Promonique
Promonique
Home » Cover Story » Digital evolution at smart utilities

Digital evolution at smart utilities

February 26, 2024 7:34 pm

Digital evolution at smart utilities
.

The collaborative efforts between government and private sectors drive intelligent and sustainable energy goals amidst persisting challenges like data breaches and meter tampering.

The utility sector in India is embracing digital transition through smart grids, renewables, data analytics, and cybersecurity. Government initiatives like NSGM and RDSS drive this shift, enhancing grid resilience and promoting the integration of renewables. The Smart Meter National Programme and National Smart Grid Mission foster efficiency and consumer empowerment. Cybersecurity measures ensure infrastructure and data protection. Power generation strategies prioritise grid stability for net-zero ambitions. Blockchain technology shows promise in power forecasting and energy transactions, enhancing transparency and efficiency.

Collaborative efforts between government and private sectors drive intelligent and sustainable energy goals amidst persisting challenges like data breaches and meter tampering. The industry leaders are much clearer about the smart future of the utility sector in India. They are working with the government’s vision to prosper regarding energy needs and power security.

Government Initiatives

National Smart Grid Mission: The National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) in India, launched in 2015, aims to modernise the power infrastructure by integrating advanced technologies like smart meters and automation. It focuses on enhancing grid reliability, integrating renewables, empowering consumers, and reducing losses and theft through real-time monitoring and control. Under the Ministry of Power, NSGM collaborates with stakeholders to drive innovation and research in smart grid technologies, facilitating the country’s transition to a resilient and sustainable power grid.

Ripunjay Parekh from Eaton India said that the government is actively promoting energy transition initiatives, focusing on highway electrification to establish a network of smart EV charging systems. Efforts are also underway to automate substations for comprehensive grid monitoring. He said, “There is an emphasis on strengthening the distribution network through RDSS programmes with significant investments directed towards smart metering units and underground cabling, particularly in coastal areas prone to storm-related outages. These initiatives signal a concerted push towards a robust distribution network in India, poised to enhance reliability and resilience.”

Baldev Narang from Clariant Power said that the government is undertaking comprehensive efforts to enhance grid stability and modernise infrastructure to meet evolving energy demands. Regulations are being formulated to support initiatives like integrating battery storage systems and inverters with grid-forming capabilities into new projects. He said, “Investments are being made in transmission facilities to strengthen the grid. The transition to a smart grid is essential to address the rapidly changing energy landscape, where conventional grids may fall short.”

“This smart grid approach enables agility and adaptability, which are crucial for managing the fast-paced developments in the country. The government’s multifaceted approach ensures coordination and coherence across initiatives, aligning to achieve a smarter and more efficient grid system,” he added.

Smart Meter National Programme: The Smart Meter National Programme, spearheaded by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), aimed to deploy 250 million smart meters across India. While this initiative has been superseded by the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS), it laid the foundation for smart metering in the country. Milind Solanki from Ernest and Young said, “Valuable insights gained from this programme informed the creation of standardised bidding documents by the Ministry of Power, facilitating nationwide implementation by Indian Power Distribution utilities. These efforts were pivotal in advancing the adoption of smart metering technology, enhancing energy efficiency, and modernising the power sector infrastructure.”

Cybersecurity and data protection

With the digitalisation of the energy sector, ensuring the security of critical infrastructure and sensitive data is paramount. The government’s emphasis on cybersecurity, particularly in the light of increasing digitisation and interconnectivity, stringent standards and certifications mandate compliance with cybersecurity protocols, safeguarding against potential threats and vulnerabilities.

Pankaj Sethi from Wago India said that as digitalisation in various sectors, including energy, data security becomes paramount, given its strategic importance. Governments are intensifying their focus on cybersecurity within the energy sector, mandating stringent standards for products and networks. He said, “Within India, the SPD outlined standards like IC 62351-3 or 62443-4-2 for any product integrated into the electrical network’s automation system. Compliance extends beyond individual products; companies must also ensure their production processes adhere to these standards.”

