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Empowering Smart City Mission Through Clean Energy

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Dr Arun Kumar Verma

Dr Arun Kumar Verma
Joint Secretary
Ministry of Power
Government of India

Smart city is basically for driving the economic growth with qualitative life which should be enabled through local area development and technology. Power can play an important role as without electricity one cannot use technology. Thus, 24X7 power-supply is necessary, says Dr Arun Kumar Verma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Power, in conversation with Shivani Tyagi of Elets News Network (ENN).

Smart cities are incomplete without smart energy, what role is power playing to make cities smarter?

Smart City helps in driving the economic growth with quality of life through local area development and technology. All kinds of civic amenities, economic growth, infrastructure development, should be technology-assisted, so that they are easier to be accessed. One can use it to get the benefit of economic development and good quality of life for citizens. Power is playing an important role as without it, one cannot use technology. Therefore, 24X7 power supply is necessary. Our emphasis is on ‘quality’ which means adequate and reliable supply of electricity. We are also focussing on high voltage supply throughout the day without hindrance. For that, we are focusing on smart appliances and smart ambience. We are not only focusing on adequacy of energy but also looking for “Clean Energy”. Therefore, at least 10% of energy requirement of the city should be from the renewable resources like solar, wind etc. Also, services have to be technology-driven leading to reduction in transaction, ease of doing business and ease of living in the city. For that, your appliances and devices should be adequately smart enough for example: “Smart Meter”. Such devices help a user power supply to decide the time of use to curb the extra load at peak hours of usage and also to reduce the bill.

“UDAY has been introduced by the government so that DISCOMs can improve their finances and systems to become more sustainable and can provide required amount of power to its customers at reasonable cost. Not only UDAY reforms, we also have DDUGJY and IPDS to improve the conditions of DISCOMs.”

How technology is helping power ministry to turn smart power distribution a reality in smart cities? 

There are layers of technology to smoothen the processes but it can’t be done in a single day. Earlier, we were having electromechanical meters and then static meters, now we are thinking about smart meters. Under Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (APDRP), we started computerisation of our offices. Under R-APDRP, energy audit was automated, the consumers are geo indexed. Now, from bills to payment collections, everything is online. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system is there to analyse the electricity uses and other relevant data. Fault analysis can be done easily. Now, the consumers will be notified through an SMS in case of is any disruption or breakdown share any information related to electricity.

The systems are developed to improve the quality of supply. For that, the substations have been brought in the midst of load. We also have transformers-wise and feeder-wise energy audits in R-APDRP towns. There are 1,409 cities under R-APDRP category and more than 2600 cities are covered under IPDS category. Recently, more than 3,500 cities are also sanctioned under IPDS category to improve the systems.

As uninterrupted power supply is the biggest challenge, how do you plan to provide 24×7 power supply to these Smart Cities? 

The country is on its way to uninterrupted power supply, as the Central Government has declared a policy of “24×7 Power to All”. It is envisaged that country would have 24×7 power supply for all in planned manner by 2021-22. However, we are trying to achieve it earlier. Till 1 May 2018, we have to connect more than 18,000 villages. Every house in the rural areas of the country must have power connection. In urban areas, connectivity is available but the quality needs to be improved for 24×7 power supply. To upgrade DISCOMs financial health, reform like UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana) has been introduced by the Central Government. Such reforms will help the government organisations to improve their finances and systems and become more sustainable to provide electricity as per the demand at a reasonable cost.

Not only UDAY reforms, we also have DDUGJY and IPDS to improve the conditions of DISCOMs. The Government of India has done a joint initiative with State governments in this regard. We have created documents known as “24×7 Power to All” that has laid the roadmap for generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, renewable energy and energy conservation. Renewable energy is a very important component. We have set a target of 175 gigawatt electricity production through renewable sources by 2022. Out of the proposed target, 1 lakh megawatt would be produced through solar energy and out of which 40,000 megawatt will be produced through rooftop. So rooftop of buildings will also have its share in developing a smart city.

Clean EnergyWhat are the challenges in development of a smart city?

As we are talking about smart cities, the biggest challenge is coordination. Power alone cannot make a city smart. If we are going to improve the quality of power, we have to lay down the new lines in coordination with the Public Works Department (PWD), drainage department, electricity department, telephone department, as lot many utilities are using at the same space. It will help us to tackle the space constraint. Resource coordination is also required for implementing the system. With a single scheme, it is not possible to do it. One has to have some kind of convergence and innovative financing

Resource coordination is also required for implementing the system. With a single scheme, it is not possible to do it. One has to have some kind of convergence and innovative financing systems, so that agencies have not heavy load of managing the finance. There could be some kind of mechanism that can become revenuedriven easily. To small extent, capacity building is also important when you are going to do this kind of mega changes.

To small extent, capacity building is also important when you are going to do this kind of mega changes.

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