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Is it time for India's power grid to get smarter?

Posted: 03 Nov 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart grid  power  energy  India 

Energy security and low carbon-based fuel usage, along with the desire to achieve sustained economic growth, lay at the heart of our energy future. Recently, India has been ramping up efforts to increase its renewable power generation, coinciding with the government's push for the use of clean energy.

Pursuing aggressive renewable generation programmes alone is already a strong driver for smart grid investments in the country, since it is only by infusing intelligence into the grid that distributed renewable generation can be integrated into the power system. But smart systems are now being considered on a larger scale as a solution for generating the capacity required to power the homes of some 306 million people, according to the International Energy Agency.

Our power system—among the five largest in the world—has a total of 249GW installed capacity, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. Yet 25 per cent of the country's population still lives in the dark, and our per capita consumption is only about one-fourth of the world average. So where did we go wrong?

Avanthika Satheesh

"The Indian grid issues arise mainly due to supply-demand imbalance and reliability issues," said Avanthika Satheesh, Energy and Environment Practice senior research analyst at Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific. "In spite of having abundant renewable resources, the grid is not capable of handling the extra power."

To address the challenges to smart grid deployment, the Ministry of Power (MoP) convened an inter-ministerial committee—the India Smart Grid Task Force (ISGTF)—and a public-private partnership initiative—the India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF)—in 2010.

One of the main tasks that both agencies undertake is to advise MoP in formulating a comprehensive smart grid vision and roadmap for India, focusing on wider access and availability as well as affordability.

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