February 2023

Smart grids are transforming the power transmission and distribution segments by driving digital, sustainable and more efficient operations. These solutions are critical for meeting the increasing power demand in the country and managing grid stability as the penetration of renewable energy sources continues to grow.

Advanced metering infrastructure, which is at the core of smart grid deployment in the power distribution segment, has the potential to turn around the operational and financial performance of power discoms. As of February 2023, over 5.4 million smart meters have been installed in the country. The Ministry of Power’s (MoP) Rs 3 trillion Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme lays significant emphasis on installing smart meters in the country. It entails a total outlay of around Rs 1,500 billion with gross budgetary support of Rs 230 billion for smart prepaid metering for the period from financial year 2021-22 to financial year 2025-26.

To recall, the MoP’s smart grid pilot projects, which were launched way back in 2012, marked the beginning of the country’s smart grid journey. These projects successfully tested smart metering, peak load management, and outage management systems, and laid the foundation for large-scale smart metering in the country. The insights from these projects have helped formalise standards and guidelines as well as the overall implementation strategy for smart grid projects in the country.

Further, the key objectives of the National Smart Grid Mission, which provides an overarching framework for the implementation of smart grid projects in the country, have evolved to meet the emerging requirements. In addition to the implementation of smart grid projects, the mission focuses on guiding the discoms to undertake smart grid projects and provides continuous training and capacity building through specialised training programmes.

In the transmission segment too, the deployment of advanced smart grid and digital technologies is gaining traction to effectively manage and control the network. The digitalisation of systems and processes is being taken up in a big way, with the use of sensors to capture information about equipment and grid parameters. Utilities are increasingly adopting remote monitoring solutions to effectively manage assets. A case in point is Power Grid Corporation of India Li­mi­ted, which has successfully operationalised the National Transmission Asset Management Centre at Manesar in Haryana and regional transmission asset management centres at various locations to effectively monitor and manage transmission assets on a real-time basis.

Power Line’s Infocus section on Smart Grids in India explores the key trends and recent developments in this segment, as well as the major issues, challenges and future outlook.