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Revenue from distribution automation (DA) systems will grow from $6.3 billion this year to more than $11.3 billion in 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 8.8%, according to a new report from Navigant Research.

In the context of smart grid deployments today, the report says DA refers to intelligent distribution systems that are fully controllable and flexible, and that can help operate the grid more efficiently due to their embedded intelligence. The report adds that lessons learned from smart grid pilots over the last five years are leading to proven reliability improvements and verified grid efficiencies, which in turn, have become powerful drivers for growth in the DA market.

“The global market for distribution automation is diverse, dynamic and growing,” says Kristoffer Torvik, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “As annual utility spending reaches and exceeds $10 billion in the coming years, opportunities will vary significantly by region and application. Although low-voltage applications contribute most significantly to growth in DA, medium-voltage automation constitutes the majority of the overall volume.”

The report says DA technology can play a critical role in outage recovery, delivering the capability to sense and pinpoint faults, reroute power flows through dynamic sectionalizing, and even provide key location information back to line crews to speed repair and recovery. Collectively, the report notes, this type of application is called fault location, isolation, and service restoration (FLISR).

However, Navigant says few distribution feeders in North America currently have such capability, largely because the cost of rollout has traditionally been too high. According to the report, as interest in DA continues to grow, FLISR will be a key application area, particularly in North America and in other regions as well.

For more information on Navigant Research’s report, click here.



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