The Changing Face of the Indian Subcontinent

By Murali Venkatraman, IEEMA

Unlike the recent decline in private investments into power production and distribution because of slow power sector reforms in other countries, the central Asian power sector has been fueled by a different kind of energy. This has triggered long-term opportunities for international power investors and greater investment returns in emerging markets. In India, especially over the past decade, power sector reforms have progressed significantly.

The Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA)—India’s apex chamber for the T&D industry—has played a catalytic role in strengthening the power infrastructure during the past 61 years. Asia remains a robust region with governments pouring more than $600 billion in capital for infrastructure improvement and development.

In the 1990s, IEEMA as a conglomerate of private and public power sector companies consistently worked toward deregulation of power enterprises that were in most cases completely state-owned and state-run operations. This renewed focus on the power sector gave due consideration to commercial principles and environmental impact.

IEEMA worked closely with the Indian government machinery to regulate a working plan concentrated mostly on providing reliable power to industrial and residential consumers with emphasis on cost recovery or energy conservation. The net effect has been the creation of policies that result in low energy intensity, high operational efficiency and controlled losses in T&D systems. The legal and regulatory framework has been developed to facilitate the commercialization of the power sector, tariffs have been increased to reflect the actual production cost and payment discipline has been improved. IEEMA has been networking with its overseas counterparts from many countries, exchanging information, assisting members and participating in other joint programs aimed at enhancing business cooperation opportunities. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with countries including China, Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Malaysia. IEEMA is also one of the founding members of Federation of Asian Electrical Manufacturers Associations (FAEMA).


Looking Ahead


IEEMA envisions “electricity for all” in India and global excellence leading to human enrichment, which would require active interaction with the primary customers, namely the utilities.

The Indian government’s ambitious 11th and 12th five-year-plans have projected a significant increase in the intracountry grid. The electrical industry envisions a mindset change toward performance in the generation and T&D space to achieve these enormous targets. (The total capacity addition during the past 25 years between the sixth and 10th five-year plans was approximately 91,000 MW. A total capacity addition of 78,577 MW is planned for the 11th five-year plan (2007 to 2012), which should result in substantial power sector investment.

This translates into an incessant need for numerous power projects, coupled with supporting infrastructure outlays for last-mile connectivity and efficiently managing the electrical products market. As a follow through, this will impose tremendous pressure on the utilities in terms of delivering efficient and sustainable service to the consumer.


IEEMA’s Place in Indian Power


Power is a key infrastructure for growth in Asia and specifically India. IEEMA has a vital role to play in several areas:

  • Providing the single point connectivity between the suppliers and contractors with the ministry/power planning agencies and the utilities.
  • Assisting the utilities and technical regulators in developing appropriate technical standards for products and projects.
  • Focusing on standardization of components to ensure ease of execution in larger volumes.
  • Acting as a neutral arbitrator to recommend standardized commercial terms and conditions that would be fair and reasonable to both the parties in contract.


In the short term, IEEMA sees potential for implementation in the T&D sector in India and, to an extent, in Asia improving the connectivity, quality and stability of the networks. In the medium and long term, however, the streamlining and speeding up of generation projects from concept to commissioning must be improved considerably. Fundamentally, generation projects would be impacted by several complex issues including availability of land, environmental clearances and financial closure, which is linked to the sanctity of power purchase agreements.

The larger picture is that ultimately a large amount of the power will be purchased by utilities with a government ownership and hence, comfort mechanisms for long-term commercial stability needs to be developed.

Murali Venkatraman is president of IEEMA. IEEMA represents India’s manufacturers of electrical, professional electronics and allied equipment with more than 650 members. It has a combined annual turnover of more than U.S. $22 billion. It represents more than 90 percent of all Indian production of electrical equipment, including transmission lines, power distribution transformers, switchgear, substation equipment, conductors, cables and energy meters.

IEEMA will be showcasing ELECRAMA 2010 at Mumbai, India Jan. 20-24, 2010. The ELECRAMA expo showcases power equipment manufacturers in switchgear, transformers, cable, conductors, winding wires, power electronics and consultancy.

On the Net:


UISOL Delivers DR Management to PJM Interconnection


Utility Integration Solutions Inc. (UISOL) has delivered PJM Interconnection’s (PJM) next-generation demand response (DR) management system. PJM’s members began using the system in June. PJM implemented new technology to facilitate the continued, significant DR growth in the years ahead.

DR involves consumers reducing their use of electricity in response to power grid needs or economic signals. They are paid for providing services equivalent to generators.

PJM, operator of the world’s largest power grid, ensures reliable operation of the high voltage power system that serves 51 million people across a 13 state region and the District of Columbia. PJM has worked with its stakeholders to expand demand-side resources and improve the operational efficiency of demand-side programs in its wholesale electricity markets.

