Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Smart Grid Interaction:IEEE-SA pinpoints four key challenges for Smart Grid Implentation in India

What are the Smart Grid Implementation Challenges in India?
The Power Industry calls for a complete switch into the next generation through automation. Despite monetary issues, power utilities need to begin with basic automation systems eventually upgrading to the advanced systems.  By analyzing the growing power demand and market competence, this is the only way-forward for the domestic power industry. The implementation of Smart Grid is not going to be an easy task as the Indian power sector poses a number of issues  such as minimizing T&D losses, power theft, inadequate grid infrastructure, low metering efficiency and lack of awareness.

Power theft: Power theft has been one of the major  issues in India. A few ways to help prevent the power theft are the use of overhead lines that are insulated and the LT overhead wires used for distribution of power  could be replaced with insulated cables in order to minimize the theft of energy through hooking. The conventional energy meters could be replaced with digital tamper proof meters and the use of prepaid card is  yet another solution to eradicate theft of energy.

Inadequate Grid Infrastructure: For India to continue along its path of aggressive economic growth, it needs to build a modern, intelligent grid. It is only with a reliable, financially secure Smart Grid that India can provide a stable environment for investments in electric infrastructure - a prerequisite to fixing the fundamental problems with the grid.

Low metering efficiency: The commercial losses are mainly due to low metering efficiency, theft & pilferage. This may be eliminated by improving metering efficiency, proper energy accounting & auditing and improved billing & collection efficiency. Fixing of accountability of the personnel / feeder managers may help considerably in reduction of AT&C loss.

Lack of awareness: The understanding of consumers on how power is delivered to their homes is very minimal.  Before implementing Smart Grid concepts, they should be educated about  the Smart Grids, the benefits of Smart Grid and Smart Grid’s contribution to low carbon economy. Consumers should be made aware about their energy consumption pattern at home, office etc. Utilities need to focus on the overall capabilities of Smart Grids rather than mere implementation of smart meters. Policy makers and regulators must be very clear about the future prospects of Smart Grids.

Smart Grid being an expensive affair, in your view, how should India tackle the financing challenge?
The major challenge for implementing smart Grid in India is availability of funds. Huge investments are required in order to setup a link between the customers and the Smart Grid. The cost of setting up more plants can be deferred drastically. At that point of time, more emphasis will be on overall development of T&D efficiency based on demand response, load control and many other Smart Grid technologies. With timely and detailed information provided by Smart Grids, customers would be encouraged to avoid over use, adopt energy-efficient building standards and invest continually in energy efficient appliances.  To tackle the Smart Grid future, we need to have  compelling Smart Grid consumer products, collaborative vendor partnerships and a willing investment community. The  policy makers and regulators have to implement a robust incentive model frame work  to attract more and more private investments keeping the rate of return, based  on the output generated.  Policy makers and regulators can mitigate this by seeking economies of scale and implementing advanced digital technologies.

What role does IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) have for smart grid development in India?
India is ranked as the third largest market for smart grid investments. Smart grid is a strategic area of focus for IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA). Through India Smart Grid Task Force, an initiative of Ministry of Power, India, IEEE-SA have been able to create an initial momentum in this area. The India Smart Grid Task Force is an inter ministerial group and serves as a government focal point for activities related to Smart Grid.

To drive the smart grid development in India, IEEE-SA is dedicated to working with industry professionals, academia and government officials. A Standards Interest Group (SIG) for India has been formed as the first step and it provides a platform for the Indian technical community to participate in global standards development. As one of the world's leading standards development organizations, IEEE-SA acts as a catalyst to bring standards developed in India on a global scale. In addition to standards development, IEEE-SA is focusing on creating awareness and educating about smart grid through various workshops and panel discussions across the country. Efforts are being made in India to create a collaborative environment which will work towards setting global standards wherein deployment of interoperable technologies using the Smart Grid will become a reality faster.

What are the key achievements, actions and initiatives of IEEE-SA in India?
IEEE-SA is actively growing its engagement in India to educate, and promoting Smart Grid Standards interests in the country. With the formation of Standards Interest Group (SIG) for India, IEEE-SA has successfully engaged India and its professional technical community in global standards development including those for the Smart Grid. Outreach programs like Smart Grid workshops deliberating the role of standards and challenges in the Indian context are also being conducted across cities.  IEEE-SA have conducted outreach programs to directly interact with Indian companies in order to focus on the field of power, communications and information technology, to solicit their interest to participate in IEEE standards projects.

Smart Grid Cyber security being a major challenge- what impact, according to you, will Standards have on the Smart Grid Cyber Security?
With the transition to digital electricity infrastructure comes the challenge of communication security and data management; as digital networks are more prone to malicious attacks from software hackers, security becomes the key issue to be addressed.  Smart Grid success depends on the successful handling of two major IT issues, i.e   security & integration and data handling. With an increase in computers and communication networks   the   threat of cyber-attack has also increased invariably. Utilities can use and implement cyber security standards to reduce the venerability to the consumers and provide a higher reliability that their valuable information is being protected. Implementing cyber security measure through the use of standards will help reduce software and implementation cost.

As it is observed, there has been certain degree of backlash and apprehension to Smart Grid implementation in developed countries, particularly in the USA. How do you think a country like India with its vast diversity and political complexities should address these issues?