He further said, “This global concern for cybersecurity drives manufacturers to adapt, leading to overhaul manufacturing processes and introducing more compliant products. As a result, data protection measures are enforced through government-mandated compliance, ensuring the security of critical infrastructure.”

ADMS implementation readiness

While ADMS implementation is imperative for grid modernisation, readiness varies across utilities. While regulatory frameworks mandate ADMS adoption for designated utilities, challenges regarding automation levels and data quality persist. The need for holistic approaches encompassing GIS integration and vendor collaboration underscores the complexity of ADMS deployment and the importance of comprehensive readiness assessments.

Pankaj Sethi said, “The ADMS implementation is already underway, irrespective of readiness. The RDSS project mandates integrating the ADMS system into networks across cities, classifying them into Class A or B categories. Thus, compliance is no longer optional, and every entity must adopt these systems to operate effectively.”

Milind Solanki said that the readiness for implementing ADMS varies among utilities and is influenced by population size, automation levels, and data quality. While the RDSS framework classifies utilities, the readiness for ADMS implementation depends on factors like population coverage, automation levels in distribution networks, and the state of GIS (Geographic Information System) data. He said, “Currently, the RPDR programme covers cities with populations of 100,000 or more, a decrease from previous thresholds. However, the readiness for ADMS implementation remains subjective, as it involves determining the desired level of automation and addressing challenges such as outdated GIS data and legacy systems. Utilities must evaluate their readiness and consider updating infrastructure and integrating newer products to enhance automation and data quality.”

“Holistic assessment and introspection are crucial for determining readiness and addressing the complexities of ADMS implementation effectively,” he added.

Power generation for net zero ambition

Addressing India’s net-zero ambitions necessitates a multifaceted approach to power generation. The importance of flexible, diverse energy sources and holistic energy pricing models is needed. Aligning policies to prioritise grid stability over minimal cost power and enhancing grid management systems are crucial to achieving ambitious renewable energy targets while maintaining grid reliability.

Venkatesh R from Wartsila India said that managing the resulting imbalances becomes critical in the pursuit of rapidly integrating renewables into our energy systems. Flexible modular solutions are essential, necessitating a shift from viewing individual sources in isolation to considering a holistic energy model. He said, “Prioritising stability over minimal cost power and transitioning from short-term fixes to longer-term strategies is imperative. This requires policy adjustments to ensure all energy sources, even those operating for short durations, contribute to system stability.”

“Enhancing grid management with smarter systems capable of accurate forecasting is vital. Collaboration is key as we work towards ambitious goals like 500 gigawatts by 2030, necessitating diverse solutions and scenarios. This holistic approach ensures sustainability and resilience in our energy transition journey,” he added.

Blockchain technology in power forecasting

Blockchain can facilitate peer-to-peer energy trading and enhance transaction verification in energy markets. Technological advancements, including blockchain, machine learning, and data analytics, are crucial in improving power forecasting accuracy and reducing disruptions.

Milind Solanki shared his views on the potential integration of blockchain technology into energy trading, particularly in India’s evolving market. He said, “With the emergence of software companies offering microgrid solutions and the increasing prominence of peer-to-peer energy trading, blockchain presents an enticing opportunity. This technology could address challenges related to transparency, security, and efficiency in energy transactions.” He further said that as India moves towards market coupling and integrates various exchanges, blockchain’s role in verifying transactions becomes increasingly appealing. “It offers a decentralised approach that aligns with the evolving dynamics of energy production and consumption, particularly with the rise of prosumers. By leveraging blockchain, stakeholders can enhance trust and streamline processes within the energy market. This technological advancement holds the promise of transforming traditional energy trading methods, paving the way for a more reliable and effective system that benefits both suppliers and consumers alike,” he added.

Adding to the comments, Venkatesh R said that data stands as the cornerstone in today’s landscape, akin to oil in previous years. Through sensors and technological enhancements, we have attained a higher level of maturity in prediction and preventive maintenance. “Advancements like blockchain and machine learning are instrumental, bridging us toward minimising disruptions. Data’s pivotal role extends into the future, guiding us as a compass through larger disruptions. Data will continue to be the guiding force in this century, shaping industries and strategies for years to come,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ripunjay Parikh says: “I agree with Venkatesh and our colleague that power demand forecasting is an intriguing subject. With RMUs integrated into substations, we can develop effective forecasting methods to track power movement and generation demand.” He further said that predicting power consumption trends will soon become feasible, enabling utilities to plan their power procurement efficiently from diverse sources. This capability promises to streamline operations and optimise resource utilisation within the power sector.

