Challenges of Smart Grid Solution Implementation - Indian Context

In 21st century of modern age wherein citizens across the globe are seeking for better life of health, education and other essential amenities from the state, the growing voices of making the right to electricity is being accepted worldwide, which includes India as well. And so not providing electricity is the same as denying the fundamental right. To that effect the law of land enables, i.e., to charge the consumer under Section 45 of Electricity Act but consumer can file writ of Mandamus under Art.226 of Constitution of India.

Putting this in context, it’s essential to supply power to all. As in India electricity outages are common, it is imperative that implementation of the Smart Grid will address the power delivery limitations and disturbances. Smart grid is essentially an infrastructure that involves computer hardware and software, sensors, telecommunication equipment and services that help a customer to use electricity judiciously. Smart Grid is a technological innovation that will enable better electricity delivery infrastructure; helps increase the quantity, quality, and use of information available from advanced sensing, computing, and communications hardware and software.

The implementation of Smart Grid is an arduous task. The issues with the Indian power sector not limited to minimizing T&D losses, power theft, inadequate grid infrastructure, low metering efficiency and lack of awareness. It is necessary to make them smart to reduce AT & C losses. And to reduce AT & C losses, it is necessary to implement the smart grid and smart metering. Utilities are facing challenges in integration of different make smart meters, their data concentrators and Head End Systems (HES). Other challenge is remote meter communication to HES. The high AT&C losses of utilities hamper financial condition of distribution utilities across the country. It has become imperative to address issues and bringing in efficiency, seamless integration of emerging technologies in the field of monitoring, automation, control, communication and IT systems with active participation of all stakeholders thus making the grid’s value chain - generation, transmission distribution and consumer participation in power sector – being SMART(Self Monitoring Analytic and Reporting Technology).

Smart Grid Implementation Agency (SGIA) needs to be perceive and overcome challenges, not limited to -

  • Funding / Budgeting
  • Managing interests of all stake holders involved
  • Developing skilled relevant resources
  • Proper scoping of the project
  • Area Survey and profiling of consumers
  • Identifying, Testing and Certifying the Automation Devices and IEDs(Intelligent Electronic Device ) and
  • Realistic timelines

Utilities are endeavoring to transform age old, legacy power grids into smart distributed power systems with great efforts to resolve the challenges that arise on the way. Major challenges in SG technology are renewable integration, data management, stability, cyber-security, Socio-economic issues, sharing awareness programs are set across various platforms to bring a higher understanding and cooperation, Other issues viz. privacy, regulations, policies, power theft and many other problems are being identified and resolved. Performance of communication system affects entire performance of smart metering. Standardization of metering specifications as per Indian requirement especially in tamper proof meters is not elusive but arduous. We too in India are striving toward the goal of achieving Smart enabled grids. By overcoming of the issues in the way of implementation of a Smart Grid would help reap benefits of saving revenue, managing energy consumption, enhanced reliability, better power management, reliant grid infrastructure, satisfied consumer, green and clean power etc.

  • Eight-Domain Elements of Smart Grid-the Logical Grouping (Source: DHS, 2011)