Important Challenges Facing Smart Grid Implementation in India
by Philip Cales
Smart Grid is a technological innovation that will enable better electricity delivery infrastructure. India is a country where there are several regions that do not have electricity or where electricity outages are common. It is pursued that implementation of the Smart Grid will enable address the power delivery limitations and disturbances. Smart grid is essentially an infrastructure that is made up of computer hardware and software, sensors, telecommunication equipment and services that help a customer to use electricity judiciously and help him aid in improving the utilities and the performance. In short it is a information rich network of electrical infrastructure and information technology.
Even though this would be a good system for India, there are several challenges facing the implementation of this system. The main challenges that policy makers face are high operating costs and benefit constraints by the regulatory framework. Since there is a necessity for a large communications network, it escalates the capital and hardware cost to a great extent. This might prove dear to the exchequer. Moreover when calculating the benefits of the system, organisations are usually conservative when it comes to calculation of the cash benefits to the shareholders. The smart grid may be a profitable option in the short run but in due course of time misaligned policy and regulatory incentives might make the investment less attractive.
The successful operation of the Smart Grid requires seamless connectivity of technology. In India, communication technology is at par with many developed nations in the world. But in many areas related to communication the extent of which is required for a Smart Grid, the technology is at the initial stages of development. This will reduce the positive impact during delivery of services. Even if the technological developments are aligned there is the issue of integration of the entire hardware system to manage high volumes of data. It requires complex data models to manage the various data formats that flow into the system. As of now there is no such system in India and it needs to be developed.
Lack of awareness among the customers is yet another issue that policy makers will face. Since the system needs to be adopted by customers, they need to be made aware of what a smart grid is and how it could make their life better. Energy consumers in India are not aware of energy consumption patterns or low carbon energy. Awareness needs to be built among the customers about the Smart Grid. Policy makers must be knowledgeable about the future prospects of the Smart Grid.
Utilities need to be focus more holistically on the overall capabilities of Smart Grids than merely implement smart meters. Most importantly the lack of funds is what stands in the way of the implementation of the Smart Grid. The challenges that face the implementation of Smart Grid in India have been mentioned in this article. It will take a rather astute administration to overcome these challenges and implement the Smart Grid systems across India.
Edited by SmartGridInIndia
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