Without effective standards in place, the road ahead for smart grids in India will be highly challenging, says Pamela Kumar.India is ranked the 3rd largest market for smart grid investments. Upgrading our transmission and distribution systems coupled with the need to reduce electricity losses and theft is driving the deployment of smart grid technologies in India. Given the broad spectrum of technologies that will make up the smart grid, a wide variety of players including software, hardware, communication and utility companies see the opportunity to participate and are becoming active in multiple initiatives. What India lacks at present though is a collaborative environment in which players can explore beyond their own technology thresholds and work with one another.Also, our country has in the last few years experienced an impressive rate of economic growth. However, it loses money for every unit of electricity sold, because it has one of the weakest electric grids in the world. For India to continue along its path of aggressive economic growth, it needs to build a modern, intelligent grid. It is only with a reliable, financially secure smart grid that India can provide a stable environment for investments in power infrastructure and also fix the fundamental problems with the grid. Without this, India will not be able to serve the growing energy needs of sunshine sectors like information technology and telecom.The surge in enthusiasm for smart grids in the country is good and in fact a positive, forward-looking sign, but if it is not implemented with discipline and cooperation, it will struggle to deliver its real benefits.Industry standards are among the most important foundational elements and form the basis of a "plug-and-work" architecture. Smart grids need standards and practices that integrate intelligent equipment across not just a network, but across multiple diverse industries. Though this is a tall order, effective standards have proven globally to benefit all the stakeholders and India will be no different.Key benefits for each of the stakeholders are:
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