Power quality investment leads growing North American distribution automation market

The global market for distribution automation equipment generated more than $11 billion in revenue during 2011.


IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS Inc.) estimates the global market for distribution automation equipment generated more than $11 billion in revenue during 2011, with forecast growth to more than $18 billion annually by 2017. Equipment related to power quality is anticipated to be one of the fastest growing segments of the distribution automation market, particularly in North America, where revenues are expected to grow from more than $400 million in 2011 to a projected $700 million in 2017.

America's Market for Distribution Automation Equipment, Source: IMS ResearchCapacitor banks and voltage regulators are increasingly being automated, allowing these devices to be remotely controlled and work in direct coordination with one another in Volt/VAR optimization and conservation voltage reduction (CVR) schemes. Volt/VAR optimization maximizes the efficient use of power throughout the distribution network, while ensuring the correct (and safe) power reaches the end user, while CVR attempts to deliver the minimum voltage required by devices at the end consumer. Both applications require investment in not only the heavy metal, but increasingly there are more sales of switches and control modules to help automate schemes.

Comments analyst Nicole Juarez: “Adding electronics and controls allows equipment to act independently and/or be programmed in a system-wide scheme, allowing smart grid functionality to be accomplished. The surge in the power quality segment of the distribution automation market is coming from additional revenues being realized from retrofit sales. This is most pronounced in North America, where new construction has slowed and aging infrastructure makes the addition of controls onto existing heavy metal equipment in the field an easily justifiable investment for utility companies. In these regions, capacitor controls and voltage regulator controls are expected to grow faster than their heavy metal counterparts.”

Continued regulatory change is expected in North America, where some state’s PUCs are enforcing decoupling schemes, whereby removing the utility companies’ revenue earnings from a direct correlation to the amount of electricity sold. As this continues, more utility companies here will see a strong ROI on investing in not only power quality equipment on the grid, but also additional equipment such as sensors and other monitoring devices.

Adds Juarez: “In the short term, the appeal of Volt/VAR optimization schemes and the strong opportunity for retrofit opportunities for capacitor controls and voltage regulator controls will result in strong growth for power quality equipment. In the long term, the increased use of renewable generation and electric-vehicle charging will cause new challenges for the grid that will make the case for this group of devices even stronger, along with promoting the emerging market for energy storage on the grid.” 

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.