IEEE-SA is closely working with groups in India, such as the engineering community including vendors, utilities, academics to participate in the standards development and work towards implementing smart grid successfully in India. Also having the technical participant from India provide requirement to ensure standards development groups to understand and identify any possible gaps and address some of India technical issue. Also because of the challenges that India has, a more robust grid will be welcomed.

An interaction with Srikanth Chandrasekaran, Regional Program Manager, IEEE Standards Associations

Friday, August 3, 2012

IEEE Standards Association is now an Associate Member of India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF)

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), a globally recognized standards setting body within IEEE, today announced that it has become an associate member of the India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) promoted by Ministry of Power, Govt. of India. The membership will allow IEEE-SA to attend forum meetings and participate in initiatives driven by the forum. The growing role in the Indian smart grid market is in line with the stated commitment of IEEE-SA to play a macro role in evolving the right ecosystem for effective smart grid implementation here. IEEE-SA will bring its deep standards related knowledge and arising perspectives to the deliberations at the forum and thus make it more holistic.  IEEE-SA has been continually investing over the past two years in creating wider awareness of Smart Grid as a concept and also in bringing multiple stakeholders together to transfer best practices and knowledge from other Smart Grid markets worldwide.

Commenting on the membership, Bill Ash, Strategic Program Manager, IEEE Standards Association, said “We believe ISGF is the apt platform for the facilitating role we have chosen to play and are pleased to be the first association to become a member. The membership marks a significant step forward in our growing engagement with the Indian Smart Grid market. Beyond participation, we will actively contribute and help ISGF achieve the objectives it has set for itself.”

IEEE-SA has launched key standards and guidelines such as the IEEE 2030® Smart Grid Interoperability Guide, the first such standard that aids interoperability of energy, information and communications technologies; IEEE 1547TM, the first guide for implementation of Microgrids and the IEEE 1901TM standard for Broadband over Power Line. More standards are in the pipeline providing among the most comprehensive, globally accepted and validated set of standards that enable better interoperability, connection, communication and management of the various elements that go into a Smart Grid. Currently, IEEE-SA has over 100 standards and standards-in-development spanning the entire Smart Grid spectrum.

About ISGF:
The India Smart Grid Forum is a non-profit voluntary consortium of public and private stakeholders formed with the objective of helping Indian power sector to deploy Smart Grid technologies in an efficient, cost-effective, innovative and scalable manner by bringing together all the key stakeholders and enabling technologies. Visit for more information.

About the IEEE Standards Association:
The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards setting body within IEEE, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stake holder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE SA has a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 500 standards under development. For more information visit

About IEEE:
IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit it to humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a variety of areas ranging from a aerospace systems, computer sand telecommunications to bio medical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at

(Press Release)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Massive power blackouts answers why smart grid is the necessity for India

In this modern era when everything runs on electricity, power is a lifeline, without it, life is unthinkable and unsustainable.  This was well experienced by more than 620 million (roughly 10% of the world population) people in India by two successive power blackouts. Trains, metros, traffic lights, and many essential service halted which caused chaos everywhere. People traveling were stranded on railway station, metros, bus stop or on the road, water delivering system stopped, miners were trapped in mines, no Air-conditioning or even fans in this intense heat. With all sort of in-convenience and pains, the financial and productivity loss is yet to be counted, which may be massive when the figures are released. The swath of more than 2000 miles from the border of Pakistan to the border of Myanmar was affected.  By many expert this is probably the world's worst power blackouts, In India where brown-outs are so common in day to day life, many essential services like hospitals, airports police stations, and some businesses were well equipped with backup power to carry out their operations normally.

NY Times reported, "The country which is considered rising economic power this massive electric grid failure was an embarrassing reminder how intractable problems are still plauging India : Inadequate infrastructure, crippling power shortage, and according to many critics and yawning absence of governmental action and leadership."

Power outage affected regions (courtesy: NewYork Times)
What caused two successive power failures in northern and eastern India is yet to be known, which may take several months to figure out, and as per Reuters, it may never be precisely known as it is a complex process. Nonetheless, various media reports and experts revealed that possibly and most likely reason could be overdrawing of power by certain states due to excessive demands which is attributed to high heat and below par monsoon which prompted farmers to run electric motors to water their dying crops. In essence it is a demand-supply issue. Even in normal scenario, India has peak power shortage of 10.2%, according to recent government report.

On one end, the below normal moonsoon and excessive heat created unprecedented scenario that skyrocket demand, whereas on other end the low level of water in dams would have reduced energy output causing huge demand -supply gap. This would have caused failure in one regional location that generated cascading effect in whole transmission and distribution network. According to,  the director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said, “The increasing gap between electricity supply and demand has long been a matter of concern,” 

Though government has taken series of steps to increase the generation capacity, it has lagged behind its own five-year target plans. While, there are more than 300 million people who are yet to receive electricity in India; the demand is increasing day by day due to host of factors; such as higher growth -  which requires more energy due to increase in economic activities and better quality life, climate change - causing unusual weather condition again needs more electricity to maintain normal temperature, Populist politics - offering free electricity, this is causing wastage of energy. In addition to this, almost 30 -50% generated power is lost due to theft and other technical and non-technical factors.

Over the years, the generation capacity has increased, however such complex challenges cannot be handled just by increasing the generation. A variety of urgent measures are needed to overcome the various challenges that are spreading like a wildfire.

