Smart Energy for the Smarter World

Surjit

Smart Energy for the Smarter World

Introduction:

Energy and food security are key concerns of every
nation. While India’s 160GW of installed power generation capacity needs to
augumented at rate of 7% per annum to reach around 1300GW by 2052 to meet its
growth needs, its absolutely imperitive to improve distribution efficiency and
facilitate distributed energy generation via cleantech to reduce the
environmental impact as we march towards this goal. This article attempts to
envision India’s smart energy roadmap of harnessing power by the people,
providing it to the people and generating a new electron economy for the
people.

Phase
1: Smart Grid Technologies Enablement

smart
grid
 delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital
technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability. Such a
modernized electricity network is being promoted by many governments as a way
of addressing energy independence or global warming issues. The “Smart Grid” is
often described as the platform for “Electricity Internet” .This platform
consists of Internet technology and power systems mgmt
/ distribution. Put simply Smart Grid Technologies consists of  electrical power delivered from energy
producer/utilities  to consumer +
omnidirectional communications between producer and consumer + application
related IT. Smart Energy is all about right sourcing of energy using Smart Grid
Technologies. Once we have the core platform in place we could runs “apps” such
as Matching power generation with demand , Maximizing Integration of renewable
energy , Automated Metering Intrastructure enabling utilities to periodically
read consumer energy consumption data and 
provide differntiated service to consumer, incorporate variable Time of
Use pricing.  The consumer on the other
hand using “apps” could track energy consumption analytics similar to tracking
mobile bill or credit card usage online and gets motivated to control wasteful
energy consumption. Renewable energy such as PV(Solar), Wind, Biogas generated
by end consumers could be fed into the grid – aggregate sum of which would be
huge. This would lead to democratization of tools needed for power generation –
not limited to Utilities alone

Phase
2: Government Incentives & 
Standardization

Government Incentives would be a key catalytst in
augumenting the growth and adoption of smart grid technologies. In US, Obama
administration has commited nearly $16 billion in federal grants towards smart
grid initiatives which are utility modernization centric. In addtion, local
administrations in states/counties provide varied incentive schemes for energy
efficiency initiatives. UK is moving towards smart metering adoption goal by
2020 covering 26 million electricity meters and 23 million gas meters. In UK,
energy consumers are directly incentivated via soft loans & grants for
implementing energy efficiency initiatives such as solar / wind power
generation, incorporating energy efficient heating and cooling. These
government initiatives helps in lowering the return of investment and motivates
energy consumers to undertake investments related to smart energy initiatives.
Without significant government incentive smart grid initiatives would not get
much tailwind.

Phase
3: Smart Grid Ecosystem Evolution – New Electron Economy

Think
of state of internet as it existed in mid to late 1990’s. Once could not
imagine killer apps such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, You Tube
etc  at that time. Common users connected
to internet using slow dial up connections to see static html pages. Evolution
of  internet platforms and broadband
communication fuelled by exponential growth in user base led to evolution of
killer apps serving various latent and unserved needs.

Similar
to internet evolution one could imagine that the Smart grid platform would
create a local and global ecosystem of smart grid vendors providing products
and services at different layers to energy producers and consumers alike.
Energy Consumers in  Smart Grid ecosystem
would be generating energy on their own and freely trading it based on demand
and supply, they would be smartly consuming optimum energy at the right time
for the right price using smart applicances.There would be new age of energy
aggregation companies who would be partnering with small/retail energy
producers to form a large virtual utility companies – something closely
resembling mutual fund companies in BFSI sector.  We would see large organizations which have
currently nothing to do with Energy 
transforming themselves into energy companies. Possibilites of derative
opportunities and differntiated service offerings are endless and is directly
dependent on evolution of smart grid platform and its adoption by energy
consumers

Surjit Lahiri

Vice President, Projects , Mindteck
(India)Ltd

[email protected]