You are on page 1of 7

What is Smart Grid Gyan?

Smart Grid is an evolving set of various technologies, especially information and

communication technologies, working together to improve the present grid. Being an
evolving technology, it is difficult to define it. Further, the applications of smart grid shall
depend on the location and the requirements, henceforth its definition.
Number of renowned organizations working towards the development of Smart Grid has
come up with their definitions, a few of which has been listed:
A Smart Grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users
connected to it � generators, consumers and those that do both � in order to efficiently
deliver sustainable, economic and secure electricity supplies.
A Smart Grid employs innovative products and services together with intelligent monitoring,
control, communication, and self-healing technologies to:

 better facilitate the connection and operation of generators of all sizes and
 allow consumers to play a part in optimizing the operation of the system;
 provide consumers with greater information and choice of supply;
 significantly reduce the environmental impact of the whole electricity supply system;
 Deliver enhanced levels of reliability and security of supply.

Smart Grid deployment must include not only the technology, market and commercial
considerations, environmental impact, regulatory framework, standardization usage, ICT
(Information & Communication Technology) and migration strategy but also societal
requirements and governmental edicts.
-European Smart Grid Technology Platform
SG3 defines Smart Grids as the concept of modernizing the electric grid. The Smart Grid is
integrating the electrical and information technologies in between any point of generation
and any point of consumption.
-SG3 (Smart Grid Working Group 3), International Electro technical Commission (IEC)
The Smart Grid is a developing network of transmission lines, equipment, controls and new
technologies working together to respond immediately to our 21st Century demand for
-US Government, Department of Energy.
A Smart Grid is one that incorporates information and communications technology into
every aspect of electricity generation, delivery and consumption in order to minimize
environmental impact, enhance markets, improve reliability and service, reduce costs and
improve efficiency.
-Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
Smart Grid, is therefore, a power system capable of two-way communication between all
the entities of the network-generation, transmission, distribution and the consumers. The
aim of smart grid is to provide real-time monitoring and control, and thus improve the overall
efficiency of the entire system apart from inclusion of renewable energy resources into the

What Smart Grid can do for India?

With a growth rate of around 8 % GDP, India's energy demand is expected to increase 3
times in the coming 10 years, out of which 2/3rdwould be carried by the grid. To enable a
similar growth for the coming years, India needs a major revamp of the ageing electricity
system from the transmission to the distribution.
Presently, the Indian electricity system faces a number of challenges:

 Shortage of power
 Power Theft
 Poor access to electricity in rural areas
 Huge losses in the grid
 Inefficient power consumption
 Poor reliability

The present grid system needs a major revamp to address all the challenges mentioned
above. It needs investment in several areas: increasing generation capacity, improving grid
efficiencies and rural electrification. A smart grid is supposed to be the solution to all these
challenges and in fact essential for India's energy security in the future.
In the XIIth plan, the Government has proposed to invest around USD 86.4 billion to
upgrade the present electricity system. It has been done through various programs like
Revised Accelerated Power Development and Reform Program (RAPDRP), Jawaharlal
Nehru National Solar Mission, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY). With
such a huge investment, India has an opportunity to leapfrog into the latest smart grid
technologies as it has done in other sectors like telecommunications.

Characteristics of Smart Grid? How is it different

from the existing grid?
The Smart Grid is a transition of the present energy system into a new era of reliability,
availability and efficiency. However, the scope of this transition is very large and not
defined. To enable proper information sharing between the projects, there is a need to have
a defined functionality and characteristics. Accordingly, the Smart Grid is characterized by
following goal and functionalities:

1. Consumer Participation
1. Real Time Monitoring of consumption
2. Control of smart appliances
3. Building Automation
2. Real Time Pricing
3. Distributed Generation: Incorporation of renewable energy resources into the grid
4. Power System Efficiency
1. Power Monitoring
2. Asset Management and optimal utilizations
3. Distribution Automation and Protection
5. Power Quality
1. Self Healing
2. Frequency Monitoring and Control
3. Load Forecasting
4. Anticipation of Disturbances
6. New products in terms of Value Added Services (VAS)

Smart grid is the pursuit to achieve these characteristics into our present electricity system.

How Smart Grids Work?

