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. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The US, China, India and seven others to account for 80% of the Smart Grid Investment

According to the latest report released by Innovation Observatory, 80% of the Smart Grid Investment will be concentrated in 10 countries. It further reveals that Utilities across the world are going to spend more than $378 billion by 2030, however majority of this spending will be in the US, China, India, the Japan, Germany, Brazil, the UK, France, Spain, and South Korea. The US, which will lead the smart grid investment for next 5 (till 2016)  years is going to spend $60 billion on intelligent Smart Grid by 2030. The $60 billion investment includes communication infrastructure, grid automation, system integration, IT System and hardware, home area network, and smart meters. 

The world's most populous and the fastest growing country, China, which plans to roll-out 360 million smart meters by 2030 is going to account 25% of the all the global investment. According to report, China is going to spend close to $99 billion by that time and will overtake the US as the leading Smart Grid country by 2016. The other major countries in the list include emerging economies India and Brazil, which have plans to install over 130 million and 63 million smart meters. 

These are the countries where major action for business, technology, innovation, and skills will happen. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

India Smart Grid Forum seeking talented graduates from top Institutes

The President of India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), Mr. Reji Kumar Pillai, recently announced that the forum  is seeking talented graduates from top Institutes like IITs and IISc for carrying out research work on Smart Grid technologies. Smart Grid, which is a hot buzz these days in energy sector has immense potential to transform the entire power sector into the next big technological hotspot. The term Smart Grid is subscribed to combination of various technologies that in essence will make the electric grid smarter by reacting to various events as per the local needs, which not only will make the energy efficient but also will reduce the carbon footprint. Overall making our planet and livelihood more sustainable. Check out the following links to learn more about Smart Grid.

The adoption of Smart Grid in developed countries is primarily driven by making the future more sustainable,  the same is not the case for India, "It is  not a luxury but a necessity", said,  P.Uma Shankar, Secretary, Power Ministry of India. Smart Grid in India will focus on resolving Indian problems and so it will have following priorities.
1) Smart Grid will be based on Indian model and will be indigenous 
2) Focused towards Power Shortages
3) Prevent theft and other losses
4) Provides power in rural areas
5) Development of alternative power sources
6) Affordable and enables sustainable production of power

To manage the development and implementation of Smart Grid, Government of India (GOI) has formed two entities India Smart Grid Task Force and India Smart Grid Forum with complimentary role and responsibilities. The Smart Grid Task Force is an inter ministerial group and serves as Government’s focal point for activities related to “Smart Grid” whereas, The India Smart Grid Forum is a non-profit voluntary consortium of public and private stakeholders with the prime objective of accelerating development of Smart Grid technologies in the Indian power sector.The forum has an extensive membership from the industry. In order to ensure effective governance and functioning of the forum, it has been divided into 8 working groups: 1) Advanced Transmission, 2) Advanced Distribution, 3) Communications, 4) Metering, 5) Consumption and Load Control, 6) Policy and Regulations, 7) Architecture and Design, and 8) Pilot and Business Model. All the working groups have been represented by the leaders in the respective field.

 ISGF Management
1. Chairman: Sanjeev Kumar (nominee of Ministry of Power)
2. President & CEO: Reji Kumar Pillai (Individual)
3. Secretary & Convenor: Sivakumaran Govindarajan (Schneider Electric, India)
4. Treasurer: V.K.Shah (Power Finance Corporation)

According to Mr. Reji Kumar Pillai, the president ISGF, they are seeking highly motivated and talented students with Bachelors, Masters or PhD background (Preferably Masters and/or  PhD) who wish to spend at least 9 months to 1 year in working on some of the most interesting and challenging areas of Smart Grid.  The candidate will work on areas like cyber security, indigenous smart meter, sensors, and other relevant technologies. It is indeed a great opportunity for talented students, who wish to make difference by  contributing their time and efforts in nation's next big technological endeavor. The students will immensely benefit from this opportunity as the Smart Grid is going to be one of the game changing technology in the coming decade. It is set to play similar role wireless played in communication field to the energy industry. Additionally, working under the guidance of nation's top body along with top researchers in the field will provide the biggest break in their career.

The candidates are likely to work on projects in collaboration with IIT-Mumbai or the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bangalore. For more details regarding the research programme, please write to at or Interested candidates are requested to submit their resume and cover letter by email at or

with contribution from Pratik Sonthalia, IIT Roorkie

Sunday, March 4, 2012

First of the announced eight smart grid pilot project implementation process starts

The first Smart Grid project is finally coming up in India in he union territory region of puducherry (earlier known as pondicherry). According to announcement, In the presence of Chief Minister N Rangaswamy, Department of Electricity and Power Grid of India Ltd (PGCIL) signed memorandum of understanding (MOU). The first of the announced eight smart grid pilots is coming up in puducherry on experimental basis. In which, 25 crore is going to borne by Power Ministry and rest of the total 77 crore is going to be borne by state government. However, in this case, PGCIL will borne the entire share of the state government, which is the main collaborator of the project.

The main features of the project will be Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) along with central data control unit. With the advance technology, the department of electricity will be able to monitor the power usage, effectively locate power theft and malpractice and ultimately curb them. Smart meters will provide the consumers capability to check their power usage and corresponding bills at any point of  the time. It is predicted that with AMI, department will be able to bring down the power losses from 22.6% to 8 %, which will be significant in terms of energy savings for power scarce country like India.