Since the enactment of the Electricity Act in India in the year 2003, there has been seen a considerable change in the country’s power sector. Power distribution utilities are undergoing a reformation process in order to handle the regulatory change for the decrease in Aggregated Technical and Commercial Loss, power supply reliability, improving power quality along with improving customer satisfaction. Keeping these factors in view, the Smart Grid Infrastructure in India has been initiated.
$44.9 Billion Spread Over a Period of 10 Years
The program is a sophisticated and a digitally enhanced power supply system in which controlled technologies and modern communication help in making the power distribution network efficient along with meeting the growing energy demands.
According to Northeast Group, the smart grid infrastructure project in India will be deployed on a large scale starting from 2017. The investment in the grid infrastructure is projected to be around $44.9 billion spread over a period of 10 years (2017-2027).
Smart Grid Infrastructure in India Investigated with Several Urban Pilot Projects
The widely known benefits, such as automated outage management or real time monitoring, are intended to provide a more reliable supply and the seamless integration of renewables. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Power (MoP), several urban pilot projects in India are under implementation as of yet. Test projects are, for example, located in Baramati Town or Puducherry. A Smart City prototype and R&D platform in Kanpur Advanced Metering Infrastructure includes functionalities like a Smart City Control Center, Smart Homes, advanced IT infrastructure, and the integration of renewable energies.
Alongside the deployments of smart grid infrastructure in India by the government, there are many other individual franchisees that are also deploying this infrastructure in order to increase the performance of utilities that are currently quite poor. The smart grid infrastructure program will be spread over different states in the country and every state will be the home to a unique structure of the industry and a regulatory framework. The largest opportunities in the smart grid industry are present in the states of Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
Electricity Theft Results in a Loss of $23.2bn Every Year
The smart grid infrastructure projects in India include advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) as well as several nodes that are required for interconnecting for data sharing whenever needed. The smart grid also offers choices to the customer for deciding the time and the power consumption amount base over the price of the power at that particular time period. This feature assures consuming power efficiently and helps in maximizing system up-time along with being useful in restoring power quickly to household and businesses in the event of a power outage.
Several well-established players, international and local, offer its products and services to the competitive smart grid market in India. Local vendors of the industry include Genus, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), HPL and Secure Meters. They secure a good market share in the metering market. International vendors include Honeywell, Schneider, Itron, or Siemens.
Allegedly, India has a great potential for the implementation of smart grid projects; however, constant government plans are failing because of electricity theft that results in a loss of $23.2bn every year. The government of India has formed a Smart Grid Forum recently and a Smart Grid Task Force in order to implement the technology within Indian Power Distribution Utilities being a part of Smart Grid initiative for meeting the increasing power demand across the country.
Overall India possesses realistic potential in the smart grid market having a combination of high rate of GDP with a complex regulatory structure and a low per capita income. There are many challenges to this but, persistent steps taken by the government ensures that the market of Smart Grid Infrastructure in India is bright in the coming years.
Provoding a smart grid infrastructure is a quite ambitious undertaking. However, in the end, India would probably be well advised not to lose sight of providing the basics, such as clean water and common energy supply, for the poor sections of the population. Still many people live without a clean water or uninterruptible power supply.