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The Effect Of India's Changed Energy Consumption On The Electric Grid


November 11, 2021

Electrification of household and villages is one topic that is often discussed with deep interest especially when dates of political elections are near. India with a population of 1.3 Billion (2019) faces a grim issue of electricity, especially in rural areas. As per reports, in 2016 about 240 million people in Indian reportedly lived without electricity access and those who have access faced serious power breakdown issues owing to increased electricity demand and poor supply even though the country is regarded as one of the largest producers of electricity.

The problem primarily is related to the insufficient or ineffective power grid system in the country which has not been upgraded timely to meet the rising demand of the consumers.

Electricity Consumption in India

The country consumes 1,140.00 billion kWh of electricity per annum. The Indian utility electricity sector has a single National Grid with an installed capacity of 350.000 GW, as on 28 February 2019 out of which 34% is contributed by renewable power plants. The total production of all electric energy producing facilities is 1,390 bn kWh which is 122% of the countries own usage. Still, there are many homes that are powerless and the demand for electricity is growing due to urbanization and increased usage of ACs and electric vehicles.

The Issue with Electricity Grid

The production and supply of electricity in India has improved in recent years primarily due to governmental policies and increased involvement of the private sector in the production of the electricity. Still, the country continues to face major issue with electricity due to factors such as long-distance grid networks, traditional grid system and lack of smart grid technologies such as battery storage technology. The country has five regional electric grids - Northern, Eastern, Western, North Eastern and Southern, all of them play a crucial role in supplying electricity to homes and industries. Some of these grids are old and at the risk of collapse as the demand for electricity increases at both commercial as well as household level. New companies are flourishing with the aim to bring in green technology for sustainable development.

India is making notable progress in the field of green technology with its two airports in Cochin and Chandigarh, respectively. These two airports have been designed to use renewable energy instead of utility. But, this does not mean that India can do everything without repairing the grid network. As more and more of renewable energy are used, the country also needs to work towards strategizing different ways to store the power thus created and supply it through the grids.

In 2012, the country faced a serious power grid failure which led to a cutoff in electricity supply to some regions of the country for 3 to 5 days. The situation was worse in some cases as it was a complete blackout in cities, villages, and industries.

electric grid

So, What Happened to Grids in India in 2012?

On 30th of July 2012, a complete blackout was felt in the Northern region of India covering eight states leading to a load disturbance of nearly 61700 MW. On 31st of July 2012, another grid disturbance was felt that lead to a load disturbance of around 48000 MW.

It took concerned bodies several hours to restore power to emergency sectors including railways and hospitals. After a thorough analysis of the incident, it was found that the grid disturbance was caused by various factors such as –

Skewed load generation balance across the regional grids Depleted reliability margins, failure of Defense mechanisms, the absence of Primary Response from generators, insufficient visibility and situational awareness at the Load Dispatch Center, and Inadequate Dynamic Reactive Reserves

Although the government was able to restore the damage and take adequate action to prevent such incidents in the future, there is a need to ensure that the supply of electricity is in tune with the demand to ensure the effective working of the grids.

Preserving the Grids

The electricity demand in India and other developing countries is on the rising and therefore it is extremely necessary to take action in order to preserve the grids with the latest technology. The recent inventions of green technology are promising but they also need a support system to ensure that their life stays charged up.

There are two ways of doing so one is to control the demand and other is to install smart grids. The smart grids are designed to ensure the efficient transmission of power, swifter restoration of electricity at the time of power breakdown, lowered operational cost, lowered peak demand, and enhanced security, improved integration of large-scale renewable energy sectors.

Blackout or power failure today can adversely affect several dimensions of the economy by hampering the working of the banking sector, traffic, communication, security and more. The loss thus endured is irreversible. The smart grid has a two-way interactive capacity that allows it to automatically reroute the power at the time of crisis like grid failure.  

The smart grid is not only limited to restoring the power, in fact, it is also designed to provide the consumer with the power to control power consumption to ensure that they do not unnecessarily overuse it and contribute in the crisis.

With the smart grids, the consumers will have the right to decide on how much they would like to draw electricity each month. This is also a good way to escape any issue caused by skewed load and the great loss to the economy due to the disaster of 30th and 31st of July 2012.

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