ARC says Smart Maintenance Technology market is growing in power industry

ARC says Smart Maintenance Technology market is growing in power industry
March 29, 2010 - The Smart Maintenance Technology (SMT) solutions market for Power T&D is arguably in its formative stages as power grid operators come to appreciate the benefits of asset management technology and improved maintenance practices for grid reliability. According to a new ARC Advisory Group study, the market is poised for strong growth in coming years as a number of factors converge to drive adoption of SMT solutions, including increased demand for electricity, the proliferation of the Smart Grid, and the aging of both the power infrastructure and utility workforce.

The huge investments pouring into the electric grid infrastructure provide an economical opportunity for power grid owner/operators to include an asset condition monitoring infrastructure from the onset of these projects. This will fundamentally change the way that grid assets are managed and maintained. “With smarter electric grids, operators will be able to take a more proactive role to ensure the seamless flow of power. Smart maintenance technology solutions will enable operators to identify problems quickly, preventing equipment failures and subsequent power outages,” according to Analyst Allen Avery, the principal author of ARC’s “Smart Maintenance Technology Solutions for Power T&D Worldwide Outlook.”

Increased Energy Demand Pushing Grid to Its Limit
The rising demand for electricity in North America continues to strain the aging electricity infrastructure in both the US and Canada, with more businesses and homeowners struggling with surges, outages, and weather-related power losses. While demand rises, fewer new generating plants are being built, and utilities are pushing the electric grid to its capacity and beyond. Keeping the grid operating smoothly and reliability has become more difficult than ever as the industry is forced to grapple with the aging, less reliable infrastructure, and an aging workforce that is approaching retirement.

Aging Power Grid Needs Closer Monitoring
The average age of equipment on the grid in North America is between 40 and 50 years old, and much of it on the distribution segment, has little or no automation, particularly in remote areas. By some estimates, more than half of the installed transformers are nearing the end of their operation lives, or have already exceeded them. Effective SMT solutions could allow utilities to prolong the lives of their transformers by keeping them operating within safe tolerances that do not push them beyond their limits.

North America Will Lead SMT Growth
The North American market is arguably the most fertile ground for SMT installations in coming years, as owner/operators deploy asset management technologies to help optimize the performance and the equipment life of their aging electrical grids, and as part of their smart grid initiatives, which are experiencing meteoric growth. The addition of alternative energy and power storage resources to the grid adds to the complexity of balancing power loads, and will drive adoption of asset management solutions and performance management of its networks.

About ARC: Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is the leading research and advisory firm for industry. Our coverage of technology from business systems to product and asset lifecycle management, supply chain management, operations management, and automation systems makes us the go-to firm for business and IT executives around the world. For the complex business issues facing organizations today, our analysts have the industry knowledge and first-hand experience to help our clients find the best answers.