Posted on

Midpoint Of 2017 North American Study Finds Increase In Substation Construction And Retrofit Plans Over 2014 Findings

The Newton-Evans Research Company has reached the midpoint of its triennial tracking study of change and automation occurring in the world’s electric power substations.

As of August 7, more than 50 major US and Canadian utilities have submitted their survey responses to Newton-Evans staff. A summary of some key interim findings in this 30-part survey process are as follows:

Impediments to Substation Automation
There are no impediments currently being viewed as major hurdles to implementing substation automation for either new or existing HV and MV substations. Most respondents at the midpoint of the North American study have indicated some mild-to-moderate concerns with eight of the “potential obstacles” listed on the survey form, including security concerns, insufficient staffing levels, lack of funding and not having a solid business case for further substation automation

Substation Construction Plans
North American respondents to date have indicated plans for construction of hundreds of new HV and MV substations in their service areas by 2020. Hundreds more substation are planned for retrofits over the same outlook period. The findings surpass the outlooks of earlier Newton-Evans tracking studies.

Control Logic in RTUs
About 30% of North American respondents to date have indicated some use of control logic in their substation RTUs. Another 14% plan to have control logic integrated into RTUs by 2020. Control logic is currently being used among North American utilities for alarm logic and transfer trip schemes – important for renewables power flows, opening and closing breakers and operation of field devices.
Continue reading Midpoint Of 2017 North American Study Finds Increase In Substation Construction And Retrofit Plans Over 2014 Findings

Posted on

Early Survey Findings Indicate Continuing Growth in Substation Modernization Investment

Substation Data Communications Protocol Usage Continues to Find Heavy Reliance on DNP3 in North America

July 18, 2017, Ellicott City, MD. The Newton-Evans Research Company is well underway with its triennial tracking study of change occurring in the world’s electric power substations entitled: The World Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2017-2020. The study will compare the new round of research findings with several earlier substation modernization tracking studies conducted by the company since 1986. More than 75 large and mid-size North American electric power utilities will be participating in this multi-part study, before the focus turns to surveying the International community of electric power utilities in August.

Newton-Evans Research will estimate and forecast the 2017-2020 outlook for North American spending for substation automation and integration programs. Earlier estimates derived from the similar 2013 study stood at $690 million, with an overall potential North American market size of nearly $10 billion. Global potential spending for substation modernization programs had been estimated at about $38-$40 billion. This amount includes spending for a wide range of intelligent substation-resident equipment and devices and the manpower to undertake the systems integration efforts required.

Preliminary Observations:

  • It is becoming more difficult to separate substation product classifications as equipment manufacturers tout their offerings as “multifunctional” and the product positioning of many intelligent electronic devices now cuts across multiple product classifications.
  • The outlook for increased reliance on commercial services providers working in substation modernization activities remains strongly positive. Third party engineering and integration service firms have continued to make significant strides in winning substation automation-related business, from planning to design to construction and to technical equipment installation.
  • Utility manpower shortages and funding issues continue to negatively impact the ability of technology supplier companies to engage utilities for other than short-term automation requirements. In states and provinces wherein regulators have approved strong incentives for reliability improvements or for transmission line extensions, the spending outlook is robust, despite a lack of clarity in some energy policy development activities of federal U.S. agencies.
  • In general, retrofit substations will be upgraded as warranted during the outlook period, based on regional load growth, load criticality to customers, and related distributed generation and renewables siting developments. New substations will increasingly be designed and constructed as integrated and automated remote assets for the utility. The current study finds the bulk of available substation automation budgets likely to be spent for new substations, with continued emphasis on the bulk power system.
  • The use of encryption techniques for transmission of substation data continues to grow, at least for wide area data exchanges between control centers and substations as evidenced by early survey returns received by Newton-Evans. This continues a long-term pattern of increased use of encryption for sensitive data communications between and among intelligent devices within the substation and from the substation to the control center.

Additional topics being covered in the four-volume series of substation automation studies include in-depth coverage of several data communications topics, vendor security certification requirements, external systems linkages to the substation, preferred equipment suppliers, substation timing requirements, and an assessment of how North America’s electric power substations are positioned along a three-step path to complete automation.

