U.S. smart grid expenditures have been compromised largely of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI ) projects over the past five years. However, many utilities are now eager to fully optimize their systems with grid automation projects, which will allow them to fully realize the promise of the smart grid. Grid automation will create a much more reliable and efficient grid, enable optimization of thousands of grid-connected devices and distributed generation sources, and allow for faster outage recovery times.
Federal smart grid deployment targets, renewable portfolio standards, and the need to increase grid reliability have driven U.S. grid automation. However, as electricity markets open up in the U.S., grid automation projects will also be driven by a strong need to increase electric provider customer satisfaction.
As U.S. utilities embrace global standards such as IEC 61850, vendors with field proven grid analytics, advanced DMS, sensors, IEDs, and FLISR solutions will be best positioned in the market. The long-term result of such investments in grid automation will result in a significantly more reliable and efficient grid, higher utility customer satisfaction, and lower energy bills.
The major findings in this report show that a large majority of U.S. utilities are ready to take up the task of building a grid that meets the needs of tomorrow’s Connected Economy. However, utilities will need strong support from industry stakeholders (vendors, integrators, regulators, etc.) and electric customers to meet this goal.