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Interaction | August 2015

Smart Grid technology and implementation will see a boost within two years

believes Anil Kadam, Associate General Manager, Schneider Electric, though he states that it is too early to put a number on the table for Smart Grid growth in India as the technology is just getting piloted here.

The government has claimed several records in the power sector in its first year. Do you see any initiatives of the present government for Smart Grid?
Yes, very much. If you see, the Ministry of Power has flagged off 14 pilots on Smart Grid that they want to mobilise through tried and tested methods. Of the 14 pilots, one is already awarded in Mysore, and others are on their way. The pilots have all the functionalities of the Smart Grid starting from renewable integration to demand side management, peak load reduction and power quality. So, the present government has started initiatives on Smart Grids.

What are the opportunities for Smart Grid players like you in the Indian sub-continent? What growth you expect in this sector?
Smart Grids in India is expected to solve a certain set of problems and this implementation varies from country to country, for e.g. in the US it has to solve the problem of blackouts, aging workforce, aging infrastructure; whereas in developing economies like Brazil and India, Smart Grid is expected to solve the peak hour crunches. You know we have a peak energy deficit of almost 13 per cent, so Smart Grid is expected to solve problems of power supply, even out the peak, try to get everyone connected with power supply and boost renewable penetration. Smart Grid can push a consumer to be more energy efficient, and help him know how he can do more by using less of the planet´s resources. Thus, in India Smart Grid has definitely a very good opportunity.

It is too early to put a number on the table for its growth in India as it is just getting piloted.

Even in Smart Grid there are two areas, one is operation technology (OT) and the other is information technology (IT). Operation technology is quite matured in terms of implementation, that is done through R-APDRP SCADA distribution management system (SCADA/DMS system). R-APDRP had 50,000 crore of outlay, in which 10,000 crore was the IT and OT systems. Out of 10,000 crore for IT and OT which came out for a couple of cities and towns, close to around 7,000 crore was for IT systems and the remaining was for OT systems, everything was under implementation stage. Going further Smart Grid has much more to do in terms of AMI and demand response. It was supposed to start by 2007, but it was flagged off only in 2011, having been delayed.

Will implementation of Smart Grid enhance quality of power and help common Indians?
This is very much true. What is happening today is that power is being supplied to multiple customers, but the quality of power in terms of voltage and most importantly reliability is not very well monitored or controlled. Smart Grid will fundamentally bring in the monitoring part and there could be backing changes, which could be brought into the system to improve the quality of the power. Plus there could be feedback control system which can be brought in, to dynamically improve the quality of power. An e.g. you can have voltage regulating Smart Grid transformers which will maintain the output voltage to a consumer on a constant level, irrespective of the input voltage.

And you can also have capacitors and harmonic filters installed, which can cut in and out to improve the quality of power being supplied.

Which areas should attract more demand as far as Smart Grid is concerned´transmission, distribution or generation?
Distribution is the most neglected or rather the technology is generally more infused when it comes to transmission and generation, so today, maximum investment has to be in the distribution sector. You see, for every 3 units of energy generated, there is only 1 unit of energy being used, the rest is lost during T&D. So there needs to be investment here.

Importantly, do we see encouragement for utilisation of Smart Grid technology in India? What kind of technology have you deployed and what is the technological trend?
Schneider has implemented SCADA-DMS in the city of Puri, Jagannath temple, basically for CESU, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and we are also deploying SCADA-DMS for three cities in Kerala, the city of Patna in Bihar, Ranchi in Jharkhand, and one in Jammu & Kashmir -- all these programmes are under R-APDRP.

The core technology implemented here is DMS, which is a set of hardware and software automatically regulates the quality of power to the consumer and which helps the utility identify where the faults are, why the system is down and how it can be brought up and running quickly. This contributes directly to the reliability part of the power supply. It also helps identify which area of distribution has a high loss level and suggests measures to reduce the same, this improves the financial viability of the distribution company. It tackles System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), which improves the reliability factor by reducing the outage duration and frequency, and also reduces the energy not supplied component, i.e. P&L component, of a distribution company, which ultimately helps them be more economically viable.

