‘Power industry has hit stagnation point’

BANGALORE: IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), the world’s largest technical professional association, has formed IEEE Standards Interest Group (SIG) in Bangalore for India. The IEEE SIG pro

Published: 29th April 2012 10:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 07:48 PM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), the world’s largest technical professional association, has formed IEEE Standards Interest Group (SIG) in Bangalore for India. The IEEE SIG provides a platform for the Indian technical community to participate in global standards development including those for Smart grid, conducts outreach programs and Smart grid workshops across various cities in India deliberating the role of standards and challenges in the Indian context.

Srikanth Chandrasekaran, Chairman, IEEE SIG for India speaks to City Express about smart grid and the benefits that his organisation and bring to the country.

Considering the huge T&D losses, how significant a role can IEEE Standards Interest Group (SIG) play in helping the country?

IEEE Standards Interest Group (SIG) is working to partner with government and industry bodies in the country and engaging India’s professional technical communities, while leveraging IEEE-SA’s expertise and experience in global standards development to accelerate the process of establishing standards relevant to the Indian smart grid market.

IEEE-SA has launched key standards and guidelines such as the IEEE 2030 TM Smart Grid Interoperability Guide, the first such standard that aids interoperability of energy, information and communications technologies; IEEE 1701 TM IEEE 1702TM, and IEEE 1703TMadvanced Smart Metering Standards; IEEE 1547.4 TM, the first guide for implementation of Microgrids; and the IEEE 1901 TM standard for Broadband over Power Line.

Comment on the awareness in the country about smart grid.

India is on the right path. The government of India’s R-APDRP is a good first step for successful implementation of the smart grid in the country. The program is designed to take three to five years to implement across parts of India. However, successful and complete implementation of the smart grid is not going to be an easy task as the Indian power sector poses a number of barriers.

The utility industry is capital-intensive but has been suffering losses due to theft and subsidisation. IEEE-SA is working to partner with government and industry bodies in the country and engaging India’s professional technical community, while leveraging its expertise and experience in global standards development to accelerate the process of establishing standards relevant to the Indian Smart grid market.

Utilities and distribution companies have limited experience in communication technologies, needed to manage critical components of the Smart grid. Also, if India’s utilities are to take an active part in designing and implementing IT and Smart grid projects, they must acquire the skills required to take over operation and maintenance.

The most overlooked component of Smart grid implementation is the education of consumers and what this means to them. It is important to build awareness to create an understanding of Smart grids, the associated benefits and the potential implementation issues.

For complete and successful implementation of the Smart grid, India needs a national vision and a flexible plan. The country needs to develop policies and regulations to create a receptive environment for Smart grid by encouraging innovation, establishing standards for interoperability and allowing market-oriented solutions.

With its diversity and traditional practices, how can the smart grid help India in curtailing losses?

Smart grid technology can help us reduce the electricity transmission and distribution losses and electricity theft by 5 to 10 per cent annually.

Without Smart grid, India will not be able to keep pace with the growing needs of its cornerstone industries and will fail to create an environment for growth of its high technological and telecommunications sectors.

Smart grid implementation is not going to be an easy task since the Indian power sector poses a number of barriers such as minimise transmission and distribution losses, power theft, inadequate grid infrastructure and low metering efficiency.

The power industry has reached a stagnation point, and needs a complete switch to the next generation, that is automation. Moreover, as the technology is considered premium, its implementation in the Indian industry has been a bit slower than expected.

In spite of the monetary issues, power utilities need to begin with basic automation systems, eventually upgrading to advanced systems.

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