The transmission and distribution (T&D) power grid represents critical infrastructure for every nation worldwide. Today, in response to a number of operational and regulatory challenges, utilities are working to expand and upgrade their substation infrastructure. The aim is to ensure system reliability and security, as well as accommodate burgeoning distributed energy resources (DER). As a result, transformers and switchgear—also known as big iron—are increasingly equipped with connectivity and automation characteristics that make them smart. However, the very high cost and long lead times for the procurement of this equipment mean that the overall market is expected to grow steadily but not rapidly.
At the transmission level, these devices are massive, expensive pieces of equipment that may take several years to procure. While an unforeseen failure can be catastrophic, the logistics and budgeting/planning involved in replacing existing transformers or switches mean only a very small percentage of existing equipment is typically replaced each year. In the distribution grid, similar dynamics are at work, but there is generally far less automation. This is beginning to change, particularly in North America and Europe. For a variety of reasons discussed in this report, utilities increasingly are investing in greater automation and visibility further out in the grid. According to Navigant Research, revenue for smart transformers and switchgear is expected to grow from $20.3 billion in 2016 to $24.1 billion in 2025.
This Navigant Research report summarizes the global outlook for smart transformers and switchgear for high-voltage (HV) and medium-voltage (MV) substations. The study describes the market drivers and barriers associated with growth in both the smart transformer and switchgear markets. Global market forecasts, segmented by T&D-level equipment (category) and region, extend through 2025. The report also outlines Navigant Research’s assumptions supporting these regional market forecasts for smart transformers and switchgear.