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By Randy Hurst

Newton-Evans Research Company, Inc. of Ellicott City, MD is preparing to publish market research findings from Volume 1 of a four-volume study, “The World Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2017-2020.” Volume 1 of this Substation Automation and Integration study is based on a 22 question survey of 65 electric utilities that provide electricity to a combined total of 23 million end users in the U.S. and Canada.

The survey sample consists of U.S. investor owned and public power utilities as well as utility cooperatives. The survey also included a mix of Canada’s provincial and municipal utilities. In the full report, responses to each survey question are broken out by type and size of utility.

Substation Automation Programs

Participants were asked, “Please rank the difficulty from 1 to 5 for the following listed “potential obstacles” to implementing substation automation and integration for New Substations and Retrofitted Substations to be built through year-end 2020. Use: “1 = doesn’t stand in our way” to “5 = formidable obstacle.”

Lack Of Appropriate Communications Technology

Three-fourths of survey respondents indicated that when it comes to new substations, “lack of appropriate communications technology inside the fence” is not an obstacle that stands in the way. Just over half of all respondents said the lack of appropriate communications technology inside the fence was not an obstacle for retrofitted substations either. However, 22% of respondents indicated “lack of appropriate communications technology from substation to substation” was at least somewhat of an obstacle for retrofitted substations.

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