Smart Grid is such a solution, which intends tackle all aspect of energy from generation to distribution to utilization. According to Wikipedia, "A smart grid is an electrical grid that uses computers and other technology to gather and act on information, such as information about the behaviors of suppliers and consumers, in an automated fashion to improve the efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of the production and distribution of electricity."

While, the developed economies are adopting smart grid for greater reliability and sustainability, for countries like India it is indeed a necessity. As pointed out by the Samir Sachdev in GovernanceNow,  "Had there been a smart grid, this crisis could have been easily been avoided. A smart grid would have shared the data in real-time which would have helped to instantaneously identify the fault. Smart grid would have also initiated self-healing and would have cordoned the fault line and restricted the impact of the failure." Mr. Sam Pitroda, the chairman of India Smart Grid Task Force (ISGTF) said, "While it may be difficult to guarantee perfect power availability, in the current context, we can at least replace blackouts with brown-outs by providing a basic threshold of power to all households, with which to run at least a few key appliances.” as reported by

In recent past, the government has taken series of steps to address various issues plauging the energy sector, such as rolling out R-APDRP program in 2004, Setting up India Smart Grid Task Force and India Smart Grid Forum, National Energy Efficiency Mission, however this development are moving at its own pace.

Though Smart Grid may be a panacea for the India's ailing power-grid and energy sector, according to Rajit Gadh, who founded UCLA's Smart Grid Energy Research Center, "India’s first challenge is to make the vast grid easier to monitor, so that engineers can spot the cause of an outage quickly -- even in advance." "When you have less data coming in about the grid, there is less number of things you can do and you are often shooting in the dark," says Gadh as reported by

The other options that Smart Grid offers is establishing MicroGrid - an island of power generation and consumption which can run on its own and may even help the Grid in stress. MicroGrid could be installed at a campus such as the one developed by Cisco and Wipro at Lavasa, or at commercial -scale, something Echelon is working on at high-end residential complex in Hyderabad, reports GreenTechMedia.

Demand Response is another such options which allows to manage peak power by offsetting the demand through pre-negotiated reduction in usage by the group which is ready to shift its needs to off-peak hours. An Indian start-up ecolibrium energy is working on this aspect in Ahmadabad-Gandhinagar region.

Such a massive power outage is a wake-up call for the national government to pursue Smart Grid at a higher priority in order to achieve energy sustainability. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Smart Grid automation firm ZIV Groups acquired by Crompton Greaves

Crompton Greaves (CG), the flagship company of Avantha Group, which is into business of power equipments and consumer durables has acquired Spanish smart grid automation company ZIV Groups for $185 million (Rs. 1015 Crore). The Mumbai based company is India largest and world's 10th largest transmission and distribution equipment maker company. Since 2005, it has acquired 10 companies to expand its business and market and now operates in 21 countries. With this acquisitions, the company has expanded its product portfolio and now broadly operates in three business segments - power systems, industrial systems, and consumer goods.

With its 11th purchase the ZIV group, CG intends to expand business operation into the emerging sector of Smart Grid. ZIV, which provides digital equipment for grid automation and Advanced Metering Infrastructure has so far installed 1.4 million IEDs for utilities and industries across the world. With operations in more than 50 countries, ZIV Group has significant presence in Brazil, Spain, India, and the USA.

The Smart Grid market is set to reach €90 billion by 2020, which represent important market opportunity for emerging company like Compton Greaves which has global ambition to become leader in its segment. Furthermore, its transmission and distribution offerings may well complement with ZIV's grid automation product that will enable the company to offer complete suit of products to its clients.

According to CEO of ZIV Group Mr Norberto Santiago Elustondo, “We feel very confident about the next phase of our relationship with CG as we know very well our colleagues as a result of the Joint Venture in India. This development will be a catalyst to grow the ZIV activities in new parts of the World Market. By this fusion with CG, together we will get the most from ZIV’s innovative technology”.

About Crompton Greaves:
CG is a pioneering leader in the management and application of electrical energy. CG operates globally, is present in 21 countries and employs more than 12000 employees.  CG provides electrical products, systems and services for Utilities, Power Generation, Industrial and Consumers. The company is organized into three business groups: Power, Industrial and Consumer.  Nearly, two-thirds of its turnover accrues from Product Lines in which it enjoys a leadership position. CG is a part of the US$ 4 Bn Avantha Group. The Avantha Group has an impressive global footprint and comprises 8 successful, diverse entities.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Students at IIT Bombay develop iPDC an Open Source tool for Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS)

The continuous increasing demand for power along with integration of distributed power sources such as micro-grid and renewable energy into the ever expanding electric grid has increased the complexities of managing the reliability of the power grid. Frequent blackouts and brown-outs continuously remind us the need for better electric grid that provide intelligent and automated system for online monitoring and proper control and protection of the Grid.The Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU), which is also know as Synchrophasor, is the key component of the Wide Area Monitoring and Control System (WAMCS). The Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS) is primarily used for managing the grid reliability by continuously monitoring the status of the grid through PMU deployed at specific location in the transmission network. PMUs through  GPS provide synchronized time based voltage and current Phasor measurement at sub-second rate, so that system operators and planners can continuously monitor grid status allowing them to manage power quality. Thus, WAMCS is considered to be an important element for transitioning current power grid into futuristic Smart Grid. 

