Non-Wires Alternatives

Non-Traditional Transmission and Distribution Solutions:
Market Drivers and Barriers, Business Models, and Global Market Forecasts

Traditionally, when a transmission or distribution system operator needed to upgrade or replace infrastructure due to aging equipment or increased load demand, it would simply conduct poles and wires projects. However, grid management and distributed energy resources (DER) technologies have improved, utilities are looking to engage customers more, and policy concerns related to cost and the environment have grown. In reaction, more creative solutions are being explored to address infrastructure needs at a lower cost with greater customer and environmental benefits. These types of projects are known as non-wires alternatives (NWAs).

The adoption of NWAs has mostly been focused in North America so far since European and other system operators approach grid management more holistically and try to address needs at a system level. Yet, it appears that NWAs are ready to become a bigger piece of the transmission and distribution (T&D) investment picture based on advancements in DER technology and utility willingness to try new means of infrastructure replacement. NWAs are expected to proliferate in all regions due to varying market conditions. According to Navigant Research, global NWA spending is expected to grow from $63 million in 2017 to $580 million in 2026.

This Navigant Research report examines the global NWA market, with a focus on market drivers and barriers, business models, and forecasts for non-traditional T&D solutions. The study provides an analysis of the trends related to NWAs to highlight varying regional activities and programs. Global market forecasts for spending, broken out by segment and region, extend through 2026. The report also analyzes the key procurement business models related to NWAs and provides case studies of recent NWA projects in the United States.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What is a non-wires alternative (NWA)?
  • What market drivers are incentivizing NWAs to expand in the United States and abroad?
  • What factors may inhibit NWA expansion?
  • What new technologies and business models are enabling NWAs to increase their penetration in the market?
  • How quickly will NWA spending grow in various regions around the world?
Who needs this report?
  • Smart grid hardware and software vendors
  • Utilities
  • Government energy agencies
  • Independent system operators/regional transmission organizations (ISOs/RTOs)
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

1.1   Introduction

1.2   Market Drivers

1.3   Market Barriers

1.4   Business Models

1.5   Market Forecast

2. Market Issues

2.1   Definition of Non-Wires Alternative

2.1.1   Difference between NWAs and Microgrids

2.1.2   Transmission versus Distribution NWA

2.1.3   Locating NWA Opportunities

2.2   Market Drivers

2.2.1   Regulatory Policies

2.2.2   Economics

2.2.2.1   Investing Based on Load Growth

2.2.3   Enabling Technology

2.2.4   International Drivers

2.2.4.1   Europe

2.3   Market Barriers

2.3.1   Lack of Regulatory Incentives

2.3.2   Utility Operations

2.3.2.1   Organizational Barriers

2.3.2.2   Technical Barriers

2.3.3   Financial Limitations

2.3.3.1   Cost-Effectiveness Example

2.3.4   Customer Engagement

2.3.4.1   Regional Differences in Customer Engagement

2.3.5   International Barriers

2.4   NWA Procurement Business Models

2.4.1   RFP

2.4.2   Auction

2.4.3   Current Implementation Contractors

2.4.4   Internal Utility Resources

2.5   Case Studies

2.5.1   Central Hudson

2.5.2   Con Edison

2.5.2.1   BQDM Program

2.5.3   Bonneville Power Administration

2.5.4   Pacific Gas and Electric

3. Market Forecasts

3.1   Forecast Introduction

3.2   Assumptions Guiding This Forecast

3.2.1   A Note on Report Scope and Market Sizing

3.3   Global NWA Spending

3.4   Conclusions and Recommendations

3.4.1   Utilities

3.4.2   Vendors

4. Acronym and Abbreviation List
5. Table of Contents
6. Table of Charts and Figures
7. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2017-2026
  • Share of NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2017
  • Share of NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2026
  • CAGR of NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2017-2026
  • Transmission and Distribution Breakdown
  • Distribution Equipment Only Solution – 10-Year NPV $280 Million
  • Integrated Solution with Slow Load Growth – 10-Year NPV $166 Million
  • National Grid No Cost Energy Kit
  • Illustration of BQDM DR Auction Mechanics
  • Targeted Deferral Milestones for CenHub Peak Perks Program
  • Con Edison BQDM Sample 2016 Peak Day Load Curve
  • Anticipated BQDM 2018 Portfolio
  • BQDM Auction Contribution
  • PG&E Targeted DSM Customer Map

List of Tables

  • NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2017-2026
  • C&I NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2017-2026
  • Residential NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2017-2026
  • Share of NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2017 and 2026
  • Growth of NWA Spending, Year-over-Year, World Markets: 2018-2026
  • CAGR of NWA Spending by Region, World Markets: 2017-2026
  • NY Joint Utilities Benefit and Cost Tests

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