Is the T&D market changing?

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Bas Verhoeven Bas Verhoeven
Director Marketing & Sales KEMA Laboratories

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KEMA Laboratories
Process assessment for the energy industry
KEMA Laboratories conducted a market survey by interviewing over 50 manufacturers active in the global T&D industry. The interviews addressed the global market situation and the position of KEMA Laboratories.
  • Published:
  • Keywords: KEMA Laboratories, Manufacturers, Utilities

A first conclusion is that global market for the T&D sector is “very dynamic and challenging”. The high-voltage circuit-breaker market is relatively slow compared to recent years due to a delay of investments in power grids. For example, the European grids are awaiting what the impact of large scale integration of renewable energy is. Also, the low oil price contributed to the delay in many new build projects in Africa. In contrast, the investments in the Middle East, India, China and also USA are growing or remain at a high level.

A second conclusion of the survey is that the high-voltage T&D market is facing strong price competition due to newcomers on the market. These newcomers are companies looking to export and expand their business beyond the traditional home market which is getting too crowded. A second reason for this price pressure comes from the purchase departments of utilities. Public tender processes tend to commoditize high-voltage circuit-breakers and other components. Often, these tenders have the basic technical requirements of the component and stipulate some general requirements that are needed to prove that the component meets a certain standard. But, if high-voltage circuitbreakers are treated like general commodity components, how do we then evaluate specific technical compliance to the standard?

Quality of a component has a certain price and independent certification as proof that a component really meets the standard is of utmost importance. We must take this into consideration when doing tender evaluation.

A third result from the survey is the dynamics in the market. Long-term planning with foresight and investment considerations have evolved to a start/stop planning approach. These projects can be delayed or put on hold in a blink of the eye.

Investment projects, including larger ones, have the tendency to pop up quickly and require fast completion.

The overall conclusion of the survey is that ‘yes’, the T&D market is changing.

With regard to the KEMA laboratories we received several suggestions to improve and adapt our service portfolio meeting the challenges of this changing T&D market. Better and flexible availability of test slots is a main improvement that we have implemented. Long lead times for test slots are gone and we can meet the industries requirements. Faster reporting time is the next item on the agenda for improvement.

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