Newton-Evans Research Co. has completed a four-month research study and survey of protective relay usage patterns in the global electric power business. Findings from more than 130 utilities located in more than 40 countries, point to a number of changes in buying patterns and usage trends since the company’s last topical study was completed in late 2006.
The percentage of digital relays in the mix of all protective relays used by utilities continues to increase. More than 50% of all generator and transmission line relays installed in the surveyed North American utilities are now digital units. The vast majority of new and retrofit units being purchased in North America and around the world are also digital relays, but in some of the protection applications studied, such as motor protection and large generator applications, electromechanical and solid state relays continue to have a niche market position.
Additional highlights from the mid-2009 study include the following:
- Worldwide sales of medium voltage and high voltage applications of protective relays currently exceed $1.5 billion. Electric utilities, industrial companies and OEM manufacturers purchase and integrate these devices into grid operations, motor controls and as components of transmission and distribution equipment such as power transformers and switchgear.
- At least five protective relay manufacturers each ship more than $150 million worth of protective relays each year. These firms include ABB, Areva T&D, GE Multilin, SEL Inc. and Siemens Energy. Several additional suppliers have annual shipments of from $25 million to $150 million.
- Electric utilities accounted for about $575-675 million worth of direct purchases of protective relays in 2008. Industrial purchases accounted for at least $350-425 million.
- Electro-Mechanical units continue to account for more than $100 million on a global scale.
- The protection and control market is now being impacted by the global recession, but is expected to rebound by mid-2010, in the views of hundreds of survey respondents to both this study and a separate CAPEX study undertaken by Newton-Evans in June 2009.
The Newton-Evans survey of protection and control officials included more than 20 detailed product functionality and related technical questions, incorporating more than 300 items of information obtained from each of the participating utilities.
The mid-2009 Protection and Control study has been published by Newton-Evans Research Company in a series of four reports. These reports are geared to the planning needs of protective relay suppliers, power industry consultants, and utility protection and control departments. These volumes include the North American Market Study, the International Market Study, Supplier Profiles, and Global Market Assessment and Outlook.