When do you see demand for Smart Grid technology picking up? Are states providing opportunities for the same to curb power consumptions?
See, the demand for Smart Grid technology today is very much violable, but India is new to this and we are taking baby steps to first try and test what works for India. Smart Grid means different things to different countries. In the Indian context, they want to try out and mix and match what is needed to go ahead full throttle. I think, and I am more optimistic, that in another two years, you will see big time demand for Smart Grids.

If you see states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, they have announced feed-in tariff. Now what happens is the technology connects the utility to the consumers and there is a legacy of electricity regulatory system in the country, who protect the interest of the consumers. So any technological changes affecting the consumer has to be first approved by the regulator, who are taking time to understand the potential benefit of Smart Grid. We are already seeing that these three states have started realising and making provisions.

Smart Grid as a concept in India is under development, with micro solutions scattered across regions. Will it witness a turnaround? And how?
The problems that new technologies solve is very well understood by the Indian utility community and what they are open to doing today is pilot out the system first and see the benefits coming through. India is a country that embraces technology once it is proven, as is evident from the implementation of sub-station automation systems. India embraces technology faster once it is certified and proven to work in our conditions. However, this is more tricky for Smart Grid as there are multiple stakeholders like utility, customer and regulators involved, so it takes time.

Are you working on any Smart Grid projects? Kindly share the details.
One is the Kerala SCADA-DMS for Trivandrum, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. Then is the city of Puri (Odisha) where the complete system has been done by us, where we have replaced the conventional overhead distribution system infrastructure to underground distribution system infrastructure through smart avenues and smart packet sub-stations and we have connected all this through fibre-optic cable and given it complete remote monitoring and control; and we are doing an outage management system (OMS) for Puri, which finds out exactly where the fault is on the line and helps mobilise the crew as early as possible to sort out the problems. We are also doing work in Patna.

Besides this, we are not only present in the distribution segment, but also in transmission and generation. In generation, India has an installed capacity of 265 GW of which we are managing close to 30 GW for companies like Adani and LANCOs. Our distribution control systems (DCS) work 24x7 to manage their power.

We also providing asset management systems and asset monitoring systems for generation companies. We acquired a company called Invensys, which has done quite a lot of generation DCS in India. We have also done a substantial amount of sub-stations and evacuation sub-station for renewable power plants, especially solar and wind. We have provided sub-station automation systems to EHV systems for NTPC. We have also done a lot of feed-in automation, which is important for Smart Grid in Mangalore for Bescom and for Tata Power in Mumbai.

For Tata Power Mumbai, most of the secondary distribution systems are monitored and controlled by Schneider´s feeder RTOs and feeder automation systems. We have done very innovative Smart Grid project for them, called self-healing feeder automation system, where it automatically finds where the fault on the system lies, isolates the faulty section and connects back the healthy section automatically on a ring main unit system all within 20 seconds each, thus less hours are wasted finding, identifying and tracking the fault.

We have also finished a pilot on a green transformer for Tata Power Mumbai, which runs on vegetable oil instead of mineral oil, and which can be loaded 30 per cent over and above its rated capacity, aka ´vegeta transformer´. And you can also have capacitors and harmonic filters installed, which can cut in and out to improve the quality of power being supplied.

Which areas should attract more demand as far as Smart Grid is concerned´transmission, distribution or generation?
Distribution is the most neglected or rather the technology is generally more infused when it comes to transmission and generation, so today, maximum investment has to be in the distribution sector. You see, for every 3 units of energy generated, there is only 1 unit of energy being used, the rest is lost during T&D. So there needs to be investment here.

