Smart grid is smartening up. The country is slated to see the market for smart grid touch Rs 50,000 crore in he next four to five years, from the present level of sub Rs 100 crore. This would be fuelled by the government's plan of setting up 100 smart cities and 500 smart town.
According to Reji Kumar Pillai, president, India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), reliable electric grid is the most critical enabler for all other systems in a smart city, it is expected that all 100 smart cities and 500 smart town will have smart grids in the next 5-10 years.
The work would involve strengthening the electrical network, moving over head distribution lines to underground cables at strategic locations in the city, automating substations and distribution network, smart metering, rooftop solar integration, automated demand response systems to control certain loads o match demand with supply, as well as state of the art bil ing and collection systems, ntegrated customer care cen ers, energy storage systems, electric vehicle charging sta ions, smart street lights and mobile work force management systems.
ISGF estimates that a typical city of 5 to 10 lakhs population would require about Rs 300 to 500 crore for modernizing the electricity grid depending on the present condition of the equipment. This would entail investments to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore for building smart grids in 100 smart cities.
Similarly for 500 towns under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) program another Rs 50,000 crore may be required at an average of Rs 100 crore per town.
"Majority of the cities and towns have very high levels of network losses and other inef ficiencies in their electric grids. Grid modernization will result in huge gains in efficiency which will pay back the investment in 3-4 years. Efforts are being made to develop business models in which government or utilities need not make upfront investments in implementation of smart grids," said Pillai.
A Model Smart Grid Regultions was approved by Forum of Regulators in June, 2015 which is now being adopted by individual state electricity regulatory commissions. Assam and Karnataka commissions have already issued draft regulations that are under finalization now and several other state electricity regulatory commissions are expected to notify the smart grid regula tions soon.
"ISGF is working with ministry of power, state utilities, regulatory commissions and other stakeholders for accelerated development of smart grids in the country by building collaboration with industry academia, standards organizations and international institutions and facilitate technology demonstration projects. With the objective to project India as a major investment destination for smart grid technologies, ISGF is organizing India Smart Grid Week in March 2016 in New Delhi which will be attended by top minds in smart grids and smart cities from around the world," he said.