Good quality power enables a technologically advanced set-up to facilitate good quality of life for people by delivering ´smart concept´ in a holistic manner. For example, e-mobility is a critical aspect of a smart city which can be implemented by providing uninterrupted power.
Across the world, the pace of migration from rural to urban areas is increasing rapidly. According to UN projections, by 2050 about 70 per cent of the population will be living in cities, and India is no exception. With increasing urbanisation and the load on rural land, the government´s announcement of ´100 smart cities´ is a fitting solution to cope with the challenges of urban living.
As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rightly said, ¨Unless new cities are developed to accommodate the burgeoning number of people, the existing cities would soon become unlivable.¨ With an initial budget of Rs 7060 crore allocated towards the development of 100 smart cities, the Government´s developmental goals are clear. Development of alternate cities, built as smart cities, is the only way, not just for India but for the world. Most smart cities will incorporate more or less the same features or amenities; however, the scale may differ based on factors such as economic and technological development of the country. It is essential to have a smart plan to build and develop a smart city.
In terms of infrastructure, the smart cities should have 24x7 availability of high quality utility services like water and power. Good quality power enables a technologically advanced set-up to facilitate good quality of life for people by delivering ´smart concept´ in a holistic manner. For example, e-mobility is a critical aspect of a smart city which can be implemented by providing uninterrupted power. From experience, a smart city fundamentally rests on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based solutions for public transportation, public utilities, and town planning backed by sustainable design. The idea is to deliver real-time information about the city for an ideal balance. For eg: Managing supply and demand for electricity and optimising energy networks within a smart environment.
Smart Cities that are developed from scratch will lead the race in timely implementation owing to existence of space to build modern state-of-the-art infrastructure.
An ideal blue print for power generation requirement and delivery modules in smart city, will constitute:
Smart grid and transmission
One of the best possible solutions to meet the energy demands of smart cities is the use of a smart grid. It modernises power systems through self-reliant designs, remote monitoring and micro grid establishments. It updates and educates consumers about power usage patterns, related costs, and alternative options to drive autonomous decisions about the use of electricity and fuels. The loop ends with providing a safe and reliable integration of the components of the energy mix.
Smart fuel to generate power
Garbage waste originating from mega cities can be used to generate electricity along with other options like solar roof top, wind and biomass.
In most cases, smart cities are likely to be located near the megacities that generate average garbage of 5000 tons per day. This solid waste can be used to generate power by using the right non-polluting technology to minimise gas emission as per international standards.
The use of smart metres helps customers to monitor their energy bills, by supplying information at regular intervals. A similar concept is being implemented in the towns of Naroda and Deesa in Gujarat. Like cell-phone users, the residents of these cities can choose a plan for electricity consumption. Said to be a pilot project, it will study consumer behaviour and propose a tariff structure based on usage and load on power utility. Eventually this grid will work on ´the time of day´ concept. For eg. If the demand is at peak during the 7 pm - 11 pm, the tariffs will be higher for that period.
The demand-supply issues of most smart cities can be solved by the concept of Demand Response (DR). DR balances demand and supply on a regional basis, when there is a shortage of supply. It alerts customers to reduce use of power through in-depth analysis of data. There are two methods in which DR can be made available; monetary compensation or time-based pricing. The other aspect that can be explored is a technology that can assist in diverting generated electricity, if not used, at the specific point of usage. This holds true for energy generated through sources like solar.
For instance, Tata Power had launched a Demand Side Management (DSM) program for its customers in Mumbai for encouraging energy efficiency a few years ago.
The successful roll-out of the smart city blue print will also require equally smart manpower that will ensure timely implementation and continuous surveillance. India, with its talented pool of technocrats, has the advantage of skilled manpower that is mandatory for the implementation of state-of-the-art technology. As per a recent report by HFS Research, one in three engineers recruited by Apple is an Indian. Given the huge potential India has, we can utilise homegrown talent to innovate on world class technology and seamlessly implement it for local growth and development. Overall, the approach of not just the establishment but that of the consumers will also need to change. The government´s policies are a reflection of its affirmative approach towards the pragmatic implementation of policies. The consumers will now have to prepare themselves for a system that will require them to self-regulate and contribute towards the growth and development of the economy.
Once the government begins the development of smart cities, it will be up to the citizens of the nation to adapt to the change. After all, it is the citizens that can make any technology, city or in this case, a grid, operate smartly.
This article has been authored by J K Rajan, Senior Vice President, Industry & Mobility, T_V S_D South Asia.