Greentech Lead U.S: Shipments of satellite-based
communications nodes for smart grid applications will more than quadruple by 2020,
growing from 11,500 in 2012 to nearly 48,000 in 2020, according to a new study
from Pike Research.
Applications like substation automation, distribution
automation, advanced metering infrastructure backhaul, network redundancy,
remote monitoring, and mobile workforce applications are all gaining increased
attention from utility managers looking to wring more costs out of their
business models, the report, “Satellite Communications for Smart Grid
Whereas alternative communications options are generally
more practical and cost-effective for home area network and neighborhood area
network smart grid applications, in the situations mentioned above, satellite
communications is an increasingly viable and, at times, the only alternative. This
will lead to steady growth in the market for utility satellite communications.
“In order to bring smart grid functionality and all of
its benefits to sparsely populated geographies, satellite communications
represent a clear path forward,” says research director Carol Stimmel. “What’s
more, as a non-terrestrial-based network, satellite communications may be the
only solution to keep the grid connected or bring it back online rapidly in
cases of natural (or manmade) disasters.”
“Looking ahead, as satellite technology advances and
emerging markets bring electric service to underserved areas, satellite appears
to be well-positioned to play a growing role,” Stimmel added.
Satellite communications will play a key enabling role in
not only the expansion of the smart grid but also the spread of renewable
distributed generation facilities, according to the report. Integrating the
growing number of wind and solar microgrid sites into utilities’ overall
communications networks often means reaching remote, rural areas.
Satellite communications’ ubiquitous coverage and
relatively low equipment costs allow utilities to attach these sites to their
communications network quickly and inexpensively.