Smart grid market continues to accelerate
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Smart grid market continues to accelerate

Smart grid technologies are among the most important advancements in today's utilities industry. With the help of these solutions, companies may be able to improve their environmental impact, and they can potentially better serve loyal customers as well. To that end, it is no surprise that more energy companies are expecting to deploy smart grids as a critical part of their IT planning strategies. 

Increased implementation
According to a new study by Navigant Research, the worldwide adoption of smart grid technologies is poised to explode within the coming years. The report revealed that by 2020, the global market for these solutions will more than double, reaching $73 billion in annual revenues compared to $33 billion just last year. The cumulative revenue for these IT tools is forecast to total a staggering $461 billion between 2013 and 2020.

The research firm pointed out that some types of solutions will experience greater growth than others. Navigant forecast that transmissions upgrades will account for nearly $250 million in revenue over the next seven years, equaling more than half of the market for smart grid tools.

"Smart grid technologies improve the reliability and efficiency of the power grid via the application of modern IT capabilities alongside or in place of existing utility assets and networks," said Bob Lockhart, research director with Navigant Research. "However, the term 'smart grid' has been overused to the point of losing its meaning.  A more precise definition includes five key applications: transmission upgrades, substation automation, distribution automation, smart grid information and operations technology, and smart metering."

Smart Grid News recently noted that another type of IT solution becoming increasingly important in the realm of smart grid technologies is big data analytics. The source noted that as such, business analytics leader SAS has developed a new offering, SAS Energy Forecasting, to address utilities' need to provide better service through more accurate and efficient forecasting.

The news provider pointed out that having the right load forecasting tools is a critical part of being able to gauge short-term and long-term demand, which ultimately aids utilities in reducing cost to customers and boosting the level of service they receive. One reason IT is becoming more critical to achieving these results is that there are now more methods of producing energy than ever before. For instance, utilities must now account for wind and solar power generation in addition to more traditional sources. Without the right technologies on hand, forecasting accurately is time-consuming and prone to errors.

David Hamilton, manager of load forecasting for Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, told the source that using SAS's solutions, the company was able to save customers millions of dollars within the first year of adoption. He explained that part of the reason behind this success is that by leveraging the utilities' large volumes of data, the organization was able to more efficiently react to changing conditions without needing to hire extra staff.

As smart grid solutions become more advanced, more enterprises are sure to include them in their information technology implementation plans.