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Cover Story | April 2018

Electrifying Opportunities!

<span style="font-weight: bold;">If numbers speak for themselves, over Rs.65 billion of business queries,&nbsp; footfall of around 298,000 and 1,200 exhibitors, reflected the gleeful sentiment that prevailed at the recently-held Elecrama 2018.&nbsp; </span><br /> <br /> Elecrama 2018 was not merely an exhibition. It reflected the industry sentiment. Looking at the numbers- Rs 65 billion of business queries generated, footfall of around 298,000 and 1,200 exhibitors-it seems all is well with the power sector. The exhibition witnessed attraction from players in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and digitisation. In fact, <span style="font-weight: bold;">Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu,</span> in his address, made a plea to the officials from various state discoms to adopt new technologies for sustainable power solutions. <br /> <br /> He said, 'Industry leaders must embrace digital technologies and come up with futurist solutions to meet India's growing need for sustainable power.' Further, he suggested that the government must support manufacturers of electrical and electronics equipment and protect the industry from cheap imports.<br /> <br /> Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu also called for adopting new technologies to improve energy efficiencies. 'The Indian electrical and electronics industry has the skills and capacity to even explore global markets.'<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Electric vehicles</span><br /> India is expected to witness witness nearly six to seven million electric vehicles on roads by 2020 to reduce carbon emission. Speaking to POWER TODAY during the event, <span style="font-weight: bold;">Dalip Sharma, Managing Director, Delta Electronics India, </span>said, 'At present, the traction of EVs is only in public sector enterprises. Although the number of cars will be a few thousands in number, this will encourage the need for public infrastructure for charging stations. According to me, by 2019-20, India will witness flow of EVs, especially from international players including Tesla.' <br /> <br /> He further added, 'The traction in charging infrastructure will grow in mid-2019 onwards as we will witness influx of international cars which will cost in the range of Rs 2-3 million. And for this, India must be ready with the charging infrastructure beforehand.'&nbsp; <br /> <br /> That said, <span style="font-weight: bold;">Atul Arya, Head, Energy Systems, Panasonic India</span> is of the view that the overall picture created for EVs in India is apprehensive and not the real issue. For instance, he said, 'In India, at present, there are more than 30 lakh e-autos plying on the roads serving millions of commuters despite no adequate charging infrastructure in place.'&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Here, the government has a major role to play. Arya added,'The government agencies must take initiatives to create charging stations at various place such as metro rail stations or junctions, petrol pumps, railway stations, bus depot etc., which will ease burden from private players.' <br /> <br /> Meanwhile,<span style="font-weight: bold;"> Richard Dick, Executive Group Chairman and CEO, Lucy Group,</span> is skeptical about India's EV dream considering the basic infrastructure for charging. 'It's one of the core issues that the world is facing now, including UK. In the UK, EV growth is increasing and there is already some evidence of problems and that is probably going to be repeated in India depending on how rapidly the growth of EVs takes place,' he told POWER TODAY. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Digitisation</span><br /> If thermal power generation has to be reduced with more focus on solar, the transition will need to be backed with digital solutions like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Energy being a vital resource to any business impacts its financials and productivity. Energy efficiency is a key driver of business competitiveness. The global energy landscape is changing and the demand is expected to grow to 28 per cent by 2040. The extent of this increase is likely to be curbed by the improvements in energy efficiency, as increasing attention around the world is devoted to using energy more sustainably. <br /> <br /> Here, <span style="font-weight: bold;">Karen Ravindranath, Program Head, WebNMS IOT</span> makes her point. She said, 'For the top management to monitor daily operation from one point source is a challenge. Through digitisation, one can remotely acquire data, and monitor on a single cloud, so that the management can take quick decisions on rectifying the issues.'&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Speaking about digitisation, smart meters play an important role in the overall energy sustainability. And, who could be better than L&amp;T to explain. At present, says <span style="font-weight: bold;">SC Bhargava, Member -Executive Committee &amp; Senior Vice President (Electrical &amp; Automation), Larsen and Toubro, </span>'Smart meters have a very strong calibration system even though we are making nine million meters but each meter is calibrated. So calibration accuracy of electronic meters is very high. I agree that a lot of discoms are looking at it as an opportunity to find out and reduce the non- lawful usage of electricity, so upto that extent, smart meters play a big role.'&nbsp; The company has recently won Rs 10-billion contract to maintain 5 million smart meters in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar over the next eight years. <br /> <br /> According to <span style="font-weight: bold;">Ashish Tandon, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Landis+Gyr India</span>, the main advantage of installing smart meter is it's a two-way communication process wherein through smart meters all the utilities in India will be updated with the data in terms of usages, theft (if any), electricity consumption etc, and can act accordingly. The usage of smart meters will also help utilities enhance their revenue stream. That is why major private discoms like Tata are opting for AMI. <br /> <br /> He added, 'Currently, most of the utilities are doing their due from the data they have received from AMIs, and are taking action against theft. With smart grids complementing AMI, utilities will have all the necessary data with them to act upon.' <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Transmission overhaul</span><br /> The global power and utilities sector is undergoing significant transformation, which is challenging traditional business models, and paving the way for new technologies. In all major developed economies, utility companies face a tough operating environment, and this is resulting in several new business models mainly based on technological advancements and customer services.