The introduction of smart grid has significantly transformed transmission and distribution system in electrical grid. Smart grid has been constantly instrumental in increasing the operational efficiencies of utility providers, reduce transmission and distribution losses, and improve interoperability of various components involved in the managing of an electric grid. The advent of distributed generation of energy and the increasing deployment on renewable power generation have boosted the smart grid market. Concerted efforts by utility providers to incorporate substation automation are offering a constant impetus to the adoption of smart grid technologies. An ageing grid infrastructure has led governments of several developing and developed countries to take sustained initiatives to modernize electric grid.

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Substantial investments by public and private players have further provided the needed push to the development of smart grid. The mounting concern of soaring carbon emissions has stimulated various governments to develop grid infrastructure for an increased access to clean, renewable sources of energy, especially through distributed sources of energy. The inclusion of smart meters and other proactive voltage monitoring devices by the end users has further increased the capability of smart grids. Witnessing ample opportunities due to the above factors, the market is expected to reach a valuation of US$118.1 bn by 2019. The global market for smart grids market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 18.20% during 2013–2019.

Which is the most prominent technology segment to witness lucrative opportunities for smart grids?

The major technologies used in the smart grid infrastructure are advanced metering infrastructure, cyber security, distribution automation, software and hardware, transmission upgrades, and communication technologies. Of these, transmission upgrades technology is the leading segment. The development of smart grid for upgrading transmission system is mainly driven by automation in substation infrastructure, advancements in distribution transformers, and improvements in electric energy conversion chain. Technology upgrades segment occupies a significant market share in 2016. Constant developments in improving interstate utility transmission and distribution networks are expected to boost the market in the coming years, which is a crucial factor for the dominance of the segment.

The adoption of sensor and smart metering technology provides an interactive interface between end consumers and utility providers. Honeywell International Inc., a U.S.-based multination company announced in May that it intends to provide three utility providers in the U.S. with managed smart services. These subscription services will simplify various technical aspects of smart grid implementation and help smaller power providers with constrained IT budgets to realize the benefits of advanced metering infrastructure. These service providers are municipal utilities in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; St. John, Kansas; and Yakama Power in Toppenish, Washington. The services includes Honeywell-managed smart grid software and will help these utility providers reduce their operating expenses, improve their billing, and less number of outages.

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Which geographic regions are anticipated to offer lucrative market avenues?

Geographically, Asia Pacific is the major market smart grids. The substantial growth of this regional market is driven by sustained grid modernization initiatives by governments in several developing and developed nations in view of ageing grid infrastructure. The pressing need for reducing transmission and distribution loss and for enhancing operational efficiencies of utility companies are key factors expected to accentuate the regional market growth. The Asia Pacific market for smart grids is anticipated to account for 47% by the end of 2019 and a major chunk of demand will come from China. In addition, initiatives to curb carbon emissions in countries such as Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and India are further expected to catalyze the Asia Pacific market growth. North America, led by the U.S., is expected to trail behind Asia Pacific. The impressive growth of the regional market is attributed to the adoption of cutting-edge technologies in making electric grids more efficient and resilient.

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