IEEE-SA says India lacks collaborative environment to work towards setting standards for Smart Grid

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IEEE-SA says India lacks collaborative environment to work towards setting standards for Smart Grid

Greentech Lead Asia: IEEE-SA is growing its engagement in
India to educate, promote and help evangelize standards interests in India.
IEEE-SA has initiated steps towards engaging India and its professional
technical community with initiatives such as formation of a Standards Interest
Group (SIG) for India that will provide a platform for the Indian technical
community in global standards development, including those for Smart Grid;
outreach programs like Smart Grid workshops deliberating the technical and
economic challenges and the role of standards in the Indian context. Srikanth
Chandrasekaran, chair, IEEE SIG, IEEE Standards Association, talks about
IEEE-SA’s plans in India.

What is the scope of smart grid technologies in India
from a customer’s perspective?

Smart grid in India is playing a very important role.
Smart Grid will help reduce power theft, improve the network efficiency,
consumer efficiency and will be able to utilize disperse energy resources like
wind and solar to its optimum capacity. India wants to reduce power system
losses by introducing the smart grid. The Smart Grid could help address the
issues of tracking energy, where the pockets of consumption are and act like a
petrol car for the electricity grid.  

How would smart grid help solve the challenges associated
with current power distribution system in India?

Smart Grid is not going to be easy task since the Indian
power sector poses a number of barriers such as minimize transmission and
distribution losses, power theft, inadequate grid infrastructure and low
metering efficiency among many others.

 

Minimize transmission and distribution losses:-Voltage
and Volt-ampere reactive Optimization can reduce losses in electricity
transmission and distribution, using real-time information, online system
modeling, optimization software and discrete device controls. The power
industry has reached a stagnation point, hence it needs a complete switch to
the next generation of technology i.e. automation. Moreover, as the technology
is considered premium, its implementation in the Indian industry has been a bit
slower than expected. In spite of the monetary issues, power utilities need to
begin with basic automation systems, eventually upgrading to advanced systems.
Seeing the growing power demand and market competence, this is only the way
forward for the domestic power industry.

What is the estimated size of smart grid market in India
in the next five years? What components of smart grid will make to the top of
this market?

There have been a lot of different numbers for the size
of the smart grid market for India mention in different reports, such as 2
billion to a few 10s of billions of dollars by 2015. In any case, India, in the
last few years has experienced an impressive rate of economic growth. However,
with its electrical grid, India loses money for every unit of electricity sold
because it has one of the weakest electric grids in the world. For India to
continue along its path of aggressive economic growth, it needs to build a
modern intelligent grid. It is only with a reliable, financially secure Smart
Grid that India can provide a stable environment for investments in electric
infrastructure, a prerequisite to fixing the fundamental problems with the
grid. Without this, India will not be able to keep pace with the growing
electricity needs of its cornerstone industries, such as high tech and
telecommunications sectors.

The surge in enthusiasm for Smart Grid in the country is
good and, in fact, a positive, forward looking sign, but if it is not
implemented with discipline and cooperation, it will struggle to even reach
mediocrity. Industry standards are among the most important foundational
elements and form the basis of a “plug-and-play” architecture. Smart Grid needs
standards and practices that integrate intelligent equipment across not just a
network, but across multiple diverse industries.

India is focused on Smart Grid implementation efforts and
is focusing particularly on some of the key areas through the 8 pilot projects
that is driven by the India Smart Grid Forum. The scope of the pilot projects are
in the areas of Residential/Industrial AMI, Peak Load Management, Outage
Management, Power Quality, Micro Grids and Distributed Generation along with
formation of the working groups. Each of these identified areas is extremely
important to the Indian power sector and also key elements of a very successful
Smart grid implementation.

Recently, ISGF has identified two additional working groups in the area of
Cyber Security, and Renewable & Microgrids. Renewable play a very important
& critical role in India’s vision in increasing the overall capacity of
power generation over the next 8-10 years, addressing the gap between demand
& generation. This will also help in managing brown outs and peak demand
through efficient implementation of micro grids.

What policies are required to effectively implement smart
grid in India?