<br /> <br /> In India, the record capacity addition in the last couple of years raised the installed generation capacity to over 315 GW, including 50 GW from renewables. The peak demand touched 160GW last year, with daily electricity consumption of 3.5 billion units (BU). It is expected that within the next seven years, India will overtake China to become the world's most populous country registering a whopping numberû1,678.7 million people. In addition, the country's plan for 100 smart cities will somehow add the fuel as chances of more influx and movement of people will lead to an astonishing demand for electricity thereby swelling chances of current transmission network being crumbled like pack of cards. According to Central Electricity Authority (CEA) electricity consumption is likely to see an upswing at 7.1 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) by 2022. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Manish Agarwal, CEO - Solution Business, Sterlite Power Transmission</span> says, 'In the last five years, the country has leapfrogged by adopting such technologies for better results. And now, it's not just Sterlite but other players too which have capacities and capabilities to provide such solution to power utilities.' <br /> <br /> He added, 'We have made a detailed presentation to the Ministry of Power, and are seeking support in this direction where instead of constructing new transmission lines, the government should give emphasis on the existing corridor to enhance the capabilities and capacities.' <br /> <br /> That said, with issues in land acquisition and forest and environment clearance, at present there is a need to upgrade the current transmission network. Importantly, says <span style="font-weight: bold;">Vimal Kejriwal, Managing Director and CEO, KEC International,</span> 'Instead of greenfield transmission projects, its better and easier to strengthen the existing line by putting advanced conductors.' However, he added, 'We have not seen spend on upgradation of transmission lines by state governments. There are a few states which are doing a lot of work on upgrading their network, others are not spending, hence end-up in purchasing power at a higher cost.'<br /> <br /> India's transmission has more than 3.7 lakh circuit km of extra high voltage AC transmission lines with a transformation capacity of 7 lakh MVA and interregional transmission capacity of 75,050 MW. There are 125 numbers of 765kV lines, 1,475 numbers of 400kV lines and 3,900 numbers of 220kV lines. India has a record 11 HVDC elements and a couple of them are in the making. Now here is the catch. According to India's Power Grid Corporation, which owns 85 per cent of the country's transmission assets, of which most of the transmission lines average age is around 35 years. Considering this fact, it needs a complete overhaul, and how. But before we move into how, let's have a reality check. <br /> <br /> Apart from the development of new infrastructure, existing infrastructure is said to be augmented and strengthened to meet increased demand. According to the Power Minister, transmission lines that have been strengthened so far include: the Chandrapur HVDC back-to-back line; the Kolhapur-Belgaum 220kV D/C line; the Ponda - Nagajhari 220kV D/C line; the Raichur - Sholapur 765 kV 2 X S/C line; the Narendra - Kolhapur 765kV D/C (charged at 400kV) line; and the Wardha - Hyderabad 765kV D/C lines between the western and southern regions.<br /> <br /> The Warora Pool - Warangal (New) 765 kV D/C, Raigarh-Pugalur HVDC, loop-in loop-out (LILO) of one circuit of Narendra (New) - Narendra (Existing) D/C at Xeldam to form Narendra (New) - Xeldam 400 kV S/C &amp;Narendra (Existing) - Xeldam 400 kV S/C lines are under implementation.<br /> <br /> According to a report published by CII on Power Transmission Industry approximately 40 per cent (US$3.4 trillion) of the total T&amp;D planned investments will be dedicated to the refurbishment and replacement of existing assets. This is especially relevant for OECD countries, such as the US, the UK, and Germany, where around 50 per cent of the current grid infrastructure will reach 40 years of age by 2035. With more than 1.14 billion people still to be connected to the grid, there is a significant focus on expanding electrification thus necessitating the infrastructure build-out in countries, such as India, Indonesia, Africa, and Vietnam. Around 55 per cent (US$4.6 trillion) of the total investments in T&amp;D will be driven by the need to expand transmission lines to <br /> 75 million km in order to fulfil the new rising demand.<br /> <br /> If the central government's plan of providing 24X7 power to all households by 2022 is to fructify, the challenge of improving the country's transmission network to accommodate the potential surge in electricity demand would need to be dealt with head-on. Experts say digitisation of the network is a must for a sustainable electricity chain in the 21st century. Simply put, a smart grid allows transmission and distribution assets like towers, switches, and transformers to be managed from anywhere within the network. Even the end-consumer gets connected with the larger grid through a smart meter - smart grids also ensure better understanding of domestic electricity consumption patterns.<br /> <br /> According to a survey by research firm IDC, 64 per cent of utility companies consider digitisation of processes as one of the biggest drivers for a transformation in their functioning. In order to deal with the overwhelming data volumes this would necessitate, more than 50 per cent of utilities are conducting pilot projects.<br /> With energy transfer and consumption increasingly being done through electricity, unprecedented changes are underway in its generation, transmission, distribution and consumption due to new trends of 3Ds: decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation.<br /> <br /> Thus, the current role of utilities needs to evolve to be future-ready. A sound and fair regulatory framework can encourage utilities to invest for change while protecting the interests of end consumers. The conventional definition of utility will alter due to convergence of various factors. Future utilities will embrace IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence and plethora of new technologies like block chain to deliver energy. These developments will bring the much-needed transparency in the system, resulting in better consumer experience and lowering costs. A combination of innovation in manufacturing of electrical gadgets, equipment, machineries and energy efficiency programmes are making most industrial manufacturers more efficient than they were a few years ago, experts said.<br /> <br /> For the immediate future, car manufacturers have started edging towards acceptance with major players obliging towards a wider portfolio of electric cars. At the same time, energy storage dispositions in emerging markets globally are expected to increase by 40 per cent annually.<br />
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