Building cities of smartness

“Black & Veatch has world-class capabilities in both large-scale and distributed solar generation, as well as the integration of solar power into the distribution network,” explains G Sathiamoorthy, Country Manager and Managing Director, Black & Veatch India
 Solar power, especially distributed rooftop generation, will have a significant role in providing India’s smart cities with an environmentally sustainable power supply. Then there is smart integrated infrastructure where Black & Veatch keeps the balance among utility plant, transmission networks and metering. In a conversation with EPR, G Sathiamoorthy talks about Black & Veatch’s capabilities to successfully connect assets across and within several utilities.
Smart electricity in smart cityThe heart of any smart city is smart integrated infrastructure: the integrated development and operation of electricity, water and telecommunications services. Smart integrated infrastructure makes these services more reliable. Faults can be resolved with greater speed. Billing is more accurate. Water and energy consumption can be reduced by the use of smart integrated infrastructure. So a smart electricity supply is one that is integrated with services in adjacent fields — water and telecoms — to yield better performance for utilities, communities and the environment than that possible through separate infrastructure systems.
Meeting emerging needs of smart citiesTransmission losses pose a major challenge to attaining the 24/7 electricity supply the government wants for the smart cities. Electricity transmission losses in India are upwards of 25 per cent of the power we generate. Deployment of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to gain detailed, accurate consumption data is a valuable step in tackling these losses. Black & Veatch has developed significant experience in helping utilities plan and execute AMI programmes.Solar power in the form of distributed rooftop generation will have a significant role in providing India’s smart cities with an environmentally sustainable power supply. Distributed generation, such as rooftop solar, can have a profound impact on daily demand curves. Smart integrated infrastructure incorporating with distribution automation can provide an excellent way to integrate power from renewable and traditional sources, by scheduling each energy source to optimise value.
Black & Veatch has world-class capabilities in both large-scale and distributed solar generation, as well as the integration of solar power into the distribution network.
Helping smart city become smarter and sustainableDefinitions for smart city, there are plenty of them, differ around the world. It is worth noting, however, that attributes like those sought by the Indian government in regard to water, power, telecommunications and sustainability are common to most of them. This means that although many attributes may vary, the heart of any smart city is smart integrated infrastructure.The cornerstone of smart integrated infrastructure is the use of telecommunications to connect assets across and within water and power utilities. This supports the automation of treatment works and power stations and the pipes and wires which distribute water and electricity. The automated systems generate data which utilities analyse to help them see the best ways to operate and look after their treatment works and power stations. Data gives rise to knowledge which guides smart actions.
Smart integrated infrastructure helps improve sustainability in many ways. Facilitating the use of renewable energy is one. Utility automation makes generation power and treating water more energy efficient. Distribution automation helps cut the loss of water and power in the transmission system, which reduces demand for water and generation feedstocks. Advanced metering has been shown to cut customer demand, which also lessens the pressure on water resources and generation feedstocks.
Black & Veatch and smart solutionsThrough the design and implementation of smart integrated infrastructure, Black & Veatch’s role begins within utilities’generation and treatment assets. Through utility automation, the company helps make the operation of water and wastewater treatment plants and power stations more efficient. Outside the fence, Black & Veatch has significant experience in increasing the efficiency of water and power transmission, using distribution automation. At the point of supply, its role is in the creation of advanced metering infrastructure.
Across all three of these areas — utility plant, transmission networks and metering — Black & Veatch designs and builds the telecommunications infrastructure to connect assets across and within water and power utilities, as well as design and build utilities’treatment, generation and distribution assets.
Mission ‘100 smart cities’Electricity and water utilities are confronted with common challenges associated with the availability of natural resources, rising costs, regulation and growing customer requirements. One-step government bodies need to consider making utilities ‘smart’ by implementing real-time monitoring and diagnostics to enable enhanced asset management. This is central to the creation of Smart Integrated Infrastructure (SII).
Addressing limited spectrum availability is a prerequisite to the development of SII, and by extension, India’s smart cities. MoUD’s concept note acknowledges that the extensive use of smart devices requires a “sound communications backbone,” so spectrum allocation is an area that has to be managed carefully to allow the smart cities to come to fruition.

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