India as a country is on a fast track growth, even as its power concerns are still real. The sector has to do a lot of catching up to do and this is where the various power equipment segments pitch in to power the rising dreams and aspirations of Indians.
POWER TODAY looks at the various sectors that comprise the power equipment sector and analyses their current position and future potential in the country.
Smart Metering is still at the nascent stage in India, where it is being tested and implemented by only a few utilities equipped with the money and technology to do so. However, it provides a sea of possibilities in streamlining and advancing our home energy infrastructure.
´The benefit of any smart metering to a utility is that the utility gets a better view of the customer´s usage of electricity by the customer. While, the benefit to a customer is that a customer can also get a better view of his usage, through the customer portal and thereby control the usage of electricity.,´ asserts Manu Rishi Puri, Principal, Accenture Resources Group.
´However, to date no one solution seems to be optimal for all applications. Rural utilities have very different problems from urban utilities or utilities located in difficult locations,´ states Anil Kadam, Senior Manager - Solution Architect (Utility Management), Schneider Electric India Pvt. Ltd.
Commenting on the India specific scenario Anil Sardana, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Tata Power shares, ´We are the first Indian power utility to launch the Automated Demand Response (ADR) project with smart meters in Delhi last year. It is one of the first projects in the world where ADR and AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure for Smart Meters) are conceptualised together. The project is has been rolled out post the approval of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).´
Utilities can use smart metering data to manage power distribution system more efficiently and avoid overloading of the grid or blackouts. The smart meter data collected in AMR system can be accessed by consumers. This data provides consumers an insight to the usage of electricity in their homes and offices and thus empowers them to take informed decisions for reducing power bills.
However, one of the most problematic task to date is implementing security protocols that will protect these devices from malicious attacks and new exploits that are discovered against them. One proposed method of verifying the data provided by smart meters is though analysing the data in real-time to detect anomalies. By identifying exploits as they are being leveraged by attackers, this Intrusion detection system (IDS) will mitigate the suppliers´ risks of energy theft by consumers and denial-of-service attacks by hackers.
However, some groups have expressed concerns regarding the cost, health, fire risk, security and privacy effects of smart meters and the remote controllable ´kill switch´ that is included with most of them. One technical reason is that these meters send detailed information about how much electricity is being used each time, allowing the utility to infer behavioural patterns and when the members of the household are probably asleep or absent.
But, smart metering has great potential. With growing economy of India and its ever increasing demand for electricity, use of smart metering technologies can offer varied benefits and help address some of the most pressing challenges of power sector like high AT&C losses, poor customer service, peak load management etc.
However, these technologies need huge investment and the industry does not have the financial capacity to fund for the technologies. Successful implementation would require support of government programmes to provide incentives for investment.
The Indian transformer industry, which has been facing challenges in terms of demand growth, is hoping for the good times in the wake of growing exports and the government´s thrust for revival of discoms in the next three years.
Even in the wake of slowdown in the global economy and when discoms are not robust enough to utilise the surplus generating capacity available, a sharp increase in exports have maintained some relief. However, as financial woes of discoms subside, leading to growth in demand for power, coupled with increasing transmission and distribution (T&D) network expansion projects, this is expected to drive the market for power and distribution transformers in the years to come.
Besides, the industry, has seen Chinese and Japanese companies entering the country in a big way through setting up their units or by acquiring domestic manufacturers. However, this does not bother Indian manufacturers much, as transformers is a matured technology and the Indian industry is well-grounded in line with the rest of the world. Most top global manufacturers like ABB, GE, Siemens and Alstom have base in India, and two - BHEL and CG are from India.
In terms of exports and imports, these were estimated at Rs 3,500 crore and Rs 3,300 crore, including project imports, respectively in 2014-15. Despite global economic slowdown exports have posted a sharp growth of about 36 per cent during the year, mainly driven by 132 and 220 kV segments.
Another important indicator of global competitiveness is the level of adoption of global benchmarks/ standards. In India, the test method for measuring distribution transformers is based on the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60076 series of test standards. Meanwhile, taking the cue from rising exports, the government should promote trade relations with more countries through the power sector, not just in the transformer segment. Pursuing the recently announced Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in letter and spirit will also boost demand across the power sector, domestically. The industry is confident that the scheme will set the house of discoms in order and lead to singing of more power purchase agreements (PPAs), thus resulting in more demand for transformers.
