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Four Major Types of Substation Integration Service Providers Account for More than $1 Billion in Annual Revenues

The Newton-Evans Research Company has released additional findings from its newly published four volume research series entitled: The World Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2017-2020.

This report series has observed four major types of professional third-party service providers that assist electric utilities with substation modernization. These firms range from (1) smaller local or regional engineering consultancies with substation engineering resources to (2) major global participants in EPC work, to (3) the engineering services units of manufacturers of substation devices and platforms, to (4) substation integration specialist firms that source and integrate devices from multiple manufacturers for utility and industrial clients. The role of such service providers is growing in importance each year. Global spending for external substation engineering and automation services provided to electric utilities over the 2017-2020 years will likely exceed $4.1 Billion according to the study findings. This is an important segment of the total world market potential for substation modernization that exceeds $45 billion.

2016 Global Share Estimates for Professional Services Providers of Electric Power Substation Integration and Automation Activities

The North American market report (Volume One) includes survey participation from 65 large and midsize US and Canadian electric utilities while the international market report (Volume Two) includes survey participation from 32 unique utilities in 20 countries around the world. In addition to the baseline survey questions, the report includes 2017 substation survey findings on four additional specific topics: communications issues; protective relaying trends; security topics and the CAPEX/OPEX outlook for substation modernization.

Volume Three is the detailed market synopsis and global outlook for substation automation and integration:

  • Section One of the report provides top-level views of substation modernization, automation & integration, and a narrative market synopsis.
  • Section Two provides mid-year 2017 estimates of population, electric power generation capacity, transmission substations and primary MV distribution substations for more than 120 countries in eight world regions. Information on substation related expenditures and spending for protection and control for each major world region and several major countries is also provided.
  • Section Three provides information on NGO funding resources for substation modernization among developing nations.
  • Section Four of this report volume includes North American market share estimates for 2016 shipments of many substation automation-related devices and equipment.

The Supplier Profiles report (Volume Four) provides descriptive information on the substation modernization offerings of more than 90 product and services companies.

For more information about this report series or to order online, visit our reports page.

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Global Outlook for Substation Automation and Integration Continues to Show Impressive Growth

The Newton-Evans Research Company has released a new report on global substation automation markets based on the company’s 2016-2017 world market studies of substation automation and integration activities. The objective of this market outlook report by Newton-Evans Research Company, according to CEO Chuck Newton is “to provide world regional substation modernization market sizing, including country-specific activities for the largest countries in each region. As such, the outlook report complements the survey-based volumes covering North American and International substation automation markets, also completed in November.”

This newest report undertaken by Newton-Evans has been developed using a variety of information sources including:

  1. Reviewing available and ongoing Newton-Evans’ studies of substation automation through the fourth quarter of 2017.
  2. Incorporating data from the Newton-Evans global electric power market model which provides the outlook for substation-related activities and investments based on (1) the estimated number of substations in each of 180+ countries, and (2) Newton-Evans 2017 survey-based findings from utilities, consulting firms and automation systems and equipment providers.
  3. Requests made during 2014-2017 for summary market-related information from major substation automation-related suppliers. Review and updates of supplier profiles for more than 50 specialist firms around the world will be published as Volume Four to the new series.
  4. Review of project data from NGO sources of funding, for investments used primarily (or in part) for substation construction and modernization.

Based on the findings from these various sources and research methods, this new report includes the following sections:

  1. Narrative Summary of Observations for each of eight world regions.
  2. Counts of substations by country for each world region.
  3. Estimates of substation automation-related investments made in each world region and for major countries.
  4. Estimated market shares by world region for supplier groupings by provider type, i.e., specialist substation integration firms; SCADA-related systems integrators; IED manufacturers with substation services business units; T&D engineering services having substation integration expertise; other substation integration service providers
  5. Examples of NGO funded loans and grants used for substation modernization projects in various countries.

The following chart illustrates the estimated total number of HV substations in each world region.

Continue reading Global Outlook for Substation Automation and Integration Continues to Show Impressive Growth

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International Utilities Planning to Expand Investments in Substation Modernization

The Newton-Evans Research Company has released findings from its International market study, the second of four reports collectively titled: “The World Market for Substation Automation and Integration Programs in Electric Utilities: 2017-2020.” The international study compares the current round of research findings with several earlier substation modernization tracking studies conducted by the firm. A total of 90 large and mid-size electric power utilities from 22 countries actively participated in the world market study.

Substation Information Processing Task Handling:
Seventy-two percent of North American respondents indicated that primary substation information processing is either currently handled by a smart RTU or will be by year end 2020. Forty-six percent indicated that a data concentrator handles this task for at least some substations, while 43% said a communications processor is responsible for this activity. Multiple approaches to performing IP tasks inside the substation fence were in use among the larger utilities having scores or hundreds of substations.

In contrast, 59% of international respondents reported use of smart RTUs for handling information processing tasks inside the substation fence. Data concentrators were cited by 47% and PCs by 35%. About one-fourth of the international survey respondents indicated they either currently distribute information processing tasks over multiple platforms or they plan to by year end 2020.

Continue reading International Utilities Planning to Expand Investments in Substation Modernization

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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

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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: For a brochure on this series, download our brochure:

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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)

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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

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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.

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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?

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.

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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 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.