote Control and Monitoring

3.9.5   Basic Feeder Automation

3.9.6   Advanced FLISR

3.10   OT/IT Opportunities

3.10.1  Applications and Analytics

3.10.2  Distribution Management Systems

3.11   Technology Challenges

3.11.1  Data Management

3.11.2  Cyber Security

4. Key Industry Players

4.1   Introduction

4.2   Power System Vendors

4.2.1   ABB

4.2.2   Beckwith Electric

4.2.3   Cooper Power Systems

4.2.4   CURRENT Group

4.2.5   Efacec Advanced Control Systems (Efacec ACS)

4.2.6   GE Energy

4.2.7   S&C Electric Company

4.2.8   Schneider Electric/Telvent

4.2.9   Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL)

4.2.10  Siemens


4.3   Power Companies

4.3.1   American Electric Power (AEP)

4.3.2   Dominion Virginia Power

4.3.3   Duke Energy/Progress Energy

4.3.4   Électricité de France (EDF)

4.3.5   Exelon/PECO

4.3.6   Iberdrola

4.3.7   Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

4.3.8   Portland General Electric (PGE)

4.3.9   San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)

4.3.10  Southern California Edison (SCE)

4.3.11  Southern Company

4.3.12  Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

4.4   Other Institutions

4.4.1   Edison Electric Institute (EEI)

4.4.2   Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

4.4.3   Union of the Electricity Industry (EURELECTRIC)

4.5   Systems Integrators

4.6   Communications Vendors

5. Market Forecasts

5.1   Introduction

5.2   Forecasting Approach

5.2.1   Forecast Granularity

5.2.2   Pricing Assumptions

5.3   Global Market Forecast

5.4   Detailed Application Forecasts

5.4.1   MV Automation Forecast

5.4.2   LV Automation Forecast

5.4.3   MV Communications Forecast

5.4.4   LV Communications Forecast

5.5   Conclusions and Recommendations

6. Company Directory
7. Acronym and Abbreviation List
8. Table of Contents
9. Table of Charts and Figures
10. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • MV Automation Revenue, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • LV Automation Revenue, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • MV Communications Revenue, World Markets: 2013‑2020
  • LV Communications Revenue, World Markets: 2013‑2020
  • Simplified Grid Transmission and Distribution System, North America
  • Average Sustained Outage Durations, United States: 2000-2009
  • Smart Grid Deployment Status, United States
  • Simplified European vs. North American Distribution Network Architectures
  • Simplified Distribution Feeder Topologies
  • Example Ring Main Unit Network Diagram, ABB SafeLink
  • Illustration of a Typical SCADA Architecture
  • Example Distribution Substation
  • SCADA System General Layout
  • Examples of Distribution Feeder Devices
  • Example Pole-Top and Pad-Mounted Distribution Transformers, North America
  • Example Fault Indicator
  • Smart Grid Networking Approach
  • Illustration of CVR Configuration
  • Feeder Voltage Profile with LTC, Voltage Regulator, and Capacitor Bank
  • Normal Service to a Neighborhood Served by Three Different Feeders
  • Fault Detection
  • Fault Isolation and Partial Recovery
  • Restoration of All Non-Faulted Segments

List of Tables

  • Voltage Level Definitions
  • Relative Comparison of Smart Grid Communications
  • Systems Integrators, World Markets
  • Communications Vendors, World Markets
  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Application, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • MV Automation Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2013‑2020
  • LV Automation Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2013‑2020
  • MV Communications Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2013‑2020
  • LV Communications Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2013‑2020
  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Application, North America: 2013-2020
  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Application, Western Europe: 2013-2020
  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Application, Eastern Europe: 2013-2020
  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Application, Asia Pacific: 2013-2020
  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Application, Latin America: 2013-2020
  • Distribution Automation Revenue by Application, Middle East & Africa: 2013-2020

Report Details


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