With centralised data collection as implemented by Schneider in smart city projects like Raipur and Patna, problems can be identified and rectified in minutes instead of hours, Prakash Chandraker, Managing Director and Vice President - Energy Business, Schneider Electric India, tells Renjini Varghese.
What is your assessment of India's energy efficiency programme?
Energy efficiency has several dimensions, mainly loss reduction and consumption reduction. The previous high consumption of incandescent lamps has been successfully replaced with the use of low voltage LED lamps now. This is one of the very successful programmes implemented by India's government, and has brought down power consumption. The journey is long, but I would say we are in the right direction.
Our new transformer offers 30-40 per cent more efficiency. A major step by the government was banning the use of high-loss transformers. That is also helping to bring greater efficiency to the distribution network. The stricter norms have changed the mind-set of the manufacturers and led them to improve the quality of the product.
Tell us about projects handled by Schneider in the efficient energy management field.
Schneider is integrating the entire smart grid and smart city application in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. It means integrating all the verticals from the city into a common platform. This is the first system of its kind in India where we will see energy consumption data coming into a single centre whether it is from electricity, water, surveillance, or building management systems, to name a few. The system installed there is able to capture data on energy consumption and energy saving in the different verticals. For example, a pumping station - what is the trend of energy consumption based on different times of the day, and the related tariffs. If you consume electricity between say 12 pm and 2 pm, the cost can be really high.
In terms of energy management in the grid, when the consumption is down, you can reduce the number of transformers. That will help reduce the losses. It is not necessary to keep all the transformers switched on all
What is the size of the Raipur project?
Though can't share the financials, there are 100,000 data points being monitored. It is a consortium, with Schneider and IL&FS as the major parties. While IL&FS takes care of the infrastructure, we fully handle the data part.
What have you learned from the projects you have handled?
In the recent past, we have handled some good value smart grid projects - mainly, handling the meter data management system for two state utilities. This involves acquiring information from meters and doing page controlling. The first one was the Patna distribution management system in Bihar which was under the Smart Grid Project and the second was the Tata Power Distribution Co in Mumbai.
After the implementation of the system the restoration time has reduced from four to five hours earlier to a few minutes. Identification and rectification of problems now happens in a matter of minutes.
What's your outlook for 2018?
We are positive in the distribution segment and the renewables segment. New investment in industry may take more time, so we have a neutral outlook on
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