The present electricity grid delivers electricity from points of generation to consumers
through two primary systems. The transmission system brings electricity from power plants
to distribution substations, while the distribution system delivers electricity from distribution
substations to consumers.
A smart grid would allow new large-scale, renewable-energy projects to connect to the grid.
On the distribution side, the smart grid would integrate new digital technology into local
electricity distribution networks that would help manage the demand that appliances and
other end-use equipment place on the grid at key times of the day, improve the efficiency of
electricity distribution within local networks, and provide better information about electricity
use in homes, businesses, and public institutions.
The smart grid will also provide the pricing and control system to flexibly integrate new
distributed energy resources�solar panels, energy storage devices, and electric
vehicles�close to the point of demand. Users could charge up their plug-in cars at night to
later feed that power back into the grid as their cars are parked at work or at home during
the day.
In general, working of smart grid technology can be understood by grouping into following
key areas:

1. Integrated Communications
2. Sensing and Measurement-Smart Meters, Phase Measurement Units
3. Advanced Components-Superconductivity
4. Advanced Control and Pricing Mechanism-Real Time Pricing
5. Distributed Generation- Feed-in Tariff, Renewable Energy Resources.
6. Energy Storage
7. Electric Vehicles

The smart grid vision involves a uniformly integrated communication system with the
present power system. Present communication systems have evolved over a period of time
and lack uniformity and thus interoperability. The communication system shall be a two-way
system where the load can be controlled remotely from a control center and also read the
real time power consumption of the load. To enable this real time monitoring, advanced
devices like smart sensors, smart meters and phase measurement units will be required to
be integrated in the smart grid system. It would enable quick fault detection and analysis of
the system, thus increasing reliability. The real time-monitoring and control will enable a
market dependent pricing mechanism and thus a deregulated market. Also, consumers
would be able to feed power back into the grid and earn according to the feed-in tariff. All
these will help in reducing the peak demand and the country's dependence on fossil fuel
energy. The next stage envisaged is incorporation of advanced technologies like
superconductivity in the transmission network to increase the efficiency of the system.
India is the fifth largest producer and consumer of electricity in the world, however, 24x7
power supply still remains a dream unfulfilled.
Despite an ambitious rural electrification programme, India is facing frequent blackouts.
While 84.9% of Indian villages have at least an electricity line, just 46 percent of rural
households have access to electricity. Electricity grids in the developed markets expect
losses below 15%, but the losses by India's state utilities, over the past five years, were
as high as 30% equal to about 1.5% of the country's GDP.

About one-third of that loss is technical, but the rest is either given away for free or at
subsidized rates to farmers, or lost to pilferage. Utility generation companies have little
control over that; the losses are mainly due to the distribution companies which are
mostly state owned enterprises.

These distribution companies also conduct regular load shedding and intentional
blackouts in certain areas to manage demand, as revenue collection doesn't always
cover the bills to power generators. Although India has almost doubled its energy
generation in the past decade by adding over 85 GW of capacity, its old and inefficient
distribution and transmission network lose more than 30 GW of this generated power.

This is a huge wastage of a commodity which is one of the most environmentally

unfriendly to produce. The World Resources Institute estimates electricity transmission
and distribution (T&D) losses in India to be 27 percent - the highest in the world. The
T&D losses are due to a variety of reasons, viz., substantial energy sold at low voltage,
sparsely distributed loads over large rural areas, inadequate investment in distribution
system, improper billing and high pilferage.

The provision of power to the whole of India, urban and rural, is critical for India's
transition to being a modern economy. Currently the quality and quantity of electricity is
far from desirable. The technical losses are inherent in a system and can be reduced to
an optimum level. The major reasons for high technical losses in our country are:

Key Issues
* Overloading of the distribution system without forecasting or analysing electric current
flow leading to wastage of electricity.
* Haphazard growths of sub transmission and distribution system with the short-term
objective of extension of power supply to new areas.
* Large-scale rural electrification through long 11KV and LT lines.
* Poor quality of equipment used in agricultural pumping in rural areas, air conditioners
and industrial loads in urban areas.

The commercial losses are caused by pilferage, defective meters and errors in meter
reading and in estimating unmetered supply of energy. Theft/pilferage of energy is
mainly committed by two categories of consumers, i.e., non-consumers and bonafide
consumers. Anti-social elements avail unauthorized/ unrecorded supply by hooking or
tapping the bare conductors of L.T. feeder or tampered service wires.
Some of the bonafide consumers willfully commit the pilferage by way of damaging
and/or creating disturbances to measuring equipment installed at their premises. Prime
Minister Narendra Modi has set an ambitious target for FY 15 -capacity addition of
17,830 MW power generation of 1,023 billion units and expansion of transmission lines
to 20,882 km and electrify 15,000 villages.

However, just achieving those numbers is not an optimal solution to address the issue
of access of electricity. We have to spend a considerable focus on improving our
transmission and distribution infrastructure while at the same time ensuring proper
metering and reducing theft/pilferage.