To make smart grid a reality in India

As electricity demands are increasing day by day causing unbalance in the present grid system which results in various causes like load shedding, unbalance voltage etc. which ultimately affects the consumers.

Though government has taken series of steps to increase the generation capacity, it has lagged behind electricity demand and in addition to this, almost 25 -30% generated power is lost due to theft and other technical and non-technical factors. The major part of this loss occurred in the distribution sector, which is most daunting sector due to its complexity, interface with public at large with different needs & expectations. These high losses are neutralizing all other efficiency and improvement initiatives, which are the biggest challenges for distribution sector. The need to improve this sector was realized and step had taken to reduce high transmission & distribution (T&D) losses, control the theft / pilferage and rationalize the tariff.

The adaptation of smart grid offers a potential to revolutionize electricity supply system more effectively. Smart grid is a platform that integrates, monitor and operate electrical system in an automated fashion and provides a better use of existing network with basic automation systems followed by its upgradation. In India, challenges for implementation of smart grid are high transmission & distribution (T&D) losses, power theft, inadequate grid infrastructure, low metering efficiency and lack of awareness. The adoption of smart grid in India is a necessity not a luxury and will have following priorities.

  • Indigenous smart grid model
  • Sustainable development of alternative power sources
  • Power to rural area
  • Control theft / pilferage

Global leadership of India in Information Technology (IT) can be leveraged for smart grid implementation activities. Indian Ministry of power (MOP) had launched Smart Grid Task Force (SGTF) and Smart Grid Forum (SGF) to deploy smart grid technologies in an efficient, cost-effective, innovative and scalable manner. The combined work effort of the Smart Grid Task Force (SGTF) and the Smart Grid Forum (SGF) is divided into 7 functioning workgroups:

  • WG1-Advanced Transmission,
  • WG2- Advanced Distribution,
  • WG3- Communications,
  • WG4- Metering,
  • WG5- Consumption and Load Control,
  • WG6- Policy and Regulation, and
  • WG7- Architecture and Design.

In recent past, the government has taken series of steps to address various issues plauging the energy sector, such as rolling out R-APDRP program in 2004, National Energy Efficiency Mission, however this development are moving at its own pace. IEEE is also working to help with smart grids in India through not only its global expertise, but also focused educational and informational efforts such International Workshop and Tutorial on Smart Grids and Renewables.

Ministry of Power has allocated 14 smart grid pilot projects that will be implemented by state-owned distribution utilities in India. The major work in these 14 pilot projects is implementation of automated metering infrastructure (AMI). The expected outcome is to provide quality service, prevent tampering and unauthorized usage of load, accurate and timely metering and billing, avoiding costly field visits of Sub Engineers for meter reading, reducing supply restoration time, peak load management through load restriction for Remote Disconnection/Reconnection and Time of Day tariff.

Smart Grid has immense potential to transform the entire power sector into the next big technological hotspot.

Smart grid is a multidisciplinary research area especially for electrical engineering, computer science and electronics and a great opportunity for candidates to work on areas like cyber security, indigenous smart meter, sensors, and other relevant technologies. Major players indulged in smart grid implementation in india are below.

Capgemini New Delhi Power Ltd (NDPL) Telvent CISCO Infosys
Hcl Infosystems General Electric Larsen & Toubro IBM Accenture
Ecolibrium Energy Echelon Corporation ABB Kalkitech E- Meter
Kema Mahindra Satyam Tridium Siemens Powergrid
Landys+Gyr  Schneider Electric  Cyan Holding Plc  PowerSystem Operation Corporation Limited

Smart grid implementation at distribution feeder is a rapidly developing field of research. From bibliographic analysis of IEEE Xplore library, it was found researchers have paid a very little attention for smart grid implementation on distribution feeder, which is an alarming situation. Smart grid implementation on feeder will have definitely reduced aggregated technical & commercial (AT&C) loss.

About the Author:

Jagdish Prasad Sharma

Er. Jagdish Prasad Sharma

Er. Jagdish Prasad Sharma is an Ex-Gazetted officer having 11 year’s plus experience in academics and industrial. He has been associated with various industry and training institutes such as Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board (CSEB), Genus Power Infrastructure Limited, Power Management of Institute (PMI) and Sofcon India Pvt. Ltd. His research interests include smart grid, power distribution systems, nature inspired algorithms, modeling and simulation.