The market for electric insulator is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 7.81% during the forecast period of 2020 – 2025. With rapid integration of renewables and distributed technologies onto the grid, utilities are increasingly upgrading their existing infrastructure. The development of renewable-based power generation is expected to result in the expansion of T&D infrastructure, resulting in an increase in demand for electric insulators over the coming years. However, the increasing adoption of underground cables, over overhead, in the T&D infrastructure, is expected to hinder the growth of the demand for electric insulators, in the long run.
- As of 2018, a significant share of electrical insulators was made up of ceramic/porcelain material. These kinds of insulators are primarily used when the requirement of physical strength is high.
- Africa has an aspirational goal to achieve universal electricity access by 2025, with a strong focus on encouraging clean and renewable energy solutions. To achieve the goal, 160 GW of new generation capacity, 130 million new on-grid connections, 75 million new off-grid connections, and providing 150 million households with access to clean cooking solutions, are required. Therefore, the combined result of universal access to electricity, and the Power Africa program, is expected to create a huge potential for T&D infrastructure development, in turn, increasing opportunities for electric insulator manufacturers.
- Asia-Pacific is estimated to dominate the market across the globe in 2019, with majority of the demand coming from China and India.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Demand for Ceramic/Porcelain Type Insulators
- The Ceramic/porcelain type is expected to dominate the electric insulator market in 2019. Electrical insulators made of ceramic are primarily used in high voltage insulating systems. Furthermore, these insulators can be custom manufactured to be applied in high-temperature resistors.
- The ceramic insulators usually have a higher dielectric constant, which does not vary much with varying temperature, unlike glass, which conducts more electricity at elevated temperatures, i.e., the dielectric constant of glass varies with temperature.
- The demand for ceramic electrical insulators is expected to be driven by the expanding transmission and distribution network, supported by growing energy consumption, penetration of renewables in the global energy mix, among various other factors.
- It is expected that by 2022, the renewable energy capacity growth would be as high as 90%, out of which a significant fraction is likely to come from big utility-scale projects, which, in turn is a positive indicator for the transmission and distribution market, and consequently a bright market outlook for the ceramic electric insulators in the coming years.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market
- Asia-Pacific is expected to dominate the electric insulator market in 2019 and is expected to continue its dominance in the coming years. The demand for electricity in the region is witnessing high growth, owing to the rapid industrialization and urbanization. This, in turn, has resulted in an increment in the power generation capacity and a rapid expansion of transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure in the countries such as China, India, and Japan.
- Chinese power sector has heavily depended on the coal-based power plant in the past, which has led to air pollution in the country. To reduce the dependency on coal, the country eliminated or suspended 65 GW of coal-fired power capacity in 2017, exceeding the national target of 50 GW. It is further planned to eliminate more than 109 GW by the end of 2020 and keep coal-fired power plant capacity below 1100 GW.
- The Chinese government has selected renewable energy and natural gas not only to fill the gap created by the shutdown of coal-based fired power plants, but also to meet the increasing demand for electricity. The development of the renewable sector is expected to continue in the coming years, and China is anticipated to account for more than 40% of the global renewable energy mix by 2022. This is expected to result in the development of T&D infrastructure for the delivery of renewable energy to end-users and hence drive the demand for electrical equipment, such as electric insulators.
- The T&D expenditure in India is witnessing significant growth due to increasing power generation capacity and privatization of distribution sector. In FY17, more than 25,000 ckm (circuit kilometers) of transmission lines had been commissioned, which was 100.9% of the annual target of 23,384 ckm fixed for 2016-17, resulting in huge demand for electric insulators.
- On the other hand, Japan has witnessed significant growth in the EV charging stations, which reached 27,000 mark in the first quarter of 2018, resulting in a significant demand for electric insulators.
- Therefore, factors such as integration of renewable energy sources, expansion of the existing T&D infrastructure and deployment of electric vehicle charging stations are expected to drive the electric insulator market in the region over the forecast period.
The global electric insulator market is fragmented, due to a large number of companies operating in the industry. The key players in this market include ABB Ltd, Siemens AG, General Electric Company, Hubbell Inc. and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.
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