Substation automation equipment, including communications, protective relays, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) devices, and related sensors, has been a significant and mature market for at least a decade. Today, the integration of substation automation functions into the broader smart grid architecture is gradually shifting the nature of the substation automation opportunity toward newly automated smaller distribution substations, and into retrofit modernizations of previously automated transmission substations. According to a new report from Pike Research, this trend will drive steady growth in the global market for substation automation, which will grow from $2.7 billion in 2012 to $4.3 billion in 2020.
“Even as individual equipment costs and per-substation spending are declining due to technology advances and a shift to retrofits, we expect that the overall market will continue to grow,” says chief research director Bob Gohn. “The smart grid trends driving automation deeper into the distribution network, combined with continued growth in Asia, will sustain steady growth in the overall substation automation sector.”
Today, new transmission substations make up the largest segment of global substation automation revenue. According to the new report, this segment is expected to peak in 2013 and 2014 and to slowly decline through 2020, yielding an effective compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of zero percent for the period from 2011 to 2020. Retrofits of existing transmission substations, and automation of distribution substations, meanwhile, are forecast to grow at 7.1 percent and 7.0 percent CAGRs respectively over the same period. By 2020, newly automated distribution substations will make up the largest application segment for substation automation equipment.