Anil Kadam, Senior Manager, Energy Business, Schneider Electric India speaks about the National Smart Grid Mission and India’s preparedness for implementation of smart grid technologies in an interview with Monica Chaturvedi Charna...
What are the key smart grid solutions offered by Schneider here and abroad?
The electricity market is changing. And every day, end-users’ expectations increase in terms of reliability and quality, and they gain greater awareness of energy’s environmental impact. It’s an evolution. But as our reliance on electricity grows globally, the ways in which we produce, distribute, and use energy must also evolve. The solution will not only involve smarter demand, but also smarter supply, and as such, a smarter grid is at the heart of the issue. Schneider’s smart grid solutions include: Smart medium voltage/low voltage equipment Substation automation Feeder automation Enhanced distribution management solutions Microgrid control Volt/VAr management Real-time condition monitoring Electric vehicle load management
Is Schneider leveraging on the govt’s National Smart Grid Mission?
India is definitely ready for the implementation of smart grid projects. The establishment of National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM), which will have its own resources, independence and statutory authority to plan and monitor smart grid implementation in India, is a positive step in this direction.
How was last year and going forward, what policy changes would lend impetus to the sector?
The Indian economy has demonstrated its resilience and continuation of positive optimism during the last year. While various policy changes are already issued by the government to drive reforms, the Indian industry is keenly awaiting the announcement of positive legislative reforms to be passed at the earliest – such as GST, the Real Estate Regulatory Bill and Land Acquisition Bill, among others. GST will impart an immense boost to economic activity across India and also transform universal sentiment, fostering further the positive perceptions about India as a robust investment destination. Positive steps in this direction will boost infrastructure improvement and growth. Meanwhile, as Smart Cities’ programme gathers momentum with recent confirmation of 20 cities in the first phase, higher budget allocations will be most welcome to ensure faster implementation of projects on ground across the country.
To provide 24x7 electricity, the government has taken several policy measures and landmark decisions for generation of power, strengthening of transmission and distribution, separation of feeders and metering of power to consumers. The innovative initiatives taken and policies floated by the government in the sphere of renewables is laudable as well. But the industry is yet to experience the benefits of the same in terms of orders growth from faster execution of these projects.
What are the key areas of the distribution network that need immediate attention before smart grid becomes a reality in India?
Smart grid is an evolving set of technologies to transform the electricity grid in to a more intelligent and reliable grid with integrated control centre that can monitor and control electricity flow in real time, up to each individual customer and even up to the smart appliances inside a customer’s house, office or factory. However, in India, the biggest challenge is that although India has one of the largest electricity grids in the world with 290 GW generation capacity, over 250 million people are not connected to the grid and several parts of the country experience frequent power cuts. The power infrastructure is also plagued by challenges such as those relating to capacity, high power theft, transmission and distribution (T&D) losses and aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. While millions of Indians still have no or limited access to electricity, power outages and poor supply quality are other major challenges hampering the sector’s growth. All of these challenges need to be addressed for smart grid technology to be successful.