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Off-Grid Power Supports $770M Remote Sensing Market

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February 07, 2013

Off-Grid Power Supports $770M Remote Sensing Market

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor


Annual worldwide revenue in the remote sensing power market is currently $770 million—and it has the potential to grow to $1.5 billion annually by 2020 under a base scenario, or to $2.3 billion under an optimistic scenario, according to a report released this week by Boulder, Colorado-based Pike Research (News - Alert).

The report, “Off-Grid Power for Remote Sensing Applications,” defines remote sensing as the collection of information by unmanned equipment—and specifically investigates applications for the energy industry including light detection and ranging (LIDAR) for wind power generation; supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) for the oil and gas industries.

In addition, analysts examined remote monitoring using telemetry for environmental applications, which represents a growing market for off-grid power.

These three applications represent a subset of the overall remote sensing market, because they are primarily used in very remote locations, and often required to be autonomous, in terms of power and performance, for as long as one year or more.

The types of sites that are classified as part of the remote sensing market include:

  • River gauging stations
  • Weather stations
  • Remote wildlife monitoring stations
  • Sea level/tsunami monitoring sites
  • Early flood warning sites
  • Earthquake monitoring sites
  • Natural gas pipeline monitoring sites
  • Natural gas wellhead monitoring sites
  • Oil wellhead monitoring sites
  • Flood defense sites

In terms of market size, the number of weather stations, sea level/tsunami monitoring sites, and earthquake monitoring sites tops 37,000 globally. Today, this long-term power supply is offered by renewable energy and alternative sources, such as fuel cells and advanced batteries. Currently, the development of technology is focused on two tracks: trickle-charging the battery to extend its operating life and (in the longer term) replacing the battery.

According to Pike’s research findings, nearly 27,000 remote sensing systems based on renewable and alternative energy will be shipped annually by 2020.

“Off-grid power systems for remote sensing applications are increasingly required to be self-contained, in terms of power and performance, for many months at a time,” explained Pike Research Director, Kerry-Ann Adamson. “While applications include river gauging stations, earthquake and tsunami monitoring sites, and weather stations, the primary end-use is in the oil and gas industry, which frequently pursues exploration and production in more remote environments.” 

In terms of regional deployment, the remote sensing market is growing at a particularly strong pace in Africa and the Middle East, where it’s being used not only by the oil and gas industries, but by environmentalists for monitoring. However, North America will continue to lead the deployment of these devices, due to the support of government agencies in the United States and the growing number of weatherization programs they are sponsoring.

The report examines market drivers and barriers for the use of renewable or alternative energy systems, along with specific factors at work in the oil and gas industry. Market forecasts for unit shipments and for revenue, segmented by application, are provided through 2020.

Edited by Braden Becker

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