Many government regulations introduced for ensuring environment protection and plume abatement are giving the required thrust to the cooling towers industry. Reversing its earlier stand to go slow on environmental initiatives involving additional costs, India announced its commitment for the upcoming COP21 global climate talks in Paris in November 2015, pledging to improve the carbon emissions intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 33-35 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
However, the Indian government has started initiatives in this direction much ahead of this announcement, in May 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) proposed the first-ever federal standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury and stringent water consumption rules, making it necessary for coal-fired power plants to convert their once-through cooling system-based plants into cooling towers.
´New plants would need to cut water use to 2.5 m3/MWh, which is equal to the average water use of Chinese plants. A global best cooling tower-based plant has water consumption as low at 1.6m3/MWh,´ says Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The move is expected to result in construction of cooling towers to remove heat from the discharged water - estimated to cost around Rs 200 crore per plant. In September 2015, the Centre has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to issue notices to 119 sugar mills barring them from discharging waste water into Ganga, an revered river for Hindus. According to the state Ground Water Department´s data for last year, groundwater levels in 820 development blocks were ´diminishing´. Of these 820 blocks, 111 are identified as ´over-exploited´, 68 ´critical´ and 82 in ´semi-critical´ state.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) directed sugar mills to utilise waste water for irrigation, instead of disposing it off into the river. As the water discharged by mills is warm, the mills have also been asked to install cooling towers, which will also serve as waste water treatment units.
Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) industrial applications currently receive a great deal of attention. This is the most advanced level of waste water treatment and reuse technology. Certainly for the most water-stressed and water polluted regions of the world, industrial manufacturers and utilities have made strong regulatory pushes for increased ZLD adoption like regions of India where all industrial manufacturers with waste water discharge to river systems. According to data, only 30 per cent of waste water generated in India is treated in any way, including wastewater from municipal, commercial and industrial sources. For the industrial sector, the Indian government has promoted ZLD.
From a global perspective, Transparency Market Research (TMR) in its study on global cooling towers market, identified India as one of the top locations with heavy demand for cooling towers in the coming five years. The US, China, and India are expected to be the top locations that show a heavy demand for cooling towers. Although the market is not as evenly distributed as global players would have liked, there is still plenty of scope for many to succeed on a regional basis. The world is progressing at a blindingly fast pace and the energy sector needs to meet the incredible demand created by it. Therefore, the outlook for the global cooling towers market is largely positive.
Pumps & Pumping Systems
With a history of over 80 years, the revenues of the Indian Pump Industry, having over 700 manufacturers, is estimated to have crossed the revenues of over Rs 20,000 crore in 2013-14. However, there are reports that nearly 300 registered domestic and agriculture pump manufacturers from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu were facing demand slump. Pumps industry is to an extent concentrated in two states - Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
Though the agriculture pumps industry is passing through troubled times, there is a hope that demand conditions will improve as early as next year. However, the same cannot be said in the case of industrial pumps, at a time when the domestic and world economies are yet to signal sustainable growth.
Demand from oil and gas sector is also expected to be subdued as long as crude prices remain at the ebb. Meanwhile, the replacement market will be delayed in the absence of encouraging signs in world economy too.
´On the plus side, however, Indian pump manufacturers are making strides with indigenisation of advanced technologies,´ says Bharat B Patel, president of Indian Pump Manufacturers´ Association (IPMA). He pointed out that in the thermal power generation sphere the first ever concrete volute pumps to pump sea water through a once-pass cooling water system of a 500 MW thermal power station were recently made and successfully commissioned.
Total indigenisation was achieved in various kinds of motors used in co-generation, hydropower and pumped storage power generation, oil and natural gas sector, refineries, fertilisers, lubricants and petro-chemicals sector, mining and metal ore refining sector, steel sector, paper sector, utility sector, agriculture and irrigation and fisheries and aquaculture.
