A “Mature” SCADA Market?
By Alison Fowler, PennWell Research
The U.S. SCADA market is maturing — that is a bold statement, but one that PennWell Research has documented over the past three years. During 1996, PennWell Research conducted a series of research studies focused on automation of electric and water utilities. The electric projects discussed in this article include SCADA and EMS. The water projects include SCADA and process control.
Historically, the electric utility market has been the leader in automation/control system installations, leading both water and gas utilities. This trend began in 1989 when more electric utilities than ever were planning the installation of SCADA/EMS systems. This same surge was not seen in the water utility market until 1992.
As Figure 1 illustrates, the value of electric utility system projects peaked in 1990 with more than $72.3 million being budgeted for SCADA/EMS systems. The total value of planned electric projects decreased more than 50 percent between 1991 and 1996. Figure 2 shows the gradual decrease of the average electric system project budgets from 1990 through 1996.
An analysis of the research collected since 1991 shows that the value of water SCADA projects has decreased along with process control system projects. Figure 3 illustrates the decrease in the value of water SCADA projects between 1991 and 1996. The average project budget for water utilities is also decreasing slightly as seen in Figure 4. The most significant decrease in the average budget happened between 1992 and 1993.
During 1995 and 1996, PennWell Research documented the rise in the number of both electric and water utility SCADA projects at small- and medium-size utilities. As Figure 5 indicates, the majority of water system projects are taking place in utilities with 20,000 to 99,999 customers. The same trend has been identified in the electric utility market. Approximately 43 percent of the projects identified are from utilities between 50 and 199 megawatts as seen in Figure 6.
So what do all of these facts say? Is the market “mature?” According to PennWell Research, the SCADA market is mature. The largest utilities, both electric and water, have systems in place and are budgeting for component replacements, upgrades, etc. This is causing the value of projects and the overall average project budgets to decrease.
Where are the opportunities? Many small- and medium-size utilities are installing new systems for the first time. Even though the projects are on a much smaller scale, the majority of activity in the market, both electric and water, is in this area.