Interview with Reji Kumar Pillai: “ISGW 2018 will provide a platform to help utilities streamline their smart grid and smart city journey”

“ISGW 2018 will provide a platform to help utilities streamline their smart grid and smart city journey”

The India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) was set up in 2010 as a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Power and industry stakeholders. Since its launch, the Forum has been been working closely with various stakeholders for the promotion of smart grid technologies and projects in India. Ahead of the start of India Smart Grid Week (ISGW) 2018, which is organised by the ISGF and will be held in New Delhi from March 5-9, 2018, Reji Kumar Pillai, president, ISGF, and chairman, Global Smart Grid Federation, spoke about the expected highlights at this year’s conference and exhibition as well as ISGF’s future initiatives…. 

What is the main focus of ISGW 2018?

The main focus of ISGW 2018 is to bring together India’s leading electricity, gas and water utilities, as well as policymakers, regulators, investors and the world’s top-notch subject matter experts and researchers to discuss trends, share best practices and showcase next-generation technologies and products in the smart energy and smart cities domains. Indian utilities will get the opportunity to network with their peers from the Americas, Europe, Japan, Korea, etc. where several smart grid projects have been executed and learn from their project experiences. This will be very valuable input and will facilitate the formulation of policies and project implementation in India.

How is ISGW 2018 different from the earlier smart grid weeks?

ISGW 2018 [which is the fourth edition of the Conference and Exhibition on Smart Energy and Smart Cities] has introduced a full-day parallel session on Water and Gas Utilities that encompasses the larger gamut of smart cities. There is a detailed session on e-mobility and charging infrastructure, considering its relevance and government focus. New technologies like blockchain, machine learning, robotics and drones, and various cross-cutting themes will also be discussed in ISGW 2018. In addition, four bilateral workshops are being organised with France, Sweden, the US and the European Commission to facilitate experience sharing, project partnerships, collaboration and knowledge dissemination.

What are you hoping to achieve at this year’s event?

ISGW 2018 envisages bigger participation by both Indian and international utilities along with policymakers and regulators. It will also provide an active platform to share international best practices to help Indian utilities to streamline their smart grid and smart city journey in terms of both implementation and operations.

How many organisations are participating in the event this year?

About 3,000 delegates and experts from more than 500 organisations from over 50 countries will be participating in ISGW 2018.

What are ISGF’s plans and priorities for the next few years?

ISGF plans to enlarge ISGW as India Smart Utility Week with a greater focus on water, gas and smart cities, in addition to electricity. ISGF will, in the coming years, also magnify its focus on providing advisory services in the smart grid and smart cities domain. ISGF has started to work on the energy storage roadmap for India along with the India Energy Storage Alliance, and will also launch the Grid Modernisation Index for India, which will benchmark Indian utilities on their smart grid journey.