Importantly, do we see encouragement for utilisation of Smart Grid technology in India? What kind of technology have you deployed and what is the technological trend?
Schneider has implemented SCADA-DMS in the city of Puri, Jagannath temple, basically for CESU, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and we are also deploying SCADA-DMS for three cities in Kerala, the city of Patna in Bihar, Ranchi in Jharkhand, and one in Jammu & Kashmir -- all these programmes are under R-APDRP. The core technology implemented here is DMS, which is a set of hardware and software automatically regulates the quality of power to the consumer and which helps the utility identify where the faults are, why the system is down and how it can be brought up and running quickly. This contributes directly to the reliability part of the power supply. It also helps identify which area of distribution has a high loss level and suggests measures to reduce the same, this improves the financial viability of the distribution company. It tackles System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), which improves the reliability factor by reducing the outage duration and frequency, and also reduces the energy not supplied component, i.e. P&L component, of a distribution company, which ultimately helps them be more economically viable.

When do you see demand for Smart Grid technology picking up? Are states providing opportunities for the same to curb power consumptions?
See, the demand for Smart Grid technology today is very much violable, but India is new to this and we are taking baby steps to first try and test what works for India. Smart Grid means different things to different countries. In the Indian context, they want to try out and mix and match what is needed to go ahead full throttle. I think, and I am more optimistic, that in another two years, you will see big time demand for Smart Grids.

If you see states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, they have announced feed-in tariff. Now what happens is the technology connects the utility to the consumers and there is a legacy of electricity regulatory system in the country, who protect the interest of the consumers. So any technological changes affecting the consumer has to be first approved by the regulator, who are taking time to understand the potential benefit of Smart Grid. We are already seeing that these three states have started realising and making provisions.

Smart Grid as a concept in India is under development, with micro solutions scattered across regions. Will it witness a turnaround? And how?
The problems that new technologies solve is very well understood by the Indian utility community and what they are open to doing today is pilot out the system first and see the benefits coming through. India is a country that embraces technology once it is proven, as is evident from the implementation of sub-station automation systems. India embraces technology faster once it is certified and proven to work in our conditions. However, this is more tricky for Smart Grid as there are multiple stakeholders like utility, customer and regulators involved, so it takes time.

Are you working on any Smart Grid projects? Kindly share the details.
One is the Kerala SCADA-DMS for Trivandrum, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. Then is the city of Puri (Odisha) where the complete system has been done by us, where we have replaced the conventional overhead distribution system infrastructure to underground distribution system infrastructure through smart avenues and smart packet sub-stations and we have connected all this through fibre-optic cable and given it complete remote monitoring and control; and we are doing an outage management system (OMS) for Puri, which finds out exactly where the fault is on the line and helps mobilise the crew as early as possible to sort out the problems. We are also doing work in Patna.

Besides this, we are not only present in the distribution segment, but also in transmission and generation. In generation, India has an installed capacity of 265 GW of which we are managing close to 30 GW for companies like Adani and LANCOs. Our distribution control systems (DCS) work 24x7 to manage their power.

We also providing asset management systems and asset monitoring systems for generation companies. We acquired a company called Invensys, which has done quite a lot of generation DCS in India. We have also done a substantial amount of sub-stations and evacuation sub-station for renewable power plants, especially solar and wind. We have provided sub-station automation systems to EHV systems for NTPC. We have also done a lot of feed-in automation, which is important for Smart Grid in Mangalore for Bescom and for Tata Power in Mumbai.

For Tata Power Mumbai, most of the secondary distribution systems are monitored and controlled by Schneider´s feeder RTOs and feeder automation systems. We have done very innovative Smart Grid project for them, called self-healing feeder automation system, where it automatically finds where the fault on the system lies, isolates the faulty section and connects back the healthy section automatically on a ring main unit system all within 20 seconds each, thus less hours are wasted finding, identifying and tracking the fault.

We have also finished a pilot on a green transformer for Tata Power Mumbai, which runs on vegetable oil instead of mineral oil, and which can be loaded 30 per cent over and above its rated capacity, aka ´vegeta transformer´.

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