Additional information on the North American substation market report, and the other three reports comprising the four-volume study “Worldwide Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2017-2020” is available from Newton-Evans Research Company, 10176 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 204, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Phone 1-410-465-7316, email: info@newton-evans.com. For a brochure on this series, download our brochure: http://www.newton-evans.com/brochures/2017SSABrochure-June2017.pdf

Posted on

The Year in Summary (2015)

2015 was another busy year for Newton-Evans Research. Some of the studies conducted this past year covered new research topics. While our work was focused on client-commissioned studies, we obtained many insights from operational and engineering perspectives that will assist our research programs in 2016 as we once again conduct our flagship multiclient studies of protection and control, substation modernization, and operational control systems with utilities around the world. For over 30 years Newton-Evans has observed and reported on the fundamental shifts in operational systems and electric power infrastructure technology developments and usage patterns. In 2016, there will be additional changes in usage patterns, plans and outlooks among operational end engineering officials to note, both in North America and internationally.

Continue reading The Year in Summary (2015)

Posted on

Substation Automation 2015-2017 Market Overview Series Now Available

Newton-Evans Research has just finished updating a series of U.S. market overview briefs on fourteen different substation automation market topics, including: Remote Terminal Units, Programmable Logic controllers, Substation Automation Platforms, Multifunction Meters and Recorders, Inter-Utility Revenue Meters, Digital Relays, Digital Fault Recorders, Sequence of Events Recorders, Power Quality Recorders, Substation Reclosers, Substation Automation Integration Specialists, Substation Communications, Substation Voltage Regulators, and Substation Precision Timing Clocks.

Each report provides a list of major market participants and their year-end 2014 revenues and market shares, as well as estimates of product pricing and a U.S. market forecast through 2017. See the sample brochure for more detail.

This series of reports is available for purchase on our reports page

Posted on

Ethernet in the Substation

Excerpts from this 2014 Newton-Evans study of the world market for substation automation show some interesting trends regarding the use of Ethernet networks in substations around North America. Some of these trends include:

  1. Electric utilities in North America are showing increased interest in IEEE 1613 as a requirement for Ethernet switches and routers
  2. Single network without failover is the most frequently used Ethernet LAN architecture, and one of the most planned for Ethernet LAN architectures in substations for year end 2016 (along with “Single network with multiple paths/failover” and “Independent primary devices/network and backup devices/network.”
  3. Roughly half of utilities surveyed do not have redundancy in substation Ethernet networks.

Although this year’s sample reported a much different (lower) average number of ports than had been reported in the 2011 sample, Newton-Evans believe that there will be additional Ethernet ports installed in many North American substations by 2016.

By year end 2013, the majority of North American utilities surveyed reported that their Ethernet ports are secured. This is about the same as what was reported in 2011.

By year-end 2013 the lack of redundancy in Ethernet networks had fallen from 55% to 49%, while 35% reported use of Ring approaches and 18% used STAR approaches to provide redundancy in their Ethernet networks as shown in this chart. There were some differences in Ethernet redundancy based on type and/or size groupings. For example, among public power utilities in the sample, 48% said they use Ring topology for redundancy and only 26% claimed they do not have redundancy in their substation Ethernet.

The new study found predominant use of Rapid Spanning Tree protocol (78%) to provide redundancy in Ethernet networks. This is a significant increase over the 57% of survey respondents reporting such use in the previous study. Use of Hot Standby Router protocol (IEC 62439) was reported by 14% of the subgroup, while 10% were using Parallel Redundancy (also IEC 62439) at year-end 2013.

For more information or to order a copy of “The Worldwide Market for Substation Automation and Integration programs in Electric Utilities: 2014-2016” visit our reports page.

Posted on

Encryption of Substation Communication Protocols On The Rise in North American Electric Utilities

The recent Newton-Evans survey of the Worldwide Market for Substation Automation and Integration programs in Electric Utilities: 2014-2016 reveals the increasing trend in North America of encrypting substation communication protocols. Here are a few facts about this topic:

1) Out of 59 North American electric utilities responding to the survey question, “What protocols do you use within the substation, between substations, and from the substation to the external host or network?” forty-five said they currently use DNP3 (serial) and 28 said they use DNP3 LAN (TCP or UDP) within the substation. For communication from substation to substation, 16 said they use SEL protocols and 21 said they use a version of DNP3. For communication from substations to the external host or network most respondents use a version of DNP3.

2) When asked the follow up question, “Are these protocols encrypted?” sixty-nine percent (41/59) said “No.” This seems like a lot, but the Newton-Evans survey has found that every few years more and more North American utilities are using encryption.

Are substation communication protocols encrypted?
SSA_enr_protocolsNA

3) Utilities were then asked, “If your protocols are encrypted, where do you employ encryption?” a) Inside the substation b) substation to substation c) substation to master (choose all that apply). Of the 15 North American utilities responding to this question, 14 indicated they encrypt protocols from substation to master, while only 3 use encryption within the substation and 2 from substation to substation.

