Smart grids enabled with the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Analytics can help reduce India’s power losses, thereby providing electricity to millions of households that go without power every day. Such grids with automation, integrated controls, and new technologies such as connected sensors can help in faster restoration of electricity after outages, efficient power transmission, reduced management expenses and integration of energy systems that are based on green and renewable sources of energy like wind and solar energy. This would thus help in managing energy while reducing dependency on non-renewable sources.
Colossal electricity wastage in India during transmission
Industry experts say that the main culprit behind the acute power shortage is not insufficient generation, as many would like to believe, rather it is the huge wastage that takes place during transmission and usage. They are of the view that if transmission losses (40-48% against the world standard of 8%) are reined in power crisis could be managed. The World Resources Institute puts losses due to transmission and distribution (T&D) at around 27% in India—the highest in the world. Millions of tons of coal and billions of cubic meters of natural gas are used to produce the electricity that goes waste.
All this while 40% of Indian households go without electricity and 400 million people remain in the dark. Additionally considering the amount of fossil fuels burnt and the colossal pollution that takes place due to it, the losses are mind-boggling. Initiatives such as Smart City and Digital India heavily rely on consistent power supply. For a cleaner and safer environment, measures would have to be in place to drastically reduce electricity losses and conserve energy.
Digital substations are a must for energy conservation
Along with Smart Grids, digital substations would enable smarter power systems, by bringing about the complete digital transformation of the power sector in India. With renewable energy sector growing rapidly, power generation would be distributed over multiple locations; thus, effectively replacing the conventional model of one-way electricity flow by multidirectional flow, leading to more intelligent energy management. A digital substation would necessitate high-tech monitoring, and communication and control systems throughout the power generation chain, transmission, distribution, storage and consumption, leading to a smarter and more automated power system.
A typical digital substation includes digital communications via fibre optic cables, replacing the customary copper connections utilizing analogue signals. It would enable greater flexibility, availability and safety in the power sector. At the same time, it would reduce costs, risk and impact on the environment. Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) along with integrated communication technology are provided in a digital substation. An IED is a microprocessor-based control and protection device that is used for power equipment, including transformers, circuit breakers, and capacitor banks. The overall increased input of data in a digital substation would pave the way for more sophisticated diagnostics, protection, monitoring, as well as optimization of assets.
“Utilizing the Internet of Things, information and communication technologies, and Cloud computing would lead to greater power grid automation and more efficient management of energy. It would lead to better services and products for the common consumer as well as better optimization of the entire power supply chain and the available natural resources that are depleting fast,” said Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera, a leading Cloud-based business software provider that helps enterprises automate their processes.
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