PJM sought a new, flexible DR management system to allow participants to manage their demand resources in the market. PJM selected UISOL’s DRBizNet as the foundation for a secure, standards-based system that could cost effectively adapt to meet future needs and market rule changes.

“Our investment in technology supports the growth of demand resources in our markets, streamlines operations for our members and increases the transparency of information,” said Andrew Ott, PJM senior vice president, markets. “We want to be ahead of the curve with the technology supporting our members as demand resources and associated smart grid applications continue to evolve.”


Fortum selects Telvent to implement smart metering in Finland


Telvent will be in charge of project design, development and start-up of the smart meter management system, a component of Telvent’s comprehensive smart grid solution, for the Finnish utility Fortum. The project, valued at more than à¢â€š¬120 million ($177 million), will provide Fortum with real-time intelligence that will revolutionize the customer relations and operations of its power grid.

Telvent will deliver a system, using Telvent Smart Metering Titanium integrated with Echelon’s Networked Energy Services, that will provide the utility’s residential and small-business customer’s continuous access to their power consumption information and therefore the ability to directly and responsibly manage their individual energy use. The system also will allow Fortum to administer and operate its power grid more efficiently, securely and cost-effectively by managing peak demand—particularly during incident and outage periods. The system is expected to significantly enhance overall operations and future customer service levels for the utility.

Altogether, 550,000 Fortum’s residential and small-business customers in Finland will have electric meters in their homes that allow collection of usage information. Telvent will be responsible for managing electrical consumption metering data as well as ongoing system maintenance. Once the system is fully rolled out after three years, Telvent will operate and maintain the system for six years.

On the Net:


PRIME Alliance Launched


The first PRIME (PoweRline Intelligent Metering Evolution) Alliance meeting has been held at Iberdrola headquarters in Madrid. Following the example of other industrial standards, this alliance is seen as a pioneer initiative focused on the development of a new open, public and nonproprietary telecom solution that will support smart metering functionalities and progress toward the smart grid.

The alliance determined that powerline communications is the most suitable and natural technology to provide the needed telecoms performance, even in complex underground electricity grids.

The PRIME initiative was originally conceived as an answer to Iberdrola’s need for a future-proof, cost-effective automated meter management (AMM) solution. During its evolution in the past year, it has evolved into a solution for the overall smart grid deployment, which will contribute to energy efficiency improvement and ultimately to addressing climate change.

The overall performance of the system fully complies with requirements for a new, stable metering infrastructure that is set to become a fundamental part of the smart grids. The openness of the PRIME solution and its focus on interoperability as a way to decrease costs in a competitive framework, has been garnering interest within the industry and markets. For this reason, several of the most committed parties decided to set up the PRIME Alliance.

The PRIME Alliance shuns proprietary technologies and is the result of an open, cost-oriented effort among many partners seeking to develop a future market for common benefit. Royalties and patents are not part of the core PRIME specification. Ownership of the PRIME specification is public.

The PRIME Alliance is the result of a coordinated effort that brings up multiple partners from different industrial sectors to work together to develop a new solution. PRIME Alliance members say they can offer a competitive solution for a new growing market that will boost revenues in coming years.

Principal and founding members of the PRIME Alliance include global companies within their specific business areas: utilities, semiconductor providers, meter manufacturers and technology industrial partners.

The PRIME Alliance is open to all potential partners who agree to actively support and promote an open and public specification for the benefit of end-users and all industry stakeholders. Founding members are: Iberdrola, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Landis+Gyr, Itron, Current Group, Ziv Group and Advanced Digital Design.

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Frost & Sullivan: U.S. Driving Smart Meter Growth, U.K. Lagging Behind


The market for smart meters in Europe, although nascent, is expected to be a push market. It is primarily driven by legislation and the need to handle increasing demand for electricity that has far exceeded the grid’s capacity. Most of the utilities have been forced to improve their measurement and monitoring network structure. Most proactive of all is Italian electricity company Enel Spa with around 33 million meters installed.

“Smart meters form an integral part of the bigger movement toward the smart grid,” said Vikas Ravindran, a Frost & Sullivan research analyst who is working on a study on this subject.

Some countries already have started implementing smart meters, and the most proactive is Italy with around 32.1 million meters installed at the end of 2008. This was achieved at an estimated cost of more than à¢â€š¬2 billion ($3 billion).

Canada and the United States are not far behind. The initial target set by the Canadian government of 800,000 homes by 2007 has been surpassed with more than 260,000 meters installed just in Ottawa. In the United States as part of President Obama’s economic stimulus package, $4.5 billion has been allocated for research related to smart grids, also known as the Smart Grid Investment Program.

In California, the program to roll out 9 million gas and electric smart meters has been approved by energy regulators.

In other parts of the world, similar projects have been commissioned, namely in Australia where the Essential Services Commission of Victoria has rolled out a timetable to install 1 million smart meters by 2013. Even developing countries like India are looking toward smart grids and smart metering.