Purchase the full report from our reports page for more detailed information on substation protocol use, encryption, and substation communications.

Posted on

Excerpts from Volume 2 of The World Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2014-2016

The Newton-Evans Research Company has released findings from the International volume (Volume 2) of its newly published four volume research series entitled: The World Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2014-2016. In addition to looking at plans for over 20 types of equipment commonly used in substation-wide automation and integration programs, this 200+page report includes a comprehensive look at the market trends for:

  • choice of communication protocols within and between substations, and from substation to control center
  • wireless devices inside the substation
  • number of Ethernet ports in a substation
  • number of simultaneous wireless connections allowed
  • protocol encryption and redundancy
  • communications architectures and links
  • Time Synchronization methods
  • protective relays
  • outsourcing of substation-related services

Key findings from 5 other recently Newton-Evans studies on substation-related topics accompanies the information gathered in late 2013 from thirty-two global electric power utilities that participated in the latest five-page survey.  A total of 96 unique utilities located in 57 countries around the world participated in one or more sections of the substation modernization study. On average, these international utility officials participated in two or three of the six topical surveys that form this report.

 

Some observations:
Potential obstacles to implementing substation automation and integration for both new and retrofit substations through year-end 2016
Similar to 2011, very few utilities ranked any of the listed “potential obstacles” as a 5. Of all the listed challenged, the two that least stand in the way are “Lack of appropriate communications technology inside the fence” and “Lack of appropriate communications technology substation to master.” Over 60% of respondents ranked these a 1 (“doesn’t stand in our way.”)

For new substations, “security concerns” was rated a 4 by 4 out of 31 respondents, as were “Not enough skilled internal staff” and “Substation equipment vendor community will not have required “open” products and equipment by year end 2016.”

Choice of protocol within the substation, between substations, and from the substation to the external host or network.
Within the substation, international utility respondents cited use of IEC 61850 as well as the variants for IEC 60870-5. Followed by Modbus (serial, LAN and Plus) versions. For the minority of utilities performing any peer-to-peer substations communications, IEC 60870-5 -101 and -104, led in mentions. These were closely followed by SEL mirrored bits, and by DNP 3, Growth in use of IEC 61850 for peer-to-peer communications is planned by this group. IEC 60870 variants were also the most widely used protocols for substation-to-control center communications internationally. Some DNP, common legacy protocols were also being used for substation-to-control center communications.

Additional information on the International substation market report, and the other three reports comprising the four volume study “Worldwide Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities:2014-2016” is available from Newton-Evans Research Company, 10176 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 204, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042.
Phone 1-410-465-7316, write to info@newton-evans.com and see our reports page for more details.

An introductory price of only $1,495.00 for Volume Two is available to new subscribers until March 8, 2014.

Posted on

Excerpts from Volume 1 of The World Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2014-2016

The summaries in the Report Findings section of this report provide top-level views and synopsis of all 77 North American utility respondents combined. In the Data Tables section of the report, survey results are cross-tabulated by size and type of responding utility.

The Newton-Evans 2014 sample for this study represents a total of at least 32,594,000 end-use customers, 2,019 transmission substations and 7,649 distribution substations in the United States and Canada. The sample distribution of North American utilities in this study is similar to previous year studies. About one-fifth of the responding utilities are U.S. Investor-owned, 36% are public power utilities, 32% are cooperatives and 12% of the respondents in the sample are Canadian provincials and municipals.


1. Please rank the significance from 1 to 5 for all of the following listed “potential obstacles” to implementing substation automation and integration for both new and retrofit substations through year-end 2016. Use: “1 = doesn’t stand in our way” to “5 = formidable obstacle.”
Just as in 2011, utilities seem to be least concerned with “lack of appropriate communications technology inside the fence.” For new substations, 69% of respondents said this “doesn’t stand in our way,” and for retrofitted substations, 48% said the same. “Lack of funding” for retrofitted substations seemed to be a potential obstacle, with 51% rating it a 3 or higher. This was also the chief obstacle in 2011, although “security concerns” was rated a 4 or higher by 33% of the same group. The current survey shows only 20%-24% of utilities in the sample rating “security concerns” a 4 or higher.

SSAvol1-non-obstacles

SSAvol1-obstacles

More information on how to order volume 1 or other volumes of this report series is available on our reports page.

