An analysis on how smart grid can help in meeting India’s energy demand Smart grid is very essential to meet the constantly increasing energy needs and the target of supplying 24/7 power for all by 2022. The country is making several efforts and is active in bringing the best of its solutions out of which smart grid is one solution that is expected to meet the energy demand. It is indeed the need of the hour as it transforms the electricity grid into more reliable grid which also helps in controlling and monitoring the electricity flow. Apart from that it helps in reducing transmission and distribution losses and power thefts making the power supply more reliable.
On the other hand smart grid will also play a major role in government’s key projects such as power for all, infrastructure development, and 100 smart cities. On this note this article will describe about, what smart grid can do for India and how will it help India with uninterrupted power.
Sharing his views on how smart grid can do for India, Vijayan SR, Asst. Vice President, ABB India Ltd says, “The smart grid is a visionary future of the power grid that is made possible through automation solutions on the transmission and distribution system which improve operational and process efficiencies.” He shares some examples of how these smart technologies can help India are by enabling:
Improved reliability: Real-time situational awareness and analysis of the transmission and distribution system can drive improved system operational practices that will make for enhanced reliability. Reduced downtime: Fault location and isolation allow work crew to pinpoint a downed line, and speed up recovery when outages occur. Enhanced power system resilience: Voltage control through reactive power compensation and broader application of power electronics increases transmission capacity of existing lines and improves the resiliency of the power system as a whole. Customer participation: Smart meters allow utility customers to participate in time-of-use pricing programs and have greater control over their energy usage and costs. Renewable integration: Advances in technology ensure grid stability, enabling maximum penetration of renewable into the grid, and micro grids offer access to electricity for weak grids, and remote areas.
While there are a number of applications under the smart grid umbrella, according to Vijayan, the key ones pertinent to the Indian power system’s current challenges of AT&C losses and availability of 24/7 quality power are:
Renewable Integration and Microgrids
Transmission System Automation
SCADA/EMS (Energy Management System) for power flow monitoring and contingency analysis.
PMU (Phasor Measurement Units) and WAMS (Wide Area Monitoring System).
SCADA/DMS/OMS (Distribution/Outage Management System) for faster fault isolation and restoration, volt-var optimisation and outage Management.
AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure).
He adds, “For India, while the main focus at the moment in implementing these projects is to reduce AT&C (Aggregate Technical & Commercial) losses and improve reliability and quality of power, the smart grid will also lay the foundation for many other applications that will revolutionise the grid, with benefit for everyone from power generation, to transmission and distribution to load centres and individual consumers.”
Globally, smart grid technology has been proven across various applications at several projects in all continents. There are several interesting projects for studying the various aspects of the network and unity operations. For example there are interventions in the area of improvement of network reliability and building resilient networks on one hand and enthusing the experience of the utility’s consumer through demand response platforms. The utilities are looking at new solutions in monitoring and controlling the networks and using advanced application software for bringing reliability and predictability in operations.
Explaining the Indian context, Thomas Zimmermann, CEO – Digital Grid, Siemens AG says, “In India distribution networks have seen investments under large Ministry of Power’s programs such as R-APDRP and IPDS. These are initiatives in the right direction which will ensure that strong foundations are laid for advanced smart grid applications. India is well placed to gain from lessons learnt from smart grid project implementations across the world. It is important to have a future ready integrated solution, which takes into account advancements in technologies such as Big Data, Internet of Things and the burgeoning amount of connected devices.”
India also has embarked on an ambitious programme for addition of renewable sources of energy into the grid. This will definitely lead to complex situations for which intelligent smart grid solutions are needed. Further, Zimmermann adds, to manage high AT&C losses, implementation of smart grid solutions like the Energy IP MDMS is quite imperative.”
Countries across APAC region including India are today growing and electrifying quickly which is accelerating the benefits of smart grid thereby spurring the governments in the region to develop smart grid roadmaps and deployment plans. In the recent years, there has been great progress with regards to smart grid deployments especially with Singapore and Malaysia both rolling out over 8 million AMI meters.“With India looking to provide 24×7 electricity to all, it is imperative for us as a country to look at working on several futuristic fronts to find credible solutions to meet energy needs. Smart grids are one of the several aspects of the solution. The viability and cost effectiveness of smart electricity grids in India and electricity grid modernisation are sure shot ways to improve power supply, cut transmission leakages and reduce power thefts,” informs Dr. AS Prasad – General Manager- Product Management and Marketing at Emerson Network Power, India.
He adds, “The Indian government too is working towards leveraging the evolving smart grid technologies with a view to resolving some crucial lacunas in electricity delivery.”
According to Prasad, some of the benefits that India can accrue by deploying smart grids:
Improved reliability: Smart Grids can help Indian power companies reduce operational costs and out of pocket loss that occurs due to loss/theft of power.
Improves economy: Smart Grids also play a crucial role in shoring up India’s GDP as loss /theft of power can result in increased revenues.
Improved efficiency: It will enable smart asset utilisation and reduce the in line losses incurred in both transmission and distribution.
Improved environment: Lastly it will help improve India’s environmental leadership image in the area of improving air quality and reducing carbon footprint.
To cite a recent example, the Puducherry government has announced that it will implement ` 46.11 crore smart grid pilot project in the Union Territory, aimed at bettering power distribution. The highlights of the project would be developing a consumer-utility interactive pilot smart grid which can go a long way in making electricity cost effective for the end consumer. Additionally, the installation of advanced meters would help consumers monitor real time power consumption data and would also enable them to know exact billing at any point of time, thereby enabling a check on energy usage pattern as well as any malpractices or energy theft.