The Government of India has identified distribution
reforms as a key area to bring efficiency and commercial viability into the
power sector. The Government has introduced multiple policies in the Smart Grid
area including establishment of the Smart Grid Task Force, APDRP, Re-structured
Accelerated Power Development and Reform Program (R-APDRP) initiative for
distribution reform, DRUM India – Distribution Reform Upgrade Management in
four pilot sites (North Delhi, Bangalore, Gujarat, Maharashtra), BESCOM project
in Bangalore towards Integration of renewable/distributed energy resources into
grid, KEPCO a $10 billion Smart Grid project in Kerala and others. The
government of India has also announced eight pilot projects to the country. In
short, favorable Government policies/investments and their better
implementation along with customizing successful US and western solutions to
the Indian context can definitely help optimize the development of Smart Grid
in India.

Worldwide smart grid adoption is challenged by lack of
standards. What are the measures adopted by the industry to address these
challenges?

Smart Grid is a strategic area of focus for IEEE
Standards Association (IEEE-SA) globally, and IEEE-SA has more than 100
standards and standards in development relevant to Smart Grid. India is ranked
the third largest market for Smart Grid investments and there is initial
momentum in this area with the formation of the Smart Grid Task Force. But India
lacks a collaborative environment that works towards setting global standards
so that Smart Grid can use interoperable technologies and become a reality
faster, and it is this gap that IEEE-SA aims to address as among the world’s
leading and most credible standards setting bodies. It is critical that India
invests in collaboration and the creation of standards at this initial stage. A
fragmented approach will result in loss of economy of scale and delay in the
emergence of the Smart Grid Industry. With this, IEEE-SA is dedicated to
working with industry professionals and government officials and academia to
work towards the realization of the Smart Grid and as technology and markets
continue to evolve. India will continue to be a focus area for the IEEE-SA as
it engages with other nations.

Without smart grid, India will not be able to keep pace
with the growing needs of its cornerstone industries and will fail to create an
environment for growth of its high technological and telecommunications
sectors. Given the broad spectrum of technologies that will make up the Smart
Grid, a wide variety of industry players such as manufacturers and
power/utility companies see the opportunity to participate. But to prepare for
what could be a monumental market opportunity, they need a collaborative
environment. IEEE-SA provides just such an environment. In addition to
standards development, education and creating awareness is also an important
focus area for us in India. IEEE-SA is focused on increasing its engagement in
fast growing markets like India, more so in the past two years. We have started
raising awareness of our comprehensive standard development capabilities in
India.

What is IEEE-SA’s role in facilitating smart grid
adoption in India?

Industry standards are among the most important
foundational elements and form the basis of a plug-and-work architecture. The
smart grid needs standards and practices that integrate intelligent equipment
across not just a network but multiple diverse industries.

IEEE-SA is actively growing its engagement in India to
educate, promote and help evangelize smart grid standards interests in the
country. We have begun the initial steps towards engaging India and its
professional technical community with initiatives such as formation of a
Standards Interest Group (SIG) for India that will provide a platform for the
Indian technical community in global standards development including those for
the smart grid. Outreach programs like smart grid workshops deliberating the
role of standards and challenges in the Indian context are also being conducted
across cities.

Globally, especially in the U.S., smart metering did not
find wider acceptance. What do you think will be the future of these
technologies in Indian consumer market?

One of the principle components of the Smart Grid is an
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). AMI promises to assist utilities in the
identification of energy theft cases and identify situations where energy is
used but not paid for. AMI replaces the analog meters with computerized systems
that report usage over digital communication interfaces, e.g., phone lines. AMI
provides the necessary communication and control functions needed to implement
critical energy management services such as automatic meter reading, demand
response, fine grained pricing schemes and power quality management. The AMI is
the sensor network of the Grid. It provides the information about energy usage
to utilities, consumers and the Grid itself. Smart meters and communication networks
form the infrastructure required to provide AMI services.

Manufacturers must account for the varying regulatory
requirements of each region, as well as the different functionalities and
services required for different markets. Standards will play a key role in
determining the attributes and operating characteristics of Advanced Metering
Infrastructure.

The issues that smart meter can help address for the
India market are not as critical for some of the other markets around the
globe. Being able to use smart meters to help power thief and accounting
accuracies are more critical for the India then most other countries.  So
the future of these technologies will depend on the priorities that need to be
address.

 

Baburajan Kizhakedath
[email protected]

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