The data generated at sub-second level through multitude of PMUs require proper storage and management for which Phasor Data Concentrator widely known as PDCs are used. Though, there are various propriety systems, there isn't any open-source tool which can be used by the students, industry, and research community. One such system has been developed by IIT Bombay students Nitesh Pandit and Kedar Khandeparkar, which is known as iPDC.  The objective of iPDC project is to create an IEEE C37.118 Synchrophasor standardized Phasor Data Concentrator and PMU Simulator, on which research students and others can develop and test their algorithms and applications. The purpose of iPDC released as a Free Software to its availability for users without any restriction regarding its usage and modification. And in future get the contribution from users and developers all around the world.

Industrial Use:

iPDC is a Phasor Data Concentrator with basic functionalities. iPDC internally performing the time sequencing, wait time, generating of combined data frames for each UTC time and putting the measurements into database. It currently not having any visualization application for measurements, but it is possible to integrate the any existing visualization application to the iPDC database or direct receives combined data frames from iPDC over IP. It could also be used for testing for protocol, and working of any PMU.

Currently, there are not readily available ways to test the operation of PDCs. The problem is that it is nearly impossible to have enough PMUs to max out the PDC and you can't cause a real PMU to operate incorrectly to test the response of a PDC. Even most commercial manufacturers don't have programmable PMU Simulators, so iPDC's PMU Simulator allows anyone to test PDCs. Virginia Tech University M.S. Student and others have used the PMU Simulator and perform the testing for couple of commercial PDCs. PMU Simulator is successfully tested with PMU Connection Tester.

What is iPDC?

iPDC is a free Phasor Data Concentrator that collects data from Phasor Measurement Units, iPDC's and other PDC that are IEEEC37.118 standard compliant. It time aligns and combines the received data into frames as per IEEEC37.118 and sends to other iPDCs. It also has the feature to archive received data in the MySQL database on local disk or remote machine disk. A friendly graphical user interface will enable a user to add or remove new devices (PMU/iPDC) and also send different command frames to the devices from which the data is being received. Software is built to be working on Linux platform

Phasor Data Concentrators (PDUs) (Source:

iPDC Features:

iPDC is compliant with IEEE C37.118 Synchrophasor standard.

iPDC capable of receiving the data from PMU and PDC/iPDC.

iPDC would generate combined data frame by performing time aligning, sorting for each timestamps.

iPDC able to send data frames to other iPDC's as well as other applications.

iPDC directs the received data frames to MySQL database server for storage.

The iPDC-database server may run on the local or remote machine.

iPDC has option to connect via TCP or UDP.

iPDC has a file structure, that stores all the connection and CFG details as being iPDC status.

iPDC Setup File can be reload at restarting of iPDC.

iPDC is a multi-threaded application, hence the performance is optimistic.

iPDC has user friendly Graphical Interface.

iPDC is built on free and open source technologies.

What is PMU Simulator?

PMU Simulator would act as a server and bind port for UDP or TCP communication protocol. It would be listening for UDP connections on UDPPORT or for TCP connections on TCPPORT. The PMU Simulator receives the command frames from PDC and sends the configuration frame and data frames to PDC. Both the communicating peers authenticate each other through ID Code.

PMU Simulator Features

PMU Simulator is compliant with IEEE C37.118 and successfully tested with the PMU Connection Tester.

PMU Simulator is configurable for both TCP and UDP communication protocols.

PMU Simulator has option to read the PMU measurements from the csv file and generate Data Frames.

PMU Simulator has options to introduce different errors in STAT Word at run time.

With single installation multiple PMU simulators can be run on a single machine simultaneously.

PMU Simulator could be configurable for both 50 & 60 Hz of frequency system.

It also has the configuration modification option like add/remove phasor channels at run time.

PMU Simulator is a multi-process and multi-threaded application, hence the performance is optimistic.

PMU Simulator has user friendly Graphical User Interface.

PMU Simulator is built on free and open source technologies.

Project websites:

Nitesh Pandit, Kedar Khandeparkar

Contributors: Nitesh Pandit, Kedar Khandeparkar

Friday, June 22, 2012

Few days left for upcoming smart grid conference in India

(Press Release)
I thought you would be keen to learn about our upcoming conference, Smart Grids India 2012, to be held on 28-29 June, at the Hilton, Mumbai.
This initiative will bring together the most influential industry experts from the power sector such as government and regulatory officials, state-owned and privately-owned transmission and distribution companies, leading power producers and renewable energy providers.
This exclusive event is specifically designed for 60 players only from the T&D industry, and will give you the opportunity to interact closely with leading organisations and regulatory bodies such as ISGF, GETCO, UGVCL, CEA, GERC, PGCIL, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, Reliance Infrastructure and Torrent Power among others!
If you have an innovative and cost-effective product, service or solution that you wish to showcase to this group, this will be an excellent networking platform for you!

We have exciting discount offers available! Contact Ms Asan Bano on or +91 (022) 4046 1466 to register now!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Smart Grids India 2012: Upcoming Smart Grid Conference in India

With India rapidly becoming a hotspot for a flourishing smart grids industry, and the implementation of revolutionary pilot projects, I wanted to inform you about the upcoming Smart Grids India 2012, taking place at Hilton Mumbai International Airport, Mumbai, from 28-29 June

This strategic event is the only platform where you can meet all the key innovators among the service providers within the industry, such as System Integrators, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) companies, manufacturers of smart meters and cutting-edge technology suppliers!

