Smart grid crucial for efficient generation, distribution of power

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Smart grid crucial for efficient generation, distribution of power

Gone are the days of physical detection of faults in electricity distribution system and pilferage, which contributes the maximum to the overall AT&C losses. Technologically-advanced smart grids have brought an end to these problems besides yielding many other advantages. It has become incumbent now for power companies, discoms and consumers to integrate their systems into smart grids for a better, and more secure, future.

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India, the third largest producer and the third largest consumer of electricity in the world, also has one of the largest synchronous grids. The installed capacity of the national grid as on August 31, 2020, was 372.693 gigawatts (GW). It is owned, operated and maintained by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL).

Grid, as most of us know, consists of a network of high voltage transmission lines, substations and transformers that deliver electricity from generating stations (or power plants) to individual customers, which include residences, corporates and manufacturing facilities. In our country, the grid was first established on a regional basis in 1961 and an interconnected regional grid came into being only in 1991 by connecting the north-eastern and eastern grids.

As the distribution infrastructure in our country is riddled with many a loophole, monitoring of the entire process of electricity generation and distribution becomes essential. With constant technological advancements, smart grids have made it possible with detailed tracking of power generated at the source to its consumption at the end-user level.

“In our country, the grid was first established on a regional basis in 1961 and an interconnected regional grid came into being only in 1991 by connecting the north-eastern and eastern grids.

With the constant technological advancements, smart grids make it possible with detailed tracking of power generated at the source to its consumption at the end-user level.  

Improved overall efficiency of the system and contribution towards the economic and environmental health of the surrounding makes smart grid extremely useful.

A smart grid adds resilience to an electric power system and makes it better prepared to address emergencies such as storms, earthquakes and solar flares etc.”

Smart grid technology allows a two-way communication between the utility and the customers. It basically consists of smart meters and energy-efficient resources etc. The system is automated using computers, controls, and sensors to make a grid respond digitally. Improved overall efficiency of the system and contribution towards the economic and environmental health of the surrounding makes smart grid extremely useful.

A smart grid ensures efficient transmission of electricity. In case of a power disturbance, a smart grid quickly recognises the fault and intimates the distribution companies (discoms), which results in a quick restoration and no loss of electricity. There was a time when during power cuts, field operators of disocoms used to look out for faults manually wasting precious man-hours. With the advent of smart grids, it is now much easier, and quicker, to detect the fault digitally. A smart grid also helps in reducing the electricity cost by minimising the peak demand. It also increases the security levels by detecting the electricity theft, if any, easily.

Another major advantage of a smart grid is its better integration with large-scale renewable energy systems. A smart grid adds resilience to an electric power system and makes it better prepared to address emergencies such as storms, earthquakes and solar flares etc.

After the onslaught of the global pandemic, it has become all the more important for power companies, discoms and consumers to integrate their systems into smart grids thereby paving the way to a digitally advanced future.

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