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India is looking to smart grid infrastructure to help tackle an out-of-control electricity theft problem and improve reliability. Theft costs the Indian power sector $16.2 billion per year. India’s government has already committed billions of dollars in funding for smart grid infrastructure and cumulative spending is forecasted at $21.6 billion over the period 2015-2025, according to a new study published by Northeast Group, LLC, a Washington, DC-based smart infrastructure market intelligence firm.

“India loses more money to theft than any other country in the world,” said Ben Gardner, President, Northeast Group. “The state of Maharashtra, which includes Mumbai, alone loses $2.8 billion per year, more than all but eight countries in the world. Nationally, total transmission and distribution losses approach 23 per cent and some states’ losses exceed 50 per cent. Most Indian utilities are financially unsustainable.”

The central government has responded with billions of dollars in promised funding for smart grid infrastructure. In November 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced $4 billion in funding for smart metering programmes. Additionally, over $8 billion is available for loss reduction programmes and dozens of projects are now underway across India’s 29 states. Northeast Group’s study analyzes the complex regulatory frameworks and industry structures across the states.

According to the study, the Indian government is also helping stimulate the smart grid market by developing 14 smart grid pilot projects across the country. These projects are testing a diversity of technologies and will help set best practices and cost expectations for future deployments. India’s pilot efforts are expected t last until 2017, at which point the government has set a roadmap that calls for large-scale deployments to all large metropolitan areas by 2022 and across the country by 2027. These plans also call for additional investment in renewable energy and microgrid projects.

“India’s electricity demand growth is set to exceed 7 per cent per year over the next decade,” added Gardner. “In addition to smart metering, current pilot projects focus on distribution automation and wide area measurement, as well as home energy management and IT. Overall power sector investment will include adding 43 million new electricity connections and nearly 3 million kilometres of new circuits.”

For international vendors, largely closed out of the China market, India represents the largest long-term smart grid opportunity in the world. International vendors will compete against leading Indian vendors Secure, Genus, HPL, Larsen & Toubro, Avantha, Reliance and others.

Northeast Group’s 225-page study “India Smart Grid: Market Forecast 2015–2025” includes 135 tables and graphics and 10-year forecasts for 14 smart grid market segments. It analyses the industry structure and regulatory framework for the power sector at the central level and across 12 leading states, as well as profiles of key vendors.

Source: Northeast Group, LLC

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