Witness strategic case studies being discussed by industry experts including: 

Reji Kumar Pillai, President, Indian Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) and Managing Director, Magnetar Venture

Y K Sehgal, Executive Director, Smart Grids, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL)
S K Negi, Managing Director, Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation (GETCO)

Dr Pramod Deo, Chairman, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC)

NSrivastava, Managing Director, Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited (UGVCL)

Ajoy Rajani, Vice President, Reliance Infrastructure 

Satya Gupta, Additional General Manager, IT, TATA Power Delhi Distribution Limited

Smart Grids India 2012 will provide you with strategic insights into the seamless integration of digital solutions with the grid, the implementation of cost-effective technology in the network and the integration of tailor-made software solutions with renewable and non-renewable sources of energy amongst other key concerns of the industry.

So block your diary, and attend this business-critical conference to gain access to all the vital technology insights you need to drive your smart grid projects to commercial success! Also, be a part of an exclusive Speed Networking session with industry stalwarts! With all this, Smart Grids India 2012 really is an opportunity not to be missed! 

(Press Release)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

IEEE 802.11™ Expanded to Support Faster, Higher-quality, Simpler Wireless LAN Communication in More Environments

IEEE, the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, today announced the publication of IEEE 802.11™-2012, which defines the technology for the world’s premier wireless local area network (LAN) products.

The new IEEE 802.11-2012 revision has been expanded significantly by supporting devices and networks that are faster, more secure, while offering improved Quality of Service and, improved cellular network hand-off. IEEE 802.11 standards, often referred to as “Wi-Fi®,”already underpin wireless networking applications around the world, such as wireless access to the Internet from offices, homes, airports, hotels, restaurants, trains and aircraft around the world. The standard’s relevance continues to expand with the emergence of new applications, such as the smart grid, which augments the facility for electricity generation, distribution, delivery and consumption with a two-way, end-to-end network for communications and control.

“IEEE 802.11 is obviously a standard of tremendous impact for developers and users of Wi-Fi-enabled devices, service providers, the global smart-grid community, manufacturers, healthcare workers and retail service providers around the world,” said Phil Solis, research director with ABI Research. “In the 15years since the standard’s original publication, we’ve seen wireless networking evolve from a curiosity and nice-to-have capability to a must-have feature for doing business in a wide range of industries around the world. It’s a capability that today is expected to be embedded in almost any communications device, and it’s a service that’s expected to be available to employees and customers almost anywhere in the world.”

IEEE 802.11defines one MAC and several PHY specifications for wireless connectivity for fixed, portable and mobile stations. IEEE 802.11-2012 is the fourth revision of the standard to be released since its initial publication in 1997. In addition to incorporating various technical updates and enhancements, IEEE 802.11-2012 consolidates 10 amendments to the base standard that were approved since IEEE 802.11’s last full revision, in 2007. IEEE 802.11n™, for example, defined MAC and PHY modifications to enable much higher throughputs, with a maximum of 600Mb/s; other amendments that have been incorporated into IEEE 802.11-2012 addressed direct-link setup, “fast roam,”radio resource measurement, operation in the 3650-3700MHz band, vehicular environments, mesh networking, security, broadcast/multicast and unicast data delivery, interworking with external networks and network management.

“The new IEEE 802.11 release is the product of an evolutionary process that has played out over five years and drawn on the expertise and efforts of hundreds of participants worldwide. More than 300 voters from a sweeping cross-section of global industry contributed to the new standard, which has roughly doubled in size since its last published revision,” said Bruce Kraemer, chair of the IEEE 802.11 working group. “Every day, about two million products that contain IEEE 802.11-based technology for wireless communications are shipped around the world. Continuous enhancement of the standard has helped drive technical innovation and global market growth. And work on the next generation of IEEE 802.11 already has commenced with a variety of project goals including extensions that will increase the data rate by a factor of 10, improve audio/video delivery, increase range and decrease power consumption.”

(Press Release)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mera Gao MicroGrid Power among the 10 emerging tech list of Technology Review

Electricity, which is a basic necessity in developed world is a luxury to millions of Indian living in rural areas. Energy Scenario in India is complex, on one hand close to 400 million mostly rural residents do not have access to power, on the other hand where power is available, almost 50% generated energy is lost duet to poor electrical infrastructure and power theft. At the same time, the economy is growing at 7-8% per year, and the demand for energy is skyrocketing for all practical purposes. Due to acute energy shortage, global climate issues, and scarce resources India cannot pursue traditional model for energy generation and distribution.

The country has to adopt new model such  as distributed generation or MicroGrid, where sustainable energy is generated and distributed in local area. Nowhere is so practical and sustainable than rural India, where energy demand is up-to basic needs like lighting bulbs, cooking, or charging cellphones. Such needs, which are at present met by expensive and/or polluting fuel like Kerosene and Woods, provide untapped market for clean tech companies, especially, when government is facilitating this opportunities through National Solar Mission.