Things look different in the U.K. The government’s estimate of the total expenditure for smart meter is expected to fall short by £6 billion (almost $10 billion). The U.K. is often referred to as the dumb market for smart meters because it still lags compared with other regions, mainly a result of its poor market design, which prevents widespread adoption of metering innovation. To ensure the market picks up, the country must look at existing strategies, assess a realistic cost benefit plan, and harmonize technical and regulatory requirements in Europe to facilitate easier adoption of smart meters, the study revealed.

“The market in Europe is primarily driven by legislations,” Ravindran said. “Liberalization of the energy market in 2007 along with the evolution of favorable regulatory frameworks has opened up the market. Apart from the legislations, increasing electricity prices and growing awareness at the consumers’ end to reduce their energy bills, as well as the need to control energy consumption levels stated by policies and commitments related to energy efficiency have been instrumental in driving this market.”

With legislation in place, the next logical step is its effective implementation and ensuring a smooth transition from the legacy meters to the new smart ones. This has not happened as expected in Europe, according to Frost and Sullivan. The Energy Services Directive, which was to be transposed into a law by 2008, has not yet taken place. Apart from the legislations, the industry’s main restraint is interoperability—when one energy supplier installs a particular type of smart system into a property, a different supplier should be able to use the basic functions of it, if the customer should choose to change.

On the Net:


Northwestern Team Bids on $178 Million Regional Smart Grid Demo


A diverse team of northwestern energy providers, utilities, vendors and research organizations has submitted a proposal to conduct a regional smart grid demonstration project. The project is designed to lower energy costs, reduce emissions, increase power grid reliability and give consumers greater flexibility.

The proposal responds to a June call from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to create regional smart grid demonstration projects that can show how smart grid technology can enhance the safety, reliability and efficiency of energy delivery on regional and national levels. The DOE is providing stimulus funding via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the regional demonstrations. Proposals were due Wed., Aug. 26. Funding will be announced by DOE later this year.

The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project partnership will be led by Battelle and includes a dozen utilities in five northwestern states and the Bonneville Power Administration. Participating utilities range from investor-owned, municipal and cooperative rural electrical utilities to public utility districts.

The project will involve more than 60,000 metered customers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Using smart grid technologies, the project will engage system assets exceeding 112 MW—enough power to serve 86,000 households.

Following equipment and technology installation, participants will gather energy use information within a two-year period from 15 test sites that represent the region’s diverse terrain, weather and demographics. Test sites range from Fox Island in Puget Sound to the Teton Mountains in western Wyoming and include the University of Washington and Washington State University campuses.

“The proposed demonstration will study smart grid benefits at unprecedented geographic breadth across five states, spanning the electrical system from generation to end use, and containing many key functions of the future smart grid,” said Mike Davis, a Battelle vice president. “The intended impact of this project will span well beyond traditional utility service territory boundaries, helping to enable a future grid that meets pressing local, regional and national needs.”

During the study, researchers will gain insight into energy consumers’ behavior while testing new technologies designed to bring the electric transmission system into the information age. A new combination of devices, software and advanced analytical tools will give homeowners more information about their energy use and cost, and researchers want to know if this will modify their behavior.

If selected, the project will last five years and cost about $178 million, half of which will be provided by the project’s participants. At its peak, it will create about 1,500 jobs in manufacturing, installation, and operating smart grid equipment, telecommunications networks, software and controls.

“The project will measure and validate smart grid costs and benefits for customers, utilities and regulators, thereby informing business cases for future smart grid investments,” Davis said. “It also will help spur a vibrant new smart grid industry and a more cost-effective, reliable electricity supply, both of which are foundations for economic growth and international competitiveness.

“And the information customers receive from the smart grid will empower them to become active instead of passive recipients of electricity.”

In addition to leading the project, Battelle will analyze field data collected during the project.

In 2006, the region participated in the DOE-funded Pacific Northwest GridWise Demonstration Project on the Olympic Peninsula. That project was designed to test and speed adoption of new smart grid technologies that can make the power grid more resilient and efficient. The study showed that advanced technologies enabled consumers to be active participants in improving power grid efficiency and reliability, while saving about 10 percent on their electricity bills.

“BPA is excited to be part of the effort to bring a smart grid project to the Pacific Northwest,” said Mike Weedall, the agency’s energy efficiency vice president. “This technology can help meet increasing power demands, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy independence and help improve national security. If the proposal is funded, it would also create green, sustainable jobs in technology, energy efficiency and other industries in the region.”

Weedall noted the demonstration project builds upon the leadership the Pacific Northwest has delivered to the nation’s emerging smart grid agenda including pioneering smart grid technology, utility applications, customer engagement strategies and policy. For example, the 2006 GridWise Demonstration Project showed how smart grid technologies and consumers can play active roles in managing the grid.


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