After years of neglect, high-voltage electricity transmission systems all over the world are getting much-needed attention. Driven by population and economic growth, policy initiatives, and a renewed industry focus, significant capital investments are being made to expand and extend transmission infrastructure. Thousands of miles of new transmission lines are being built and existing systems are being retrofitted to add new capacity and greater monitoring capabilities. According to a new report from Pike Research, cumulative investment in electricity transmission projects will surpass $606 billion worldwide during the period from 2010 to 2020.

“Many different forces are driving a growth spurt in the transmission market,” says managing director Clint Wheelock. “In some countries, burgeoning populations and thriving economies are creating increases in electricity demand. Even where demand is relatively flat, renewable energy and the smart grid have created the need for increased transmission capacity and the increased use of phasor measurement units, Wide Area Monitoring Systems, and transmission automation.”

Wheelock adds that in North America, Europe, and many other regions, cross-border transmission projects are being developed to relieve power shortages and to feed competitive electricity markets. In all of these areas, technological advancements such as High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) and high-temperature superconductors are increasingly being utilized for specialized transmission applications.

Pike Research forecasts that annual transmission expenditures will increase steadily from $48.4 billion in 2010 to a high point of $57.9 billion in 2017, after which the transmission market will begin a slow decline. The firm anticipates that the United States will be the largest market for annual transmission investments, followed by China and India.

Pike Research’s report, “Electricity Transmission Infrastructure,” analyzes the global transmission market and provides forecasts for transmission expenditures in each region through 2020. The report also includes market segmentation information by transmission technology category for the United States, China, and Europe.