Interview

IT builds intelligence in power grid networks

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In the Indian context smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) are key elements of smart grid deployment says Gagan Kakkar, RGM, Digital Energy, GE Energy, India

Tell us more on the solutions offered by GE for the power utility sector in India?

We have built a portfolio of technologies ranging from 100kW to 100MW of generating capacity and including gas engines and turbines, diesel engine generators and energy storage capabilities, to serve this need in India. GE also offers a suite of modern grid solutions which can help the utilities and regulators to monitor and respond in a coordinated, efficient and reliable manner, automatically responding to critical electrical and economic conditions.

What role can IT solution play in transforming the state of the current performance of power sector? Tell us how can smart metering come as a relief for the distributors?

 IT plays a significant role, and, it calls for an integrated approach towards power utilization byintegrating the electrical infrastructure to communication technology and the information infrastructurewhich builds the required intelligence within the network.GE meters equipped with SmartMeterTM technology meters can help customers manage their energy consumption and costs, while helping the utility improve customer service. Most electricity customers currently pay one set price for electricity, even though the cost to produce electricity tends to be higher during peak hours and lower during off-peak hours. With ‘time of use’ pricing, smart meter technologies may offer lower prices during off-peak periods, empowering participating consumers to better manage their consumption-and ultimately-how much they pay for electricity. These solutions are prevalent in US & Europe today.

A typical deployment will be through the distribution company utility, which can help their customers better manage, and lower, their energy consumption. Ultimately, this will help the utility reduce load and help reduce the need for more expensive generation. The GE meters along with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) communications technology, this technology will enable two-way communications between the utility and the electricity customer, supporting renewable generation at the customer’s home, critical peak and time-of-use pricing and more and in can also be able to detect and respond to power outages.

Technology will play a major role in getting efficiency and productivity in power plants. Tell us your views and challenges of use of technology, automation and wireless technology in India?

Institutions and individuals everywhere are looking for cost-effective ways to use solar, wind and gas energy on a large scale. From an industry standpoint some of the key opportunities & road map going forward would be to understand the generation requirement; i.e. optimize current generation capacity & assets, integrate centralized & distributed renewable for greater interoperability, flexibility, along with the integration of emerging technologies. Also important would be to determine transmission and distribution requirements; i.e. monitor, control & optimize how to move power. Basis this analysis, one would need to architect a communication plan; The grid can’t be smart unless it communicates, monitors, optimize & analyze assets , while ensuring Integration of business systems

 Green energy will be the future of all countries policy and investment framework. Tell us your views on the potential of India to tap green power for consumption in India?

GE sees India as an exciting growth opportunity in the renewable energy segment. With India’s increasing demand for power, exploring alternative energy resources such as renewable is critical to meeting this demand. The introduction of generation based incentive program has shifted the market focus from investment incentives to production incentive, which is very relevant in the backdrop of energy shortfall in the country today. Adequate biomass supply in India also opens up possibilities of distributed, smaller scale renewable power generation. GE’s Jenbacher gas engines are helping meet the unique market need of efficiently supporting a wide array of organic waste sources for producing quality power.

Tell us about your views and impact from the smart grid project in India?

The smart grid banner consists of efficient hardware, smart & intelligent devices and software, like geospatial information systems and demand-side response. In the Indian context smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) are key elements of smart grid deployment with direct benefits including lower commercial losses and improve revenues/ bill collections for the Utilities.

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