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India Smart Grid Week (ISGW) 2015 , March 3- 7, 2015 || Bangalore

Today, India operates the world’s largest synchronous grid covering an area of 3.28 million sq km with connected capacity of 235 GW and about 200 million consumers. Yet another 79 million house holds in India do not have access to electricity and the per capita consumption is one-fourth of world average. Transmission and Distribution losses in India are also quite high- about 26% in distribution and more than 7% in transmission. Government of India (GoI) is determined to leverage SmartGrid Technologies to address these problems. In 2013, GoI issued 'Smart Grid Vision and Road map for India' which is a 15 year road map for transformation of Indian power system to Smart Grids. With the recent activities and the launch of 14 Smart Grid Pilots projects in different states, India has emerged as the hot destination for Smart Grids.

India Smart Grid Forum and Messe Düsseldorf India jointly organized India Smart Grid Week (ISGW) 2015 from March 03- 07, 2015 in Bangalore, India.


Day 1 (3 March, 2015): Smart Grid Tutorial
Day 2 (4 March, 2015): Full Day Conference and Inauguration of Exhibition
Day 3 (5 March, 2015): Full Day Conference and Exhibition
Day 4 (6 March, 2015): Full Day Conference and Exhibition
Day 5 (7 March, 2015): Site Visit

Highlights of India Smart Grid Week 2015

ISGW 2015 was a Conference and Exhibition that brought together India’s leading Electricity Utilities, Policy Makers, Regulators, Investors and world’s top-notch Smart Grid and Smart City Experts and Researchers who discussed the technology trends, shared best practices and showcased next generation technologies and products. ISGW 2015 got the support from numerous national and international agencies such as IEC, CIGRE, IEEE, GSGF, ISGAN, NEDO, CPRI, GERMI, SESI, Ministry of Power, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Urban Development and Department of Telecom.

Special plenary sessions were scheduled as part of ISGW 2015 in which several eminent persons from around the world participated as visionary speakers. Besides several top minds in the smart grid and smart cities domains joined as speakers at ISGW 2015. The world’s top-most thought leaders in the energy sector too shared their views at ISGW 2015 on development needs and future technology trends that India could leverage to provide clean energy access to over a billion people.

Inaugurated by Mr.Devendra Chaudhry, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power, Govt of India, ISGW 2015 witnessed participation from over 700 persons representing nearly 180 organisations.

Key Findings and Recommendations from ISGW 2015

In the implementation of major transformation projects with high degree of technology interventions (R-APDRP and Smart Grid Pilot Projects), India faced several challenges which were discussed at ISGW 2015 and in the light of such challenges and global experiences with similar practises, following recommendations were made as an outcome of ISGW 2015:

a. Capacity Constraints
The capacity issues were mainly due to simultaneous large scale deployments by many utilities which seriously depleted the very limited resources of the supply chain in the country. R-APDRP was one of the largest transformation programs launched in the country that introduced several new technologies which required trained manpower with specific skills in large numbers. No comprehensive programs were undertaken by any agency (public or private) to train manpower to undertake these projects simultaneously and as a result all projects are delayed by few years.

b. Conditions of Contract
The terms and conditions in the General Conditions of Contracts (GCC) that are in use in most utilities is very old and were framed during 1950s with primary focus on civil and mechanical works. These GCCs have clauses on “defect liabilities”, “intellectual property rights”, “confidential information”, “limitation of liabilities” et cetera that are not relevant for contracts involving IT equipment, software and IT services. Despite frequent cries from several quarters, utilities have not changed these contract clauses. These draconian clauses precluded all international agencies from participating in the tendering process of R