Posted on

Newton-Evans Releases First Volume of 2014-2016 Substation Automation Series

The Newton-Evans Research Company has released findings from the North American volume (Volume 1) of its newly published four volume research series entitled: The World Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2014-2016. The new study compares the current round of research findings with several earlier substation modernization tracking studies conducted by the firm. More than 75 large and mid-size North American electric power utilities actively participated in this multi-part study. Investor-owned utilities, public power utilities, cooperatives and Canadian provincials and municipals took part in this complex study involved more than 400 survey data items.

Newton-Evans Research estimates the current mid-range of North American spending for substation automation and integration programs at $690 million, with an overall potential market size of nearly $10 billion. Global potential spending for substation modernization programs is estimated at about $38-$40 billion. This amount includes spending for a wide range of intelligent substation-resident equipment and devices and the manpower to undertake the systems integration efforts required.

Additional Observations:
1) The years 2008-2009 were slow growth years – while the 2010-2013 years provided moderate-to-good growth in most categories of intelligent electronic equipment sales related to the modern, increasingly digital, electric power substation. The pool of funding for substation automation projects increased during 2010-2013 thanks in part to the stimulus funds made available by the U.S. Department of Energy, with most of this amount now spent.

2) Newton-Evans further estimates that only about 12-15% of utility operated substations in North America have been fully automated and integrated by year end 2013. Most of these fully automated installations are in fact being reported as newly or recently constructed transmission voltage substations.

3) It is becoming more difficult to separate substation product classifications as equipment manufacturers tout their offerings as “multifunctional” and the product positioning of many intelligent electronic devices now cuts across multiple product classifications.

4) Most substation equipment manufacturers (mid size and smaller companies) and systems integrators surveyed in the second half of 2013 have indicated moderate-to-good growth market conditions within their addressable utility market segments, resulting in sales that are as much as 10-20% higher than 2010-2012 sales levels. The substation automation market outlook for 2014 is also for moderate to good year-on-year growth, continuing through 2016. Looking ahead to 2014-2016, substation retrofit programs are planned to be undertaken only for the most critical of distribution substations, while new electric power T&D substations will benefit from increased spending for integration and automation.

5) The outlook for increased reliance on commercial services providers working in substation modernization activities is strongly positive. Third party engineering and integration service firms have recently made significant strides in winning substation automation-related business, from planning to design to construction and equipment installation.

6) Utility manpower shortages and funding issues continue to negatively impact the ability of technology supplier companies to engage utilities for other than short-term automation requirements. In states and provinces wherein regulators have approved strong incentives for reliability improvements or for transmission line extensions, the spending outlook is robust.

7) North American utilities continue to strongly support DNP 3, and many have now implemented, or are migrating to, a LAN version of this protocol. This year’s study has found some increase in plans for use of at least some portions of 61850 within a few dozen of North America’s largest utilities. The use of encryption techniques for transmission of substation data is also growing.

8) In summary, retrofit substations will be upgraded as warranted during 2014-2016, based on regional load growth, load criticality to customers, and related distributed generation and renewables siting developments. New substations will increasingly be designed and constructed as integrated and automated remote assets for the utility. The current study finds the bulk of available substation automation budgets likely to be spent for new substations, primarily for transmission substations.

Additional topics being covered in the four volume series of substation automation studies include in-depth coverage of several communications topics, vendor security certification requirements, external systems linkages to the substation, preferred equipment suppliers, substation timing requirements, and an assessment of how North America’s electric power substations are positioned along a three-step path to complete automation.

This newest edition of this flagship Newton-Evans study features excerpts from other recent substation research programs, including precision timing requirements; CAPEX/OPEX outlook; dynamic line rating systems and synchrophasor-related monitoring systems; the expanding role of relay-centric devices and imbedded sensors; and user-reported vendor preferences for 21 specific substation-resident equipment categories.

Additional information on the North American substation market report, and the other three reports comprising the four volume study “Worldwide Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities:2014-2016” is available from Newton-Evans Research Company, 10176 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 204, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042.
Phone 1-410-465-7316, write to info@newton-evans.com and see our reports page for more details.

An introductory price of only $1,495.00 for Volume One is available to new subscribers.

Posted on

Market Trends Digest

A special December 2013 edition of the Newton-Evans Research Company’s Market Trends Digest is now available on our website. This edition looks at some of the studies Newton-Evans has put together in 2013. Also, see some preliminary results from our study of the World Market for Substation Automation & Integration 2014-2016, and read two articles by our CEO Chuck Newton:

1. ASAT and Alstom Grid: One Year Post-Merger
2. Cyber-security: Still Time to Heed the Warning Signals