Powering Ahead

With the growing population and the related increase in the rate of urbanisation and industrialisation, as well as the growing role of renewable energy, India is facing grid challenges that can only be addressed through smart grid technologies. To keep pace with the growing power demand, it is important to minimise transmission and distribution (T&D) losses. In order to maintain the reliability of the T&D network, the government is taking various initiatives aimed at promoting smart grid technology adoption. It has recently approved the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM), which will serve as an institutional mechanism for the planning, monitoring and implementation of policies and programmes related to smart grid initiatives. The total outlay for NSGM activities for the Twelfth Plan period is Rs 9.8 billion, with a budgetary support of Rs 3.38 billion. Under this, a grant of up to 30 per cent of the total cost of smart grid projects is available.

Further, in June 2015, the Forum of Regulators approved the Model Smart Grid Regulations, which will help accelerate smart grid development in the country. These regulations are intended to integrate various smart grid technologies and prescribe measures to improve the operational efficiency of power generation projects, manage T&D networks effectively, enhance network security, and integrate renewable and clean energy into the grid at both the large and distributed generation levels. The Model Smart Grid Regulations may be used by all state electricity regulatory commissions as a reference template for formulating smart grid regulations for their respective states.

These initiatives will give an impetus to the process that was initiated with the allocation of 14 pilot smart grid projects in the distribution segment. These projects were approved by the Ministry of Power (MoP) in October 2012 and are currently at various stages of development. The objective of these projects is to deploy advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for residential, commercial and industrial customers for implementing peak load management (PLM) and outage management functionalities. In addition, load forecasting, asset management and quality management will be implemented in the case of some projects.

These pilot projects are estimated to cost around Rs 4 billion, 50 per cent of which will be funded by the MoP, while the remaining cost will be borne by the state utilities. However, for projects proposed in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tripura, the lowest price bids received were much higher than the approved costs of these projects. This delayed the progress of the projects, and even led to the cancellation of the project in Maharashtra. While Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Limited has received approval from the MoP to revise the cost of the project, the other two states are still awaiting approval. The projects in Assam, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and West Bengal, where the project contracts have been awarded, are at advanced stages of development.

Smart grid pilot projects

Assam: The project is being implemented by Assam Power Distribution Company Limited in Guwahati. Under this, AMI for residential consumers (AMI R), AMI for industrial consumers (AMI I), PLM, outage management systems (OMS), power quality management (PQM) systems and distributed generation (DG) systems will be implemented. The project has been awarded to Phoenix IT Solutions in consortium with Securo Company Limited, the Korea Power Corporation and Nuri Telecom. As per the latest update, the functional design document of the project was to be submitted by the last week of June 2015.

Chhattisgarh: Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Limited (CSPDCL) is the implementing agency for the project. Under this, AMI I and the PLM system will be installed in Siltara and DDU Nagar in Raipur. As per the latest update, CSPDCL is seeking the approval of the state government to revise the cost of the project after receiving very high bids as compared to its approved cost. The state agency has received approval from the MoP for the same.

Gujarat: The project is being implemented by Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited and will be located at Naroda in the Sabarmati circle and Deesa II in the Palanpur circle. Under this, AMI I, AMI R and OMS will be installed. The project was scheduled to be awarded by end-July 2015. However, there has not been any furthur update on this.

Haryana: Under this project, Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (UHBVNL) will install AMI I, AMI R, OMS and the supervisory control and data acquisition system/data management system (DMS) in Panipat city. The project is being funded by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization. The contract for detailed engineering and project implementation has been awarded to a consortium of Japanese companies led by Fuji Electric. Work on the project commenced on December 4, 2014.

Himachal Pradesh: The Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board plans to install AMI I, PLM, OMS and PQM at Kala Amb. The project was awarded to Alstom T&D India for Rs 194.5 million on February 28, 2015. Work on the project has already begun.

Karnataka: Under this project, Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation Limited will install AMI R, AMI I, PLM, OMS, PQM and a DG/microgrid at V.V. Mohalla, Mysore. The project was awarded on April 30, 2014 to a consortium led by Enzen Global Solutions Private Limited. For installing AMI, Enzen has selected UK-based Cyan Technology. The installation of 500 single-phase meters and control centre equipment was scheduled to be completed by June 2015. However, there has not been any furthur update on this.

Kerala: The Kerala State Electricity Board is the implementation agency for the project. It will install AMI I for low tension consumers. After receiving higher-price bids than the sanctioned project cost, the pilot project area was changed to the eight towns covered under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme. A revised detailed project report that proposes re-tendering has been submitted to the steering committee. Its decision is still awaited.

Maharashtra: Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited had proposed to install AMI I, AMI R and OMS in Baramati town. However, it later cancelled the project, after receiving bids that were much higher than its sanctioned cost.

Puducherry: The Electricity Department of the Government of Puducherry will install AMI I and AMI R in Division 1 of Puducherry under the project. The Electricity Department released revised requests for proposal with the new financing model, with a due date of July 22. The pre-bid meeting was held on July 2.

Punjab: The contract for this project has been awarded to Kalkitech, which began the site survey in June 2015. Punjab State Power Corporation Limited will install AMI and PLM in the Industrial Division of City Circle Amritsar.

Rajasthan:  The project will be implemented by Jaipur Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited in the Vishwakarma Industrial Area, Jaipur, where AMI R, AMI I and PLM systems will be installed. As per the latest update, the regulatory commission’s approval for the project is still awaited.

Telangana: Telangana Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSPDCL) will install AMI R, AMI I, PLM, OMS and PQM in Jeedimetla Industrial Area. TSPDCL floated the tender for the project in 2014 but failed to receive any bids that met the qualifying conditions. Thus, it has decided to cancel the tender and re-float it.

Tripura: The project will be implemented by Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited in Electrical Division No.1 of Agartala town, with the installation of AMI I, AMI R and PLM systems. After receiving high-price bids, the state agency is seeking the MoP’s approval to receive more funding.

West Bengal: West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited plans to install AMI I, AMI R and PLM in Siliguri town in Darjeeling district. The project contract was awarded to Chemtrols Engineering Limited in June 2015, and work is expected to begin soon.

Issues and the way forward

Along with these smart grid projects, appropriate measures are also required to deal with the problem of cyberthreats to ensure large-scale and strong participation by consumers in the development and operation of the smart grid network, to set up appropriate standards for smart grid systems, to measure and handle large-scale data, and to build supporting infrastructure. These measures will ensure the successful implementation of smart grid projects, which are a key part of the government’s larger smart grid roadmap. The success of these projects is critical, as they will ensure the provision of cheap, reliable and clean power to consumers, as well as offer significant business opportunities.

Given the rising demand and complexities in the grid, there is significant opportunity for the development of smart grid systems. As per the India Smart Grid Forum, the country’s smart grid market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.4 per cent during 2015-18. To this end, ensuring the sustainability and efficiency of energy delivery systems and reducing aggregate technical and commercial losses are considered to be the key objectives.