One such company known as "Mera Gao MicroGrid Power (MGP)", which serves this "Bottom of Pyramid " market was recently selected for its unique MicroGrid technology as one of the 10 emerging technology of 2012 by the Technology Review.  Mera Gao Power provides seven hours of electricity to per household that powers two LED light bulb and a mobile charging station through its Solar MicroGrid for the cost of $0.50 per week. Founded by two US born entrepreneurs, Nikhil Jaisinghani and Brain Shaad, It primarily operates in Uttar Prades (UP), which is one of the poorer state in India where shortage of electricity is so acute. According to Technology Review, the falling cost of LED and Solar panels has made it possible to operate MicroGrid that provides services for which the poor can afford. The MeraGaoPower uses just four solar panel to supply electricity to 100 households at the total cost of $2500. The grid uses 24 volt DC throughout, which allows to use aluminum wiring instead of the expensive copper wire. To effectively minimize the loss of energy, the village is carefully mapped before installation for efficient arrangement of distribution lines.
MGP Micro-Grid model (source

According to Jaysinghani, the mapping and design is their biggest innovation. The company, which deployed the first commercial micro-grid in last summer, is now supplying power to eight more villages and has plan to scale upto 50 villages by end of this year. For which, it has received $300,000 grant from USAID, however,  according to guardian, the founders have vision to supply micro-grid based power to 100,000 household by 2016 requiring many more investment in the future. The Distributed Energy Generation (DER) is $2 billion potential market in India considering 114 million people spend $75 for such services per month, according to World Resource Institute (WRI),a Washington DC based think tank.

For Villagers, who don't have access to grid electricity, this means cheap quality power at home and relief from kerosene, which is pollutant and health hazard, for which, often they have to pay expensive price due to black marketing.  The mobile charging station provides another relief from traveling long distance for the sake of charging phone and paying expensive price. According to Guardian report,  for the villagers it is just more than light, it is an opportunity to do more after the dark. The report describe what villagers feels in their own words. 

"I wanted this light straight away, as it enables me to cook after dark," said Muni-devi, a grandmother from the village of Kaharanpura who makes samosas to sell at the local market. "With longer hours to work, I can earn more for my family each day."

Santram Pal, a father of four from the neighboring village of Chuck, was exuberant, too. "I'm very happy with the lights," he said. "Now my children can study at night and my house won't go so black inside from the smoke. Thieves won't come either."

Friday, April 27, 2012

New IEEE Standard and Development Activities Designed To Aid Smart-Grid Communications And Distribution Automation

IEEE, the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity,today announced the publication of a new standard, as well as the launch of three new standards-development activities, all designed to enhance the communications and distribution-automation capabilities of the smart grid globally.

 “Many of the benefits that the world hopes to achieve through smart-grid development—such as empowering greater consumer choice in energy use, improving the reliability of power generation and distribution and more efficiently meeting skyrocketing power demand—are dependent on integrating significantly more robust systems for communications and distribution automation,” said Dr. W. Charlton Adams Jr., past president of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).“The new standards activities approved by the IEEE-SA Standards Board are designed to enhance those very capabilities—and, in doing so, accelerate realization of the smart grid’s revolutionary promise.”

IEEE-SA has published IEEE 1591.1™-2012 – Standard for Testing and Performance of Hardware for Optical Ground Wire (OPGW). OPGW is being used in the smart grid to provide both grounding capabilities for transmission lines and communications back to utility systems such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). IEEE 1591.1 provides manufacturing, testing and procurement specifications for use with OPGW hardware. The new standard is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.Smart-grid standards projects newly approved by IEEE-SA include the following:
standardized definitions of such systems.

IEEE P1909.1™–Recommended Practice for Smart Grid Communication Equipment -Test methods and installation requirements – is intended to document testing and installation procedures that are geared specifically for communications equipment to be installed in various domains of the smart grid, such as generation, transmission and distribution. Safety, electromagnetic capability (EMC), environmental and mechanical tests are to be covered in the recommended practice, toward the goal of improving the safety and reliability of a wide range of smart-grid communications equipment.

IEEE P1703™–Standard for Local Area Network/Wide Area Network (LAN/WAN) Node Communication Protocol to complement the Utility Industry End Device Data Tables – is intended to improve the cost efficiency and flexibility of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployments. The standard is being developed to define uniform, managed, adaptive and secure network data and message delivery for plug-and-play, multi-source utility meters, home appliances, communication technology and other ancillary devices.

IEEE P1854™– Guide for Smart Distribution Applications Guide – is being developed to categorize and describe important smart distribution applications and fill a gap for standardized definitions of such systems. The guide is intended to cover advanced automation and SCADA systems for reliability improvement, outage management, fault location and management, voltage and var management, distributed-resource and renewable-generation integration, demand response, advanced protection, equipment diagnostics and asset management, real-time simulation for system optimization, microgrids and many other applications.

The guide is intended to cover advanced automation and SCADA systems for reliability improvement, outage management, fault location and management, voltage and var management, distributed-resource and renewable-generation integration, demand response, advanced protection, equipment diagnostics and asset management, real-time simulation for system optimization, microgrids and many other applications.

With a portfolio of more than 100 active standards or standards in development relevant to the smart grid, the IEEE-SA is a global leader in smart-grid standards development, as well as smart-grid vision, awareness and education.

