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Nanotechnology Report

Smart Grid Distribution Equipment Markets - 2010

Category: Transport, Energy & Environment Published: Jun 2010 View Contents
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Electronic copies include a five user licence. Contact andrew.stewart@nano.org.uk for more information.

Much of the opportunity for selling equipment into the Smart Grid is currently perceived as occurring in the distribution segment. This reflects the emphasis by both power companies and regulators on advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and demand response (DR). But it also reflects the fact that there is a strong perception that the distribution segment of the grid has failed to keep pace with developments in digital communications and control technology.

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As a result we believe that major changes are coming to the transmission sector that will create new opportunities, not just for systems firms, but also for firms that manufacture electronic components, develop IT systems and carry out systems integration at every level. For equipment makers the new revenue potential will range from new generations of small transformers to distribution automation and communications systems. And in a market where the impact of information technology has to date been fairly minimal, the distribution segment is expected to see revolutionary developments in communications, security and monitoring.

Nonetheless, we believe that it will be easy for firms selling into the Smart Grid distribution sector to get caught up in the hype and overshoot what the market really demands. With this in mind, this new report begins by identifying what the real and pressing demands for equipment from distribution modernization will be as well as the considerable challenges that distribution equipment suppliers face in the Smart Grid market. The focus of the analysis and the forecasts in this report are on four main areas of opportunities in distribution:

  • Smart grid transformers, switchgear and other hardware for the Smart Grid distribution substation
  • The equipment that resides on the non-utility customer premises, which is likely to change significantly as metering, demand response and customer power generation becomes more common
  • Distribution equipment using novel materials/technology such as advanced power electronics and superconductors. This includes, for example, Fault Current Limiters (FCLs). We also discuss the role of FACTs (nominally a transmission system) in the distribution sector
  • Opportunities that are appearing in areas that have exhibited limited technology change in the past; areas such as distribution transformers, conductors, insulators and towers

Based on this analysis, this report discusses what the distribution products of the future will look like and where they will fit into future grid architectures. We provide an eight-year market forecast for all the main equipment categories, broken out by technology, voltage supported, etc. We also profile the product/market strategies of leading suppliers and examine the latest distribution products and technologies aimed at Smart Grid markets.

This is a worldwide study of Smart Grid distribution systems, technology and markets and covers developments in North America, Europe, China, India, Japan, Korea, and Latin America. We believe this report will be essential reading to suppliers of equipment, utilities and investors looking to get a realistic appraisal of where money is being made and will be made in Smart Grid distribution infrastructure.

Much of the opportunity for selling equipment into the Smart Grid is currently perceived as occurring in the distribution segment