Smart grid sensors: The changing of the guard


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: It has finally happened. New generation fault current indicators (FCIs) are finally cheap enough that the market has hit a turning point. As you'll read in the release below, sales of FCIs and similar sensors will double in just two years.


Even after it doubles the market will still only be a paltry $200 million. But the development is symbolic of similar important changes in related market segments. Here's the dialectic. On one hand, the new sensors typically come from small young companies without a track record and without deep expertise in utility issues. That makes them risky. On the other hand, next-generation sensors are not just way cheaper, they are usually more capable as well. They usually pack more functionality into a smaller package that is (quite often) easier to install. That makes them hard to resist.


Hence the turning point. Prices have dropped and capabilities have risen to the point that utilities simply can't ignore the new gear and the benefits it can bring.


If you already have data coming in from smart meters and IEDs in substations, then you probably already have more than enough data to start doing some amazing things. But if there are still any blind spots, if you still have not instrumented your vulnerable feeder lines, for instance, then now's the time to buy the sensors you need to get a full picture. There's simply no reason you need to fly blind any more. -  By Jesse Berst


Smart Grid Sensor Market Set to Double in Size by 2014


Austin, Texas (May 30, 2013) - The market for smart grid sensors in North America is expected to grow dramatically during the next two years, according to a new study published by IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).


The report, entitled "The North American Market for Smart Grid Sensors - 2013,” shows a major change is occurring in the feeder line sensing market in North America, with emerging technologies being offered 2012 levels, with annual revenue topping $100 million for the first time in 2015.


"The market for feeder line sensors is undergoing radical change now,” said Michael Markides, associate director of the Smart Utility Infrastructure Group at IHS. "Older devices are being replaced by next-generation technologies that are offered by new market entrants. There are numerous takeaways from this, including the continued growth in distribution-level electronic devices, the continued push toward decentralizing grid intelligence and automation, as well as showing the evolving habits and behaviors of utilities in North America as they adopt new technology from a set of new vendors.”