Capital expenditures planned for smart grid, infrastructure

Ellicott City, Md., April 4, 2011 Findings from the first quarter 2011 Newton-Evans Research Co. global tracking study of electric power transmission and distribution investment remain positive, comparable with the three earlier tracking studies conducted in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The Newton-Evans announced the publication of its fourth study in the multi-year tracking research program looking into electric power utility CAPEX budgets related to smart grid investments and infrastructure spending plans.

Each of five smart grid component areas, plus transmission and distribution infrastructure development, has been reported by utilities located in 28 countries to more likely be increased or unchanged rather than decreased from the 2010 study. The highest percentages of officials reporting increases were in the areas of automation and energy management systems. (See Figure 1)

O&M budgets reflect a somewhat different story. Most categories of O&M spending were less likely to see an increase from the budgets of a year ago. Distribution appears to be the key victim, with 17 percent of the respondents indicating a lower figure budgeted for 2011 O&M expense for distribution network operations and maintenance activities.

In summary, smart grid initiatives were cited as being more important factors stimulating increased CAPEX investments than was either regulatory mandates. Government stimulus programs are now viewed as much less of a factor on CAPEX and O&M budget increases as had been reported in the three earlier studies.

Likewise, decreases in CAPEX budgets were once again reported to be caused first and foremost by the economic outlook for 2011, a more important regional response factor to the study participants than regulatory mandates. (See Figure 2)

The new 112-page 2011 edition includes information about relative market trends and market size estimates for major smart grid building blocks, including transmission and distribution network control systems, protection and control systems, substation automation and integration, distribution automation and advanced metering infrastructure as well as for transmission and distribution infrastructure.

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