Study Explores Current State of Distribution Automation and Electric Utilities’ Plans for Deploying DA Technologies
AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 17, 2018 — Electric utilities agree on the importance of distribution automation (DA) solutions to maximize their operations and plans for an evolving grid architecture; however, the execution of the roadmaps and investment approaches to modernize their grid infrastructures varies from utility to utility according to a white paper released this week by Zpryme, an Austin-based research company. The white paper, prepared in conjunction with Aclara, a leader in smart infrastructure solutions worldwide, examines the current state of distribution automation systems among 160 North American utilities, looks at current and future plans for deploying DA technologies, and offers guidance to utilities seeking a path forward.
“Today and Tomorrow: The Distribution Automation Ecosystem” delves into the data that tells a story of an evolving energy space where DA will play a large role. At the same time, it also indicates that many utilities are unsure about the best way to move forward. While nearly every utility surveyed (94%) reported some interface with DA, the data shows an array of approaches. For example, 27% of utilities surveyed are focusing on implementing a single DA application such as voltage management or fault location, isolation and service restoration (FLISR), while nearly a third (30%) are deploying multiple non-integrated applications simultaneously. Only 28% have a plan for large-scale, fully-integrated deployment.
Revealing that it is common for utilities to use specific technologies for individual applications leading to solutions that are not integrated, the paper advocates for developing a more comprehensive and holistic plan to achieve a better functioning DA ecosystem.
“It is evident from this research that utilities are seeking partners who can help them execute a comprehensive integrated DA strategy,” said Kumi Premathilake, Senior Vice President, Advanced Metering Infrastructure for Aclara. “Because of our broad view and experience, solutions providers like Aclara have a unique opportunity to offer a consultative, ‘best practices’ perspective to utilities planning for DA, looking at the big picture and not simply selling multiple point solutions.”
“As DERs, energy storage, microgrids, and EVs grow in adoption, maintaining high reliability is critical to building a cleaner and more robust energy system. In fact, the study finds that the vast majority of utilities see the increasing importance of DER integration for DA initiatives over the next three to five years. This white paper offers a valuable resource for utilities by providing information about which technologies are being leveraged for what purposes, and what utilities gain from the technologies,” said Zpryme CEO Jason Rodriguez.
As distribution networks continue to grow and digitize, DA will become an increasingly valuable tool for managing and future-proofing them and transitioning to more automated systems. Download the paper at: https://etsinsights.com/reports/today-and-tomorrow-the-distribution-automation-ecosystem/
Residing in Austin, Texas, Zpryme is a research-based firm with services focused on energy. Based on the creative direction of our associates we produce ETS, influential research, and premium branding experiences that challenge the status quo.