About the IEEE Standards Association The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body within IEEE, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together abroad stake holder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE-SA has a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 500 standards under development. For more information visit

(Press Release)

Monday, April 16, 2012

ITU 2nd Green ICT App Challenge Focuses on Smart Energy

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) along with Telef√≥nica earlier in the year announced two ICT Application challenges to uncover the innovative role of ICT in Sustainable Energy to support the 2012 UN declared International Year for Sustainable Energy for All. The first challenge known as "Green ICT Hackathon" was held on February 28-29, 2012 during World mobile congress held at Barcelona, Spain. The 2nd challenge focuses on innovative concept paper for which the deadline is extended till 31st May, 2012 is open to all ITU member state including India. 

ITU Press Release 
"The 2nd Green ICT Application Challenge invites innovative Concept Papers for ICT applications that support ‘sustainable energy for all’. As the global economy undergoes a necessary shift towards renewable energy sources and sustainable energy production, ICT is playing a key role in transforming energy distribution, with technologies such as smart grid, smart metering, smart billing and electro-mobility allowing people to exert more direct control over the volume of energy they consume. ITU encourages entrants to submit Concept Papers that build on these exciting innovations, suggesting new ways in which users can improve their own energy efficiency.The winning entry will receive a cash prize of USD 3,000 at an award ceremony to take place during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. For more information on the 2nd Green ICT Application Challenge." 

Ideas for the Challenge 
Below are some ideas for topic areas, but these are simply suggestions and should not limit your imagination
  • Energy efficiency: in sectors such as smart buildings, intelligent transport systems, smart homes, etc.
  • Access to Energy: smart metering, energy billing systems, energy management, etc.
  • Renewable Energy: smart grids, renewable energy potential, electric vehicles, etc
Who Can Apply 
The Challenge is open to individuals from "member state" of the ITU. Individuals must be of the age of majority in their country at the time of entry.Staff of the ITU and of the sponsor(s) of the Challenge as well as members of the Jury are not eligible to participate in this Challenge.

A cash prize of USD 3,000 will be awarded by the ITU for the best and most innovative Concept Paper.


The submission period begins on 1 February 2012 at 12:00 PM Central European Time (“CET”) and ends on 31 May 2012 at 12:00 PM CET.

Award Ceremony
The author of the best and most innovative Concept Paper for a “Sustainable Energy for All” ICT application will be awarded the cash prize of USD 3,000 in Paris, France, on 18 September 2012 during the 2nd ITU Green Standards Week

Information about the Challenge, including Rules, Timeline, Award, is available on the ITU-T website at:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Two Smart Grid pilots to be implemented with USTDA grant

The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) recently announced two grants to support U.S business development in clean energy Infrastructure development. Henry Steingass, the regional director of USTDA signed the two agreement at the luncheon hosted by the U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson. "India has ambitious energy infrastructure development goals," stated Steingass. "We are pleased to join this trade mission to support those goals, and to help open the market for U.S. clean energy technologies, which are among the best in the world."

The grants are awarded to two private sector companies namely, Azure Power and CESC LTD. The solar power developer, Azure Power, will be given the first grant to carry out feasibility study for rural solar micro-grid that will bring electricity to remote villages which are off the grid. Azure power aims to develop 100 such micro-grid, which will be based on 2-3 acre of land with little or no connection to the existing electric grid. The second grant will be given to another private company CESC Ltd., which supplies  electricity to 2.5 million people in Kolkata. It will help CESC carry out feasibility study for implementing Smart Grid technologies to their entire electricity distribution system. The study will develop Smart Grid pilot project as well as broad implementation guidelines, which is top priority for CESC as it will help improve energy efficiency and reliability to their customer base. 

According to announcement, these projects are results of the joint commitment made by President Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh under the agreement of Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). Apart from substantial benefit to India's clean energy mission, the successful implementation of this project has opportunities worth $250 million for the US companies. 

According to the press release, "The opportunity to conduct the Azure Power and CESC feasibility studies will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website. A link to the FBO announcements will be posted on USTDA's website at Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions in the FBO announcement". 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Echelon implements Microgrid in India and South Africa

Microgrid, which is also known as distributed generation, is part of the overall Smart Grid technologies. It generates energy primarily using renewable sources like Solar, Wind, Biogas, and Fuel cells. The generated energy is supplied to the local area and may or may not be connected to the main grid depending on its Geo-location. It has all the function of the larger grid, generation, transmission, and distribution, but supplies energy to only limited area, hence it is called micro-grid. Nonetheless, it has variety of advantages over the larger grid;  power loss over the transmission and distribution is very low as the generation is located closer to the consumption area, capital cost is low, can be implemented without any changes to local geography or demographic. Additionally, it reduces carbon emission and thus supports sustainable livelihood.

Echelon, which is one of the leading Smart Grid technology company,  has deployed two microgirds one in India and another in South Africa. According to Echelon press release, "The model micro grid deployments are at Palm Meadows in Hyderabad, India, and Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg, South Africa. Palm Meadows is an 86-acre integrated gated community with 335 homes and residential services. Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg is a retail building with more than 240 stores. Such micro grids are likely to be a best practice in emerging countries grappling with intermittent power supply, and are also applicable in environmentally conscious countries that are aggressively incorporating renewable and intermittent energy sources into the distribution network."

