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Energética India | September / October 2015

MR. RAKESH KHANNA CHIEF ADVISOR, TARA Diversification of India’s power sector for a better future The adaptation of the smart grid vision to the Indian context offers the potential to revolutionize electricity supply and increase the probability of achieving the Government of India’s electricity sector goals sooner and more effectively. Government of India has been struggling with last mile connectivity between villages and the state run electricity grids. Even large distribution companies have very low penetration in this market on account of power shortages and relatively higher costs and associated risks of servicing rural consumers. Given the nature of renewable technology, generating electricity ‘off-the-grid’ and in a decentralised manner is an attractive option. Some of the nascent developments that have taken place in the renewable energy space in India are categorized into three segments: In the first segment, large grid connected power plants are established and all of the electricity produced is fed into state-run utility grids (which may or may not service rural areas) The second segment consists of handheld portable devices such as solar lamps or very small solar power stations – both of which are meant for domestic use by individuals The third and perhaps largest segment of the market is that of rural customers who need utility grade power. There is no active player in the rural electricity market who can cater to the entire spectrum of emerging needs of the rural customers. Decentralised generation and distribution of power through smart micro grids is possibly the most viable way to serve the needs of such consumers. The future lies in decentralised renewable energy based mini-grids India in recent years has seen tremendous growth and potential for solar based energy generation. Solar technology has been identified as one of the most promising decentralised energy applications having significant potential to reduce emissions at the generation end. Solar based energy generation is now being accorded as an application that can help off grid rural areas and micro scale industries in reducing their dependence on the grid. Conventional power stations in the present scenario of energy generation are centralised and often require electricity to be transmitted over long distances. In comparison, renewable energy based systems are decentralised, modular and more flexible. Located close to the villages, they typically serve with a capacity ranging from 30 KwH to 100 KwH. Micro discoms / utility businesses can actually cater to energy demand with all the latest load monitoring gadgets to help the individual customers create and establish his / her specific load demand with supply at preferred hours and thus pay only for use and not the ancestral and established KW/hr rate system. Frankly speaking the ancestral system has actually spoilt the consumer habits and led to misuse of energy supply at the premises, whereas a decentralised micro grid is a localised grouping of electricity generation, energy storage and loads that normally operate connected to a traditional centralised grid (macro grid) which can be disconnected and thus the micro grid can function autonomously. Reality Check Generation and loads in a micro grid are usually interconnected at low voltage. From the point of view of the grid operator, a connected micro grid can be controlled as if it were one entity. Use of renewable energy sources such as small hydro, biomass, biogas, solar power, wind power and geothermal power play an important role for the energy supply through micro grid distribution system and can resolve the short comings of distribution network over long distances and make the local community more responsible with availability of power at the required hours and payment for the same as per demand and usage. The system has its own short comings and integration problems. Solar PV and wind power both have intermittent and unpredictable generation, so they create many stability issues for voltage and frequency. However, this issue can be resolved by integrating with intelligent hybrid inverters. Vision is the Need The adaptation of the smart grid vision to the Indian context offers the potential to revolutionize electricity supply and increase the probability of achieving the Government of India’s electricity sector goals sooner and more effectively. High pitch voices being raised at the national and international platforms for deep rooted POWER SECTOR 78 energética INDIA · SEP | OCT15


Energética India | September / October 2015
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