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India Primes Itself for Smart Grid Innovation – Forbes   Leave a comment

“Today the Asian Development Bank announced that it will lend India $750 million for its national grid improvement project, including smart grid innovations.In a country like India, where draping rats’ nests of wires and blackouts are common and 404 million people still lack electricity, the idea of a smart grid might seem a bit counter-intuitive.But the electricity sector worldwide is undergoing massive technological and policy changes, and electricity upgrades today inherently include smart grid, including smart meters, software and hardware for demand and supply management, sensors, wireless infrastructure, and transmission distribution equipment.In some cases India will have the opportunity to leapfrog to new technologies. In fact, India is third worldwide for smart-grid investment, behind the United States and China, with its smart grid spending projected to increase from $1.1 billion in 2011 to $1.9 billion in 2015, according to a new report, India: Smart Grid Legacy, by Zpryme, a research consultancy based in Austin, Texas.India’s booming economy is threatened by a lack of reliable electricity. So the government has laid out an ambitious effort to upgrade its electricity sector, including a $26 billion commitment over the next five years, separate from the funds allocated for smart grid improvements.India’s Ministry of Power MoP is the central government agency that is working most closely on electricity development, and it set up the India Smart Grid Forum, a public-private partnership uniting utilities, industry, and academia. The government has also created an inter-departmental task force called the Smart Grid Task Force SGTF. “Other important changes in energy laws including the Electricity Act of 2003 and the important National Electricity Policy of 2005,” writes the IEEE, an international nonprofit professional association for the advancement of technology.Aside from one-third of the population having no electricity at all, India faces other significant hurdles in modernizing its electricity sector. Demand already outstrips supply, leading to frequent brownouts in many areas. “At peak usage, demand exceeds supply by 7 to 11 percent,” according to the Zpryme report. Also, line losses — the amount of electricity lost in transmission — are epic, averaging 50 percent, according to Zpryme. That’s due to outdated or shoddy equipment and one of the highest rates of theft in the world. The infrastructure countrywide is also inconsistent. “Four of the regional grids operate as one synchronous grid and the southern region utilizes a high voltage direct current HVDC link,” said the report.Stopping theft is a major issue, said Mark Ishac, managing director of the Smart Grid Insights practice at Zpryme. India’s 2008’s Re-Structured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Program R-APDRP is focused on innovation in information and communications technology that first measures, then mitigates line losses. The Indian government is spending an additional $10.86 billion to reduce line losses to less than 15 percent in five years in urban and high-density areas. One-fifth of those funds will be dedicated to using IT at state-run distribution companies, said Ishac.India will also need to ramp up its energy generation. The country already suffers frequent brownouts, and it’s going to bringing another 404 million people online. In addition, as the middle class grows, so will its per-capita consumption of electricity, said Ishac. Overall population numbers are still rising as well. The Zpryme report projects that demand will grow 6.0 percent annually from 2010 to 2015.The government is actively soliciting foreign investment, and has already secured deals with China’s ZTE Corporation and IBM. Ishac expects that India will be a proving ground for new technology. “It will be a smart grid pilot incubator. There’s a lot of technological advancement, a lot of R&D going on in India. That’s where they’ll excel and be able to compete with the U.S. and China.”Micro-grid experiments such as that on The Energy Research Institute’s Gurgaon campus, aren’t getting all that much attention said Ishac. But microgrids could be a good solution for remote communities that are currently unserved.”


via India Primes Itself for Smart Grid Innovation – Forbes.

Posted October 1, 2011 by arnoneumann in India, Smart Grid

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