William Ash_Smarg Grid_ProjectsMonitorAs the world’s smart grid requirements develop and shift over the next decades, the IEEE suite of smart grid standards will develop and adapt to those market needs. For the good of all, India’s specific perspective on smart grid implementation must be voiced, writes William Ash, Strategic Programme Manager (Standards), IEEE-Standard Association.

The smart grid movement is globally joined, but its implementation and priorities are locally defined. In India, implementation is organised in 14 pilot projects, all of which point toward a single, overarching National Smart Grid Mission — Quality Power on Demand for All by 2027.

That is an ambitious goal presenting multifaceted challenges. An estimated third of India’s population does not have access to power; demand already outpaces generation; and power quality and reliability are not ideal. But the 14 pilot projects appear to be progressing along their individual paths of development, and the mission delivers necessary clarity to India’s smart grid implementation and priorities.

Issues and opportunities
In tackling grid modernisation, India has homed in on the country’s particular problem areas with regard to power and focused on the emerging smart grid’s opportunities to address those specific key issues:

  • Given that power demand is already skyrocketing and set to escalate at an even more rapid pace over the next decades, India seeks to substantially increase utilisation of renewable-energy sources such as solar and wind and distributed generators such as microgrids.
  • Given that transmission and distribution losses are untenably high, India seeks to create a more robust infrastructure for real-time monitoring, measuring and controlling of power flows.
  • Given that the long-term financial soundness of its utilities must be improved, India seeks to enable better capabilities for asset management and grid visibility that would help keep in check capital and operational expenditures.

Out of these and other drivers among India’s power customers, utilities and government regulators have grown the pilot projects formulated by the India Smart Grid Task Force (ISGTF) and India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF). Utility-specific strategic road maps with detailed implementation plans for the projects are being put into place by the end of this year. Programmes for business-process reengineering, change management and capacity building, as required, are to be initiated by 2014. Technology trials are scheduled for 2015; rollout in urban areas is to happen by 2020, with nationwide expansion of the smart grid implementation set for 2027, the same year of India’s target for achieving 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week quality supply on demand for all of its citizens.

About the author

William Ash received his BSEE from Rutgers University School of Engineering. His background is in the RF industry as he worked as applications engineer on wireless communications systems. Bill has been with the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) for over 10 years, working with standards development groups covering technologies such as RF emissions, distributive generation and the National Electrical Safety Code. He is currently leading the smart grid strategy and implementation for the IEEE-SA.

Role of standards
Global smart grid standards are crucial to India’s smart grid implementation in that they support cost-efficient introduction of interoperable, multi-vendor products that can then be integrated with other applications and capabilities across the infrastructure.

IEEE, in fact, has over 100 active or in-development standards that are related to the smart grid, spanning the range of technology areas that are encompassed in India’s pilot projects, such as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), cybersecurity, electric vehicles (EVs), energy management systems (EMS), microgrids, power quality, storage, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and synchrophasors.

One of the most important factors in the success of India’s implementation of the smart grid is renewable energy. Let’s take a closer look at how standardisation is important specifically to renewables and smart grid implementation.

Because the country’s power supply is already strapped and because so many users are to be added to the aggregate demand, India is counting onrapid expansion of renewable capacity to help it balance the supply-and-demand equation. The challenge with integrating renewables, however, is their intermittency. In that there is no way to accurately predict when the sun is going to shine or the wind is going to blow, for example, renewable sources are naturally intermittent. In order to ensure that their integration does not jeopardise grid reliability and stability, that intermittency must be accounted for.

IEEE 1547 ‘Standard for Distributed Resources Interconnected with Electric Power Systems’ provided a giant leap forward in this area when it was originally published in 2003, establishing performance, operation, testing, safety considerations and maintenance specifications for interconnecting distributed-generation technologies of 10 MVA or less at the point of common coupling with the grid. As the world’s distributed-generation market has matured and new needs have arisen, IEEE 1547 has expanded into a full family of standards to address more targeted requirements such as testing, applications, monitoring, microgrids and secondary networks.

Similarly, IEEE 2030 ‘Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation with the Electric Power System (EPS), End-Use Applications, and Loads’ has developed into a broad family of related standards since the base standard’s publication in 2011.

IEEE 2030 offered the world’s first system-of-systems, foundational standard engineered from conception to support smart grid interconnection and interoperability. It’s an interface-by-interface roadmap across the smart grid that presents smart grid planners with alternatives in how to architect two-way power and information flow and control end-to-end across the grid.

Now the IEEE 2030 family of standards is being grown to more precisely address interoperability and interconnection requirements in areas such as electric-sourced transportation, storage and control and automation.

Though India’s implementation plan is unique to its own country, there is tremendous value in India’s smart grid planners and engineers participating in the global standards conversation. In this way, India will benefit from the lessons learned around the world; also, it will help ensure that ongoing development and refinement of global smart grid standards are shaped by India’s experience and help address the country’s particular requirements.

As the world’s smart grid requirements develop and shift over the next decades, the IEEE suite of smart grid standards will develop and adapt to those market needs. For the good of all, India’s specific perspective on smart grid implementation must be voiced.

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