Despite economic uncertainty, Outlook for Investment on Utility Telecommunications Upgrades during 2012-2014 remains positive, influenced by a new generation of field automation applications and advanced metering.
Study Finds Growth in Wireless Investment to Outpace Increases in Wireline Data Communications Over Near-Term and Mid-Term
Slow Rulings Related to Rate Restructuring and Real-Time Pricing Initiatives Viewed as Holding Back Some Near-Term Investment in Electric Utility Communications Upgrades.
JANUARY 3, 2011 ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Newton-Evans Research Company, Inc. announced completion of a three-volume report series focusing on data communications in the electric power industry. Survey findings from over 100 electric utilities worldwide indicate:
1) 88% of utility respondents agree that open protocols provide a degree of protection from premature obsolescence of products, but 58% of indicated they have experienced products that are supposedly standardized/open/interoperable which have not functioned as expected or promised by the vendor.
2) Only 11% of all respondents think that the use of synchrophasor technology will be a main driver in Smart Grid communications requirements, and 10% believe that synchrophasors will be the catalyst to adopt IEC standard 61850. (However, 48% said they were “neutral” regarding either statement.)
3) When asked, “What are some of the key data communications issues facing your utility?” responses to this question ranged from “Cost,” “Reliability,” and “Security” (the three most frequently mentioned) to other issues like technology obsolescence, bandwidth, interoperability, lack of standardization, spectrum availability, NERC CIP compliance, latency, terrain-topography , and scalability. See the accompanying illustration.
4) A follow up question to this was, “What do vendors need to do to address these issues?”. The most frequently identifiable sentiment could be paraphrased as, “Be more attentive to Utility requirements, communicate more, work together.” This was followed by comments mentioning “Standardization.” It is clear from this feedback that utilities expect increased cooperation from their communications equipment suppliers and services providers than they may have experienced to date. On the other hand, if vendors need to adapt their solutions and tailor their products and services to fit the situational needs of varying utility profiles, then they have their work cut out for them. Collaborative research and development may provide a feasible compromise solution.
Volume One of the three volume study includes detailed survey findings on grid operational telecommunications usage patterns and plans from over 100 electric utilities in 24 countries.
Volume Two contains profiles for 22 of the leading communications solutions providers and includes more than 30 smart grid communications-centric project summaries from around the world. Volume Three provides an in-depth assessment and outlook for the smart grid telecommunications market and summary of key market influences.
Level 1 – Reliability, Cost, Security
Level 2 – Bandwidth, Spectrum, Staffing
Level 3 – Protocols, Interoperability, Migration Paths
Level 4 – Obsolescence, NERC CIP, Carrier Limitations, Standards
Additional information on the three volume study Global Study of Data Communications Usage Patterns and Plans in the Electric Power Industry: 2011-2015 is available from Newton-Evans Research Company, 10176 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 204, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Phone 1-410-465-7316 or visit www.newton-evans.com to access the report brochure. The three-volume report is priced at $3,750.00 and can be ordered and downloaded online. Khrissy Newton can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide any additional information regarding the new report series.