"Smart micro grid an ideal way to integrate local generation at the community level and allow for customer participation in the electricity enterprise," said Michael Anderson, senior vice president of Worldwide Markets for Echelon. "Micro grids sit at the edge of the smart grid and provide real-time analysis, decision making and control. The Palm Meadows and Clearwater Mall deployments are great examples of how Echelon's commitment to leading the worldwide transformation of the electricity grid into an energy control network can foster market innovation. The concepts demonstrated in India and South Africa can be replicated worldwide to improve power reliability and to integrate energy efficiency solutions as well as renewable generation."

The Microgrid market is set to grow 164%  between 2011 and 2017 with installed capacity increasing from 620 MW to 1.6 GW according to cleantech market intelligence firm Pike Research. There is growing interest across the world especially among educational, research, commercial, healthcare, and industrial campuses. The campus Microgrid market will reach upto $777 million by year 2017. 

Palm Meadows, India

The Palm Meadows community ties into the grid at a dedicated substation and sources energy in bulk from the utility. The community also runs diesel generators and will incorporate solar generation in the future. Residences within the community are equipped with Echelon smart meters that connect into data concentrators at distribution transformers and feed near real-time usage information to Echelon's Networked Energy Systems (NES) system software. Echelon partner Grene Robotics' Skynet management application automatically turns on local generation if utility-delivered power is inadequate. The Skynet software interfaces with the NES system software and creates a bill for the customer that reflects the customers' actual use of lower cost grid power and more expensive locally generated power. Customers have the option of reducing usage at times when the more expensive energy is being supplied. The Palm Meadows micro grid is providing reliable service even during frequent utility grid outages and enabling the customer to make intelligent trade-offs between comfort and cost. 

"When you flip that light switch, turn your television on, or boot up your computer, you expect power," said Kiran Penmatcha, CEO of Grene Robotics. "Like a national power grid, the Palm Meadows micro grid manages generation, distribution, and the regulation of the flow of electricity to its households. We are pleased to have helped implement a proven, open and multi-application energy control infrastructure that enables Palm Meadows to become distributors of energy within their community. Today, the community is evaluating the integration of solar generated electricity for the future. Tomorrow, the community may look to add other applications, such as outdoor lighting control on the same infrastructure."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Five new standards and standards development project announced by IEEE

IEEE, the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, today announced five new standards, as well as a modified standards-development project, that are all intended to aid the efficient rollout of the smart grid worldwide. The new standards and standards projects recently approved by the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Standards Board carve critical new dimensions into the IEEE portfolio of more than 100 active standards or standards in development relevant to the smart grid.
"The new standards approved by the IEEE-SA Standards Board are the byproduct of intensifying smart-grid deployment around the world," said Judith Gorman, managing director, IEEE-SA. "New lessons have been learned, and best practices and insights on challenges are surfacing as smart-grid rollout continues to gain steam globally. The IEEE-SA has been a worldwide leader in smart-grid standards development even prior to the movement's inception, and these standards and projects underscore our ongoing commitment to accelerating realization of the smart grid's far-ranging and futuristic promise for power users, utilities and manufacturers alike."
Smart-grid standards newly published by IEEE-SA include the following:
-- IEEE C37.118.1(TM)-2011 -- Standard for Synchrophasor Measurements for Power Systems -- is intended to define synchronized phasors and frequency measurements in substations, along with methods and requirements for verifying such measurements in power system analysis and operations under both static and dynamic conditions. IEEE C37.118.1 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.
-- IEEE C37.118.2(TM)-2011 -- Standard for Synchrophasor Data Transfer for Power Systems -- is intended to specify a method (including messaging types, use, contents and data formats) for real-time communications among phasor measurement units (PMUs), phasor data concentrators (PDCs) and other power-system applications. IEEE C37.118.2 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.
-- IEEE C37.238(TM)-2011 -- Standard Profile for Use of IEEE Std. 1588 Precision Time Protocol in Power System Applications -- is designed to provide precise time synchronization within and among substations across wide geographic areas via Ethernet communications networks. The standard is intended to extend proven techniques for precise time distribution to applications such as mission-critical power-system protection, control, automation and data communication. IEEE C37.238 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.
-- IEEE C37.232(TM)-2011 -- Standard for Common Format for Naming Time Sequence Data Files (COMNAME) -- is designed to define the naming of time sequence data (TSD) files that originate from digital-protection and -measurement devices. The standard procedure--gaining in popularity among major utilities, independent system operators and manufacturers and recommended for use by North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC)--helps resolve problems associated with reporting, saving, exchanging, archiving and retrieving large numbers of files. IEEE C37.232 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.
-- IEEE 1020(TM)-2011 -- Guide for Control of Small (100 kVA to 5 MVA) Hydroelectric Power Plants -- updates an existing IEEE standard to address significant technology changes impacting small hydro-plant control issues and monitoring requirements that have emerged since the guide's original publication. IEEE 1020 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.
Additionally, IEEE-SA recently modified the scope and purpose of an existing standards-development project related to the smart grid. IEEE P1409(TM) -- Draft Guide for the Application of Power Electronics for Power Quality Improvement on Distribution Systems Rated 1 kV Through 38 kV -- is being developed to introduce and define the emerging technology of "custom power" and detail guidelines and performance expectations for its application in improving power quality and control. IEEE P1409 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.
About the IEEE Standards Association
The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body within IEEE, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stakeholder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE-SA has a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 500 standards under development. 
About IEEE
IEEE, the world's largest technical professional association, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.