India rolls out its smart grid roadmap

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QUICK TAKE: I find India to be a country of remarkable contrasts. Some of the world's most sophisticated smart grid ideas and pilots are found in India, especially those with a high ICT quotient. And some of the world's worst grid conditions. Indeed, in its just-published Smart Grid Vision and Roadmap for India (click to download a PDF version), it aspires to give all Indian households at least eight hours of electricity per day by the year 2017. There are still hundreds of millions of Indians with sporadic or no grid access.

 

I don't pretend to be an expert on India, but I have noticed that its best-laid plans are often thwarted by system business and policy problems. Here's hoping that this important roadmap will not be waylaid. For the sake of India's citizens and businesses, who must have cheap, clean reliable electric power to compete on the world stage. And for the sake of smart grid suppliers, for whom India could be an enormous growth opportunity. -- Jesse Berst

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The enablers for a smart grid in India include:

  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA) with Energy Management Systems (EMS) and Distribution Management Systems (DMS) Enterprise IT network covering all substations and field offices with reliable communication systems

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)/Asset Management Systems

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – mapping of electrical network assets and consumers on geospatial maps 

  • Modernization of the substations with modern switchgear and numerical relays

  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) with two way communication and Meter Data

  • Management Systems (MDMS)

  • Electronic Billing Systems and Customer Care Systems

  • Distribution Automation (DA) and Substation Automation Systems

  • Outage Management Systems (OMS)

  • Mobile Crew Management Systems

  • Wide Area Measurement and Control Systems

  • Forecasting, Dispatch and Settlement Tools

  • Enterprise Application Integration

  • Analytics (converting data into business intelligence)  

Key targets include:

  • Phasor measurement units across the entire transmission system by 2017

  • Electrification of all households with power available for at least 8 hours per day by 2017 Dynamic tariffs and mandatory demand response programs for select categories of consumers by 2017

  • Reduction of the aggregated technical and commercial losses to below 10% by 2027 Microgrids in 20,000 villages/industrial parks/commercial hubs by 2027

  • EV charging stations in all urban areas and along all state and national highways by 2027

The next steps will be:

 

1. Finalization of an institutional framework -- standing up a designated entity responsible for the smart grid roadmap including implementation roadmaps, research activities, technology selection guidelines, standards guidelines, etc.

 

2. Alignment of ongoing activities -- leveraging current activities that can feed into the smart grid program.

 

Read more about India's power grid…

Greenpeace: microgrids for India (pdf)

India's blackouts: Lessons from the front line

 

Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.