According to Central Electricity Authority, India will face 10.3% shortage and 12.3 % peak shortage of power in 2011-12. Looking at China, which added 100,000 MW of power this year, 10 times more than India, still had a shortage of power, the country not only need more power but needs smart power. Dr. Tongia, principal scientist at Center for Study of Science, Technology, and Policy, a non-profit research organization, provided very compelling and interesting analysis about the need of Smart Grid India in the recent article of Business Standard.
The key takings from the articles are:
Smart Grid, which is driven by need has different priority for each country, In the west, It is driven by labor cost, renewables, and EV to reduce carbon footprint. For India, managing peak load will be key driver as energy cannot be stored for longer duration in large scale it has to be increased or demand needs to be reduced. At present, In the west, it is managed by increasing supply through peaker plants, which are managed at high cost and it is priced in the present cost to consumer, which is going to change with the implementation of Smart Grid. If India follows the west model, the price of electricity will rise to 35%, a very expensive proposition for developing country like India.
The alternative option is reducing demand through demand -side management and variable pricing for peak and off-peak hours, which can be achieved only through Smart Grid.
At present, load is controlled at feeder level and it is involuntary. According to Dr. Tongia, with Smart Grid, that can be ended, furthermore, utilities can provide power in limited quantity, say 300 -500 watts to households to meet their critical needs in the event of power shortage, whereas important, institutions like Hospitals, Colleges, Schools, government bodies can receive un-interrupted supply. Such dynamic control of power supply will provide win-win situation for everybody an help avoid brown-outs and black-outs.It was demonstrated through a small pilot in Mangalore by Dr.Tongia and MESCOM.
With Smart Grid, the future benefits include, increased integration of renewables, load management, better reliability and better service. Hence, Smart Grid is not an option but the only option, which the country needs to march on. Just like any other technology, adoption and transformation of Smart Grid won't be easy and overnight, it will have its own share of excitements, challenges, failure, success, and roadblocks. It will help realize India's 21st Century power dream, in which energy is essential commodity for growth, success, reliability, and security.