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Smart grid: a solution to Indias spiralling energy demand

What is smart grid? In laymans terms, think of the Smart Grid as the internet brought to our electric system. Smart grid is a generic label for the application of computer intelligence and networking abilities to a dumb electricity distribution system. Smart grid initiatives seek to improve operations, maintenance and planning by making sure that each component of the electric grid can both 'talk' and 'listen'. It is a type of power grid that uses digital technology to deliver electricity to consumers. Using digital technology helps the grid to operate more efficiently and also helps consumers to save energy and costs while reliability of the grid is increased. Smart grids are considered to be "green technology" and are more environmentally friendly although often more prone to cyber attacks. In many places, a power company will only know that service is out if a customer calls. In a smart grid scenario, if service is interrupted the company will know right away because certain components of the grid (smart meters in the affected area, for instance) stop sending data. By ensuring that all the components of the grid -- from transformers to power lines to home electric meters -- have IP addresses and are capable of two-way communication, the company can manage distribution more efficiently, be proactive about maintenance and respond to outages faster. Why Smart Grid? India is a fast-emerging economy where the demand for electric power is increasing by leaps and bounds. This can be visualised from the fact that while holding more that 17 per cent of the world's population, India currently consumes around 3 to 4 per cent of the world's electrical energy. As India strides forward on her economic journey, the demand and consumption of electrical energy by its populace is going to increase dramatically. In developing economies such as ours, energy efficiency enhancement technologies such as smart grids can leapfrog development by harnessing distributed energy resources, specifically wind and solar in the western region which nature has so generously bestowed on us. Smart grids use a combination of digital communication and digital control technology to despatch power with minimum loss. Power may be generated either centrally in large power stations operated by utilities or by local, small generators using green and renewable energy resources. The smart' digital components communicate and compute the most efficient routes to despatch power to loads, resulting in a better quality of supply. The digital communication elements notify all parts of the grid rapidly in case of breakdowns so that alternative routes for power despatch may be computed. This combination of computation and communication is where the smartness' of the smart grid lies. Indias grid is not financially secure According to its Ministry of Power, Indias transmission and distribution losses are among the highest in the world, averaging 26% of total electricity production, with some states as high as 62%. When non-technical losses such as energy theft are included in the total, average losses are as high as 50%. The financial loss has been estimated at 1.5% of the national GDP, and is growing steadily. Hence smart grid is the solution to Indias power demand.

The greener side of smart grid Thanks to its ability to establish more focused and persistent consumer participation, a smarter grid delivers end-use conservation and efficiency. In so doing, it also positively addresses our nations growing carbon footprint. Smart Grid enabled distribution would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25%. Enabling carbon savings The full exploitation of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar is critical to managing our collective carbon footprint. However, when viewed against the limitations of the current grid, both technologies face barriers to full-scale deployment. The Smart Grid enables grid operators to see further into the system and allows them the flexibility to better manage the intermittency of renewable. This in turn surmounts a significant barrier, enabling wind and solar to be deployed rapidly and in larger percentages. The Smart Grids single biggest potential for delivering carbon savings is in providing cost-effective and increasingly clean energy for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). Included within this vehicle class are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), the next generation of hybrids. Optimizing wind: - Although possessing myriad attributes, renewables also increase the complexity of operating the grid. A smarter grid enables operators to manage against this complexity. The Smart Grid can lower the net cost for wind power by regulating fluctuations with demand response. Combining demand response, energy storage and distributed and centralized generation assets can manage these fluctuations (i.e., when the wind doesnt blow) to lower the cost of integrating wind into the system. Overall, the Smart Grid can optimize the penetration of renewable into our nations electrical system. A smarter grid can optimize wind resources in conjunction with demand response controls, dealing with the intermittency of such resources by actively managing holes in the wind. Optimizing solar: - A PV array on every roof would be a welcome sight. However, although existing distribution grids are capable of safely supporting high penetrations of PV solar energy, placing excess power back onto the grid may also pose problems. Smart Grid control systems can help the grid rise to this challenge. Smart Grid Glossary AMI: Advanced Metering Infrastructure is a term denoting electricity meters that measure and record usage data at a minimum, in hourly intervals, and provides usage data to both consumers and energy companies at least once daily. AMR Automated Meter Reading is a term denoting electricity meters that collect data for billing purposes only and transmit this data one way, usually from the customer to the distribution utility. PEAKING CAPACITY: Capacity of generating equipment normally reserved for operation during the hours of highest daily, weekly, or seasonal loads. Some generating equipment may be operated at certain times as peaking capacity and at other times to serve loads on an around-the clock basis. DSM: This Demand-Side Management category represents the amount of consumer load reduction at the time of system peak due to utility programs that reduce consumer load during many hours of the year. In addition, this category includes all other Demand-Side Management activities, such as thermal storage, time-of-use rates, fuel substitution, measurement and evaluation, and any other utility-administered Demand-Side Management activity designed to reduce demand and/or electricity use

Ongoing smart grid activities APDRP, R-APDRP initiative for distribution reform (AT&C focus). DRUM India Distribution Reform Upgrade, Management. Four pilot sites (North Delhi, Bangalore, Gujarat and Maharashtra). Smart Grid Vision for India. Smart Grid Task Force Headed by Sam Pitroda. BESCOM project Bangalore Integration of renewable and distributed energy resources into the grid. KEPCO project in Kerala India - $10 Billion initiative for Smart-Grid. L &T and Telvent project Maharashtra Distribution Management System roll-out. Distributed generation via roof-top solar for 40% in a micro-grid Chief Minister Modi also laid the foundation stone for a "smart grid" transmission network being developed by the Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited (GETCO, Limbdi, India). The company has said that it will set up 140 substations in the state.