Smart Grid an evolving grid system to help utilities in providing 24*7 electricity to all

India is presently spearheading some of the largest transformation projects with technology interventions for building smart cities, renewable energy and power grid modernization to fulfill the dream of Shri Narendra Modi to provide 24×7 reliable supply of electricity to all the citizens in the next 5 years.

 The Smart Grid is an evolving grid system that manages electricity demand in a sustainable, reliable and economic manner built on advanced digital infrastructure and tuned to facilitate the integration of both demand and supply. The function of the Smart Grid is to use advancements of information and communication technology to make the power system more efficient, reliable, secure and resilient resulting in minimizing additional costly investments in new centralized generation capacity. Smart Grids can provide consumers with real-time information on their energy use, support pricing that reflects changes in supply and demand, and enable smart appliances and devices to help consumers exercise choices in terms of usage of energy.

India is presently spearheading some of the largest transformation projects with technology interventions for building smart cities, renewable energy and power grid modernization. Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has committed to provide 24×7 reliable supply of electricity to all the citizens in the next 5 years. In order to achieve this noble objective several targeted programs have already been launched by Government of India which include: (1) Smart Grid Vision and Roadmap (2) Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana with an investment of US$ 7 billion, (3) Integrated Power Development Scheme that covers 5000 towns with an investment of US$ 6 billion, (4) North Eastern Regional Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP) with an investment of US$ 1 billion, (5) New RE Program with a target of 175 GW by 2022 and investment commitment of US$ 260 billion, (6) 100 Smart Cities and Rejuvenation of 500 towns where smart grids will provide clean and sustainable energy, (7) National Mission on Electric Mobility with a target of 6-7 electric vehicles by 2022; and (8) National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) that will take up development of smart grids on fast track in coordination with the above programs. Government of India is planning to roll out of 250 million Smart Meters in next 5-7 years.

In 2015, the Forum of Regulators approved the Model Smart Grid Regulations to facilitate the integration of smart technologies at the state level. Enabling regulations are required to drive the overall smart grid business through approval of smart grid investments, recovery of these investments through different business models, provision of incentives and penalties to promote adoption of innovative solutions by the utilities, protection of consumer interest and ensuring value delivery.

Besides, an Amendment to the Electricity Act 2003 (which is in the Parliament presently) that will usher in an era of retail competition in electricity distribution. Other key enabling policy initiatives to promote smart grids include: Indian Standards for Smart Meters (IS 16444 & IS 15959) issued by Bureau of Indian Standards, Ancillary Services Regulations issued by CERC, Net Metering Policies in 27 States

Smart Grid is highly dynamic, advanced, and comprehensive in nature, which would need a lot of intervention and investments from different stakeholders. However, the balance between making the power sector more efficient and reliable v/s its associated costs needs to be maintained to achieve a sustainable environment. Specific training programs on Smart Grid are required to create awareness and implementation challenges and matured technologies, standards and framework for all stakeholders.

Hence, it becomes necessary to educate the Regulators, Policy Makers and staff on the practical benefits, costs, and implementation challenges of Smart Grid programs. To fulfill this need, ISGF has developed a “Handbook on Smart Grids for Regulators and Policy Makers” which contains 17 modules related to various aspects of smart grids which is an initiative supported by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation. Further, these modules have been converted into a Three-Day Training Program with an aim to enhance awareness levels of various stakeholders (State Electricity Regulatory Commissions and utilities) on latest technologies and its trends in Smart Grids; Policies and programs for adoption of Smart Grids in India; and more informed and faster decision for smart grid project appraisals.

This training program, based on the Smart Grid Handbook is endorsed by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) . Under this initiative, the first training program was conducted by ISGF in Hyderabad for Regulators and Utilities from Western and Southern Regions. The second in the series of Smart Grid Training Programs will be conducted in Kolkata to cover regulators and utilities from Eastern and Northeastern regions. The key participants in Kolkata training program are from CESC Kolkata, WBSEDCL, WBSETCL, APDCL, WBERC, OERC, AERC, BSPTCL, INDIA POWER etc.

India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) is a Public Private Partnership initiative of Ministry of Power (MoP), Government of India for accelerated development of smart grid technologies in the Indian power sector. Mandate of ISGF is to advise government on policies and programs for promotion of Smart Grids in India, work with national and international agencies in standards development and to help utilities, regulators and the Industry in technology selection, training and capacity building.

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