Development of winding wires with polyester-based poly-propylene insulation can be credited to be a wholly indigenous endeavour. This has improved the reliability of the submersible motor, also economising the design of the motor, by virtue of the reduced insulation thickness.
Globally, the Indian pump industry has been a very small partner in the market game, with a share of below one per cent. Further, there are several Chinese manufacturers selling their wares in India now. But, foreign buyers seem to be evincing good interest also in procuring from Indian manufacturers. Indian manufacturers have also to their credit a very good performance in respect of the deemed exports, catering to domestic requirements, but against global tenders. ôIt is a global game now. There are opportunities abroad and overseas companies are selling here. We need to make continuous efforts to improve operational efficiency to be globally competitive,´ says G Soundararajan, Vice-Chairman of CRI Pumps. Aiming to increase and improve perception about Indian engineering products in the overseas markets, several state governments like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, are also playing a big role in promoting energy efficiency in agriculture pumpsets. Natural events like monsoon and its temporal and spatial spreads remain the deciding factor for the fortunes of the pumps industry in India, particularly for manufacturers catering to household and agriculture sectors. India has all the required resources, however, we must retain these resources here to seize leadership position worldwide. With the help of state support, solar powered pumpsets may see their fortunes turning in the next couple of years.
But, there is a need to speed up the process. Rural India has yet to reap the full benefits of technology.
Power Back Up Systems: Diesel Engine, Generators, Inverters, UPS
Although, India´s power deficit has come down to 2.5 per cent, the demand for power backup still holds the ground. It is believed, mostly by the major players in this segment that the power backup sector to see an upward trend from the current $1.5 billion to $2.6 billion by the end of this year. This will also reflect demand for components required for power generation business.
Here, the Make in India initiatives, coupled with industry friendly policies, growth of manufacturing sector and corresponding growth of the power electronics segment will play a major role. As factory automation, comfortable lifestyle and energy conservation are growing businesses, the number of variable frequency drives produced worldwide keep growing.
The Indian skyline has undergone a major transformation with property developers reaching for the skies. Powering their projects in the most efficient and silent manner is the Indian generator industry which has come to play an important role in supplying the much needed power backup to these dream projects.
The power back up industry, which had witnessed stagnation of growth over the last two years in India, has started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in the wake of the government initiatives on economic front, and this expansion in infrastructure, revival in construction activity etc.
During the two financial years beginning April 2013, the market volume of power back up declined, especially after the introduction Central Pollution Control (CPCB) Norms-II and the prices of various diesel gensets rising by 10-15 per cent in the year 2014. However, the industry is hoping to see revival in their fortunes in the years to come.
DG sets industry is predominantly witnessing two major technical trends which generally attracts customer demand - fuel efficiency and emission controls. The availability of such products hence drives demand for far more superior to the alternatives. The contribution of India in R&D of DG is rising in global landscape, where companies like Cummins is planning to invest Rs 1,000 crore in India to establish its global research and development hub in Pune.
´As a result of all this, the power backup industry has seen rapid growth and demand for alternative/ backup power sources in the form of generator sets, power inverters, UPS, battery, etc. is expected to rise further in coming years,´ says Farrokh N. Cooper, Chairman and Managing Director, Cooper Corporation Pvt Ltd. That said, with the government´s impetus for infrastructure projects, data centers, industries including the pharmaceuticals and retail, is all likely to aid the power backup industry in the country.
The policy initiatives have resulted in tremendous opportunities for integration of energy storage technologies for a variety of applications. The advanced energy storage market in India is in its infancy, however, it carries significant market potential. A recent market assessment by India Energy Storage Alliance suggests a potential of 15-20 GW by 2020 in India. Immediate applications range from telecom tower backups to grid ancillary services and renewable integration.
Batteries too have a part to play. Indian consumers expect their batteries to work for long hours and to carry the entire load in their households, factories and shops. Emerging technologies across the energy storage spectrum are covering electrochemical batteries, ultra capacitors, thermal storage, fuel cells etc.
More and more VRLA (valve-regulated lead-acid) battery makers are also coming forward with their products, side-by-side with tubular flooded battery companies, for supplying for solar applications of up to 400Ah, spicing up the market.
- Jocelyn Fernandes
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