With utilities investing a significant amount of capital into infrastructure, communications, and software for the distribution grid, GTM Research publishes an in-depth analysis on the requirements, technologies and strategies that are ushering in the new age of distribution automation (DA).
Current utility DA upgrades are just beginning to scratch the surface of what will be required to support the proliferation of distributed renewables and electric vehicles. New capacitor banks, voltage regulators, and load tap changers, along with the retrofit of older units with monitoring and control modules to allow for feeder, substation, or system-wide coordination will be crucial for the next-gen grid.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped 32 utilities fund $43 million in automated switch purchases from the first quarter of 2009 through the second quarter of 2011. These investments are just the beginning, as GTM Research forecasts the annual DA market in the U.S. to reach roughly $3 billion per year by 2015.