As the demand for reliable power continues to increase, Nigel Baseley examines India's position as a market for standby power engines.
Clean, reliable and efficient power, when and where you need it, is a key requirement for any rapidly developing country. For that reason, today India is an important market for standby power as people, public services and businesses, both large and small, strive to deliver services, protect livelihoods and ensure the future well being of their families.
Over the last few years, the shortfall in the power requirements needed to sustain the demands of a rapidly growing market and economy, has driven increased demand for and reliance on standby power, delivered through a range of generator sets powered by reliable, dependable and cost effective diesel engines. India's 12th Five Year Plan has identified the investment, development work and delivery programme for a new wave of power plants required to meet the insatiable domestic demand for power, but in the meantime peoples' need for a reliable source of power continues to place a strain both on the grid and on the power distribution system.
Latest reports show that electricity losses in India during transmission and distribution currently stands at around 32 per cent while overall power shortages in the country are, according to statistics, in the range of 10 to 12 per cent, with that figure reaching as high as 15 per cent in the southern part of the country. A phenomenal $1 trillion investment is being made in the country's infrastructure, through the Five Year Plan, which will support the long term stability required to sustain and grow India's economy, but in the interim, these activities require a standby power supply that is both reliable and cost effective.
While India has up until now been regarded by many as a prime power market, the industry seeing an increased demand for standby power generator sets. Requests for standby power in public services, such as the Reliance Hospital in Mumbai, where our Perkins 4000 Series engines provide reassurance that should the mains power fail, lives will not be in danger, or the Delhi Airport Metro line where our 4000 Series engines provide standby power at six tube stations in case the lights go out, are increasing in their frequency.
Reliability and durability are of course, essential features for any trusted supplier of backup power. The engine and generator set must be a dependable and reliable source of power; able to work at a moment's notice, and deliver the power that is required in an instant. The engine must be efficient in terms of running and maintenance costs and be supported by an aftermarket network that can respond quickly; all of which come as standard when a customer selects a Perkins engine for their application.
In conjunction with its distribution partners in India, GMMCO Power and Powerparts Private Ltd, Perkins have been working closely with many businesses and generator set manufacturers, to provide the best and most appropriate power solutions for a rapidly changing marketplace that is contributing significantly to a positive future for India.
This has resulted in the market for diesel engines within EP, whether for prime or standby power requirements, witnessing a significant growth. Peak power shortages across the country and the business development that is being seen, have driven a previously unprecedented demand for generator sets as a source of backup power. This has resulted in many of our customers witnessing substantial growth in their domestic sales over the last few years, supported by customer requests to have the reassurance of a reliable Perkins engine as part of their standby solution.
While each and every installation has its own unique challenges there are some common themes. Reliability, cost-effectiveness and product support are messages are at the forefront of people's thoughts, and while each of these are synonymous with most global markets, there are situations that are distinct to the Indian continent.
For instance, standby power in India is very different to that in a more mature market, with generator sets in standby mode running for eight or more hours a day when brown-outs occur; a much longer period that normally associated with that mode of operation.
From a technological point of view that means the engine has to overcome the challenges posed by its application, its location, its installation and its on-going maintenance. Reliability is a key requirement and that is why mechanical engines are so predominant. These engines offer simplicity yet are extremely robust and capable of withstanding the challenging environment and conditions often imposed on them, while being technologically advanced.
With more than 80 years of engineering experience to draw on; our team of dedicated engineers are focussed on continually optimizing the performance of our engines for standby and prime power applications. We understand that operating criteria can differ across these applications, for example there will be a greater emphasis on increasing power density for the standby market, while fuel economy is pivotal for prime power. Using our expertise, we design our engines accordingly to meet our respective customer needs.
Perkins extensive EP product offering, from 5 kVA to 2,500 kVA, delivers dependability and reliability across the range. Designed for the EP market, our range is optimised for load acceptance and power density, ensuring a competitive level of performance for the standby market. Our ability to tailor our engine to a customer's specific needs means it includes the right technology, ensuring ease of maintenance and low cost of ownership, all backed by our network of distributors who provide ongoing service and aftermarket support.
The independent power sector has an important role to play in helping India to meet its energy needs, both now and in the future. There are situations where it can complement the grid; times where it can take its place and occasions when standby power is the only option available.
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