Deregulation Promotes Continued Growth Around the World

Deregulation Promotes Continued Growth Around the World

By Shannon Parsons, PennWell Research

It wasn`t too long ago that vendors were trying, unsuccessfully, to tap into other countries` markets. Due to government regulations and legalities, supplying goods to certain foreign countries has been all but impossible. However, within the last decade countries have started opening their eyes and their markets to foreign investors and vendors. Through these changes, utilities have seen an emergence of foreign investors and vendors seizing opportunities in their countries. Furthermore, these opportunities have been mutually beneficial, allowing for economic growth, introduction of enhanced technologies and strengthened communications.

Country after country is continuing to realize the benefits offered from sharing technology, which is evident in European and Asia/Pacific Rim electric industries. PennWell Research conducted a study between March 1997 and June 1997, identifying European electric utilities planning to purchase new or replacement distribution automation management systems (DMS) within the next three years. Another study was conducted between April 1997 and July 1997 to gather the same information from Asia/Pacific Rim electric utilities. Budgets given in foreign currencies have been converted to U.S. dollars.

DMS, as defined by PennWell Research, is the overall management of the distribution system. This involves control and monitoring functions from the substation to the end-use devices. Various utility information systems are integrated to improve overall operation efficiency. These technologies include, but are not limited to, distribution automation, load management, customer information systems (CIS) and geographic information systems (GIS).

According to the “European Electric Utility DMS Market Data Report,” published in June 1997, European electric utilities are planning 27 distribution automation projects. As Figure 1 shows, these projects are estimated to cost almost $31 million. Figure 2 illustrates findings from the “Asia/Pacific Rim Electric Utility DMS Market Data Report,” which was published in July 1997. The figure represents 16 distribution automation projects valued at more than $35 million. In comparison, Europe has the greatest number of planned projects while Asia/Pacific Rim has the greatest dollar value.

Asia/Pacific Rim region utilities plan to implement 11 load management projects valued at more than $5 million. These projects are broken down in Figure 3 by cost categories. Two projects account for $3,132,000 (62 percent of the total amount budgeted) in the “$1,500,000 and More” category. The “Less than $200,000” category represents 4 projects worth $91,000 (2 percent of the total amount budgeted). It is worth noting that the projects for the Asia/Pacific Rim region tend to have high dollar values.

Fourteen load management projects with an estimated worth of $4,459,000 are broken down in Figure 4 by peak load. The “1,000 MW and More” and “Less than 100 MW” categories contain 4 projects each, representing 29 percent of the total. The “250 to 499 MW” category follows closely with 3 projects (21 percent of the total). The smallest number of projects falls into the “100 to 249 MW” category with 1 project (7 percent of the total).

European CIS projects, measured by peak load, include 22 projects valued at $1,883,000. As Figure 5 illustrates, the most strongly represented is the “Less than 100 MW” category with eight projects (36 percent of the total). The five projects in the “1,000 and more” group are worth $984,000 and account for 23 percent of the total number of projects and comprise 52 percent of the total amount budgeted. Figure 6 represents 19 Asia/Pacific Rim region GIS projects valued at $15,077,000. The “Less than $200,000” category represents eight projects (42 percent of the total number of projects), while accounting for only 3 percent of the total amount budgeted–$395,000. Following closely is the “$500,000 to $999,999” category with five projects (26 percent of the total number of projects) valued at $3,072,000. The “$1,000,000 to $3,999,999” category reflects only three projects, but makes up the largest dollar amount budgeted with $7,042,000.

The findings of both studies illustrate that sharing technology and opening the door to new ideas and information can lead to increased benefits in the long run.

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