Based on a recently issued report with possibly the longest title ever, "Digital Substation Market by Module (Hardware, Fiber Optic Communication Network, and SCADA), Type (Transmission and Distribution Substation), Voltage (Up to 220 kV, 220-550 kV, and above 550 kV), Industry, and Region - Global Forecast to 2023," from MarketsandMarkets, the digital substation market is expected to grow from $6.32 Billion in 2017 to $9.96 billion by 2023. The growth rate of 7.87% during the researched period indicates the growth in demand is likely due to increased demand for electricity in some markets and the need to replace aging infrastructure.
According to MarketsandMarkets, system hardware is expected to represent the largest portion of the market growth. Hardware for the purposes of this research report includes transformers, bus bars, protection devices and interfacing units. Major players in the digital substation market include ABB Group , General Electric, Siemens, Schneider Electric and Cisco Systems. In order to see the details behind the curtain of this report announcement, one will have to pony up for the full B2B research report.
The uptick in interest regarding digital substation adoption is not surprising given the now established benefits of more efficient design, procurement, construction and commissioning as well as significant improvements in safety and greater reliability. Digital installations also help utilities realize the maximum benefits from other parts of a digitalized electric system. The digital substation hardware market is projected to lead for the next few years, but it is not much of a stretch to anticipate that digital system software will quickly catch up. Below are a few examples of why.
Digital substation automation systems can actually analyze information, in real time, not only from the primary process but from every secondary or auxiliary device in the substation. This facilitates the use of software systems that provide greater situational awareness, allows equipment prediction via status estimation algorithms and ensures continuous optimization of all substation functions.
Consider GE’s groundbreaking DS Agile control system which uses collected data and statistic models to build a computerized model of equipment or even the entire substation. GE’s interactive software model dubbed a digital twin allows the operator to develop baselines for healthy performance, to move from business as usual operation to predictive maintenance solutions which translate into improved asset performance and increased substation life. See https://www.gegridsolutions.com/press/gepress/digital-substation-ups-its-game.htm for information on the Digital Twin.
Software innovations for digital substations do not end at the substation boundary. Digital implementation at the station and process level creates a pathway to a whole new level of system automation and control. ABB offers the Asset Health Center solution for fleet condition monitoring of transformers and other key substation equipment (see http://new.abb.com/enterprise-software/asset-optimization-management/asset-health-center). ABB’s SDM600 System data manager provides a comprehensive software solution for automatic management of service and cyber security relevant data across substations. It provides disturbance record handling, cyber security management and maintenance and service data management.
Taking the next step in digital integration, the ABB Ability Connected Asset Lifecycle Management system can be used to provide asset performance management, enterprise asset management and even workforce management. The system can alert a mobile workforce if a piece of equipment exceeds its normal operating parameters, prioritize various work requests and even provide documentation for completed work orders.
No one knows the future, but if the rate of innovation and integration of digital technology in our world continues at the pace we are experiencing today, the current projection for the digital substation market, both hardware and software, may be grossly understated. We’ll see…