Adaption Of Robots, IoT, And Smart Grids In The Electric Power Transmission, Control, And Distribution Market

20 Mar, 2020

Companies in the electric power transmission, control, and distribution market are increasingly adopting collaborative robot technology to assist in routine tasks and minimize risks. A “cobot” or collaborative robot is a robot designed to assist humans as a guide in any specific task. The use of cobots in energy transmission settings is becoming more common. They can assist power and utility personnel to accomplish routine or dangerous tasks, thereby avoiding risks and accidents, while maintaining operational integrity with human direction. The global demand for drones in the energy industry is expected to reach a market value of $4.47 billion between 2017 and 2025. For instance, Sharper Shape, a leader in automated drone-based asset inspections, partnered with Sterlite Power, an Indian electricity transmission company, to provide drone inspection services by enabling a safe, fast, and efficient method of inspection of utility assets.

Electric power transmission, control and distribution companies are also looking to implement automation to eliminate errors and increase efficiency, through Internet of Things (IoT) enabled monitoring and control equipment. Development in technologies such as Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) is an industrial computer system that monitors and controls a physical process. SCADA is equipped with Remote Terminal Units (RTUs), Intelligent Electronic Device (IEDs), Master Terminal Units (MTUs), iControl, substation and grid SCADA. Such IoT enabled technology helps in increasing efficiency of electric power transmission and distribution located in remote geographical areas. Such systems are mainly used in power grid automation and utilities asset management. For instance, in August 2015, Davinc, a partner of iGrid T&D, prepared a solution based on iControl SCADA and RTU for controlling small and medium size substations located at remote sites. These components of SCADA are used in improvising the use of different communication protocols in order to integrate all the data located in different areas and transmit it to the central sites.

The global electric power transmission, control, and distribution market was valued at around $2,834 billion in 2019, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7% to 2021, driven by the adaption of advanced technologies.

Innovations in grids, especially in grid edges, are creating strong electricity distribution networks which play a pivotal role in integrating and enabling new technologies. Smart grid is an electricity network based on digital technology used to efficiently distribute power to end users. Startup companies are investing in innovating new solutions to make the grids cheaper, more responsive, and reliable. For instance, in June 2017, Enel, an Italian utility company, partnered with Rosseti, a Russian power company, to research and implement energy solutions to improve their smart grid network operations. In 2016, Varentec Utility Company raised $13 million to launch Grid Edge Volt/VAR into the market. These smart grid developments are expected to help in integrating renewable energy sources, controlling voltage, and redirecting current.