Overall, facilitating the energy requirements aligning with the digital evolution necessitates effectively implementing smart utilities. And this can only happen with coordinated efforts, innovative solutions, and policy adjustments to ensure sustainability, resilience, and efficiency in the power sector.

Quotes:

Ripunjay Parikh, Director Sales – Power Distribution Eaton India

“There is an emphasis on strengthening the distribution network through RDSS programmes with significant investments directed towards smart metering units and underground cabling, particularly in coastal areas prone to storm-related outages.”

Milind Solanki, Vice President, EY India

“The government efforts were pivotal in advancing the adoption of smart metering technology, enhancing energy efficiency, and modernising the power sector infrastructure.”

Pankaj Sethi, Business Segment Manager – Automation at Wago

“This global concern for cybersecurity drives manufacturers to adapt, leading to overhauling manufacturing processes and introducing more compliant products. As a result, data protection measures are enforced through government-mandated compliance, ensuring the security of critical infrastructure.”

Venkatesh R, Managing Director & Director Energy Business- Wärtsilä India

“Prioritising stability over minimal cost power and transitioning from short-term fixes to longer-term strategies is imperative. This requires policy adjustments to ensure all energy sources, even those operating for short durations, contribute to system stability.”

Baldev Raj Narang, CEO of Clariant Power System Limited

“Investments are being made in transmission facilities to strengthen the grid. The transition to a smart grid is essential to address the rapidly changing energy landscape, where conventional grids may fall short.”

Cookie Consent

We use cookies to personalize your experience. By continuing to visit this website you agree to our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Tags: Cover Story
Power Talk
Webinar
Webinar
Android App
Android App
EPR eMagazine April 2024
EPR eMagazine April 2024
EPR eMagazine April 2024

Events

Middle East Energy Dubai
Middle East Energy Dubai
RenewX India
RenewX India
International Geotechnical Innovation Conference
International Geotechnical Innovation Conference
POWERGEN India
POWERGEN India
EL Asia
EL Asia
Global Energy Digitalisation Conclave
Global Energy Digitalisation Conclave
World battery and energy storage industry expo
World battery and energy storage industry expo
Green Hydrogen Summit
Green Hydrogen Summit
Windergy
Windergy

Our Sponsors

Rayzon Solar Pvt Ltd
Rayzon Solar Pvt Ltd
Doble Engineering
Doble Engineering
Allied Power Solutions
Allied Power Solutions
Nirmal
Nirmal
KEI Industries Limited
KEI Industries Limited
Maco Corporation India Pvt Ltd
Maco Corporation India Pvt Ltd
Meco Instruments Pvt Ltd
Meco Instruments Pvt Ltd
Icon Solar-En Power
Icon Solar-En Power
Novasys
Novasys
Testo India
Testo India
Mecc-Alte India
Mecc-Alte India
Newtech Switchgear
Newtech Switchgear
Triveni Turbine ltd
Triveni Turbine ltd
Aeron Composite Pvt Ltd
Aeron Composite Pvt Ltd
Winsun
Winsun
A-1 ELECTRICALS
A-1 ELECTRICALS
Allied Moulded Enclosure Products
Allied Moulded Enclosure Products
ANUSHREE ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS
ANUSHREE ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS
Ashone Technologies
Ashone Technologies
Citroen Switchgears Pvt. Ltd.
Citroen Switchgears Pvt. Ltd.
Electrotherm
Electrotherm
KVTEK Power Systems
KVTEK Power Systems
MENNEKES Electric India
MENNEKES Electric India
Om Technical Solutions
Om Technical Solutions
PRAMA HIKVISION INDIA
PRAMA HIKVISION INDIA
Motwane Manufacturing
Motwane Manufacturing