The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by rising energy demand, renewable integration, and the need for grid stability and resilience, automation of networks, reduction in operational costs and optimal distribution of power network traffic, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. In the last three years alone, there have been over 656,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in power: SON power optimization. Buy the report here.
However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.
40+ innovations will shape the power industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 70,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, variable speed gas turbines is disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Perovskite photoactive layering, power distribution control system, and CAES gas turbines are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are geothermal heat pumps and prepaid electricity metering, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the power industry
SON power optimization is a key innovation area in power
Self-organizing networks power optimization refers to automation of network tasks that includes operation, optimization and configuration of power network traffic. It facilitates self-optimization, self-configuration and self-protection to deliver an optimum load-balancing network.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of SON power optimization.
Key players in SON power optimization – a disruptive innovation in the power industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to SON power optimization
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Alphabet||148||Unlock Company Profile|
|State Grid Corporation of China||134||Unlock Company Profile|
|Itron||91||Unlock Company Profile|
|State Grid Information and Telecommunication||26||Unlock Company Profile|
|Qualcomm||25||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Southern Power Grid||23||Unlock Company Profile|
|Emerson Electric||19||Unlock Company Profile|
|Schneider Electric||17||Unlock Company Profile|
|Koninklijke Philips||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|ABB||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Korea Electric Power||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|AES||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Trilliant Networks||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Furukawa||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nanjing Power Supply Company Of Jiangsu Electric Power||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Honeywell International||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|BAE Systems||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Toshiba||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Eaton||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Veniam||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|International Business Machines||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|NARI Group||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mueller Water Products||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|SolarOne Solutions||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Neul||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|LG||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Information and Communication Univerity Research and Industrial Cooperation Group||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|McWane Technology||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|State Grid Hebei Electric Power Supply||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|China General Nuclear Power||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Eta Vision||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hengan International Group||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Beijing Smartchip Microelectronics Technology||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Huawei Investment & Holding||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Solum||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Motorola Solutions||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|MeshPlusPlus||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Signify||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hangzhou Electric Equipment Manufacturing||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Wenzhou Electric Power Supply Company Of State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenyang Power Supply Co of State Grid Liaoning Electric Power||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Gree Electric Appliances||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nanjing Nari Information Communication Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenzhen Comtop Information Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenzhen Shengda Machinery Design||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Jiangsu Electric Power Information Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenzhen Yixin Intelligent Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Suzhou Maiqijie Intelligent Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
State Grid Corporation of China, Alphabet, ABB, Eaton, Itron, and Emerson Electric are among the key patent filers in SON power optimization.
ABB’s portfolio of automation and digitization delivers increased quality, accuracy, and precision to processes across industries. ABB offers products in automation, integrated automation and electrical solutions, energy management and advance process control, excitation and synchronization system, and power plant and fleet optimization.
Meanwhile, Emerson Electric’s automation portfolio delivers intelligent field devices, control systems, and software capabilities. The digital transformation solution provides better control, increased utilization, fewer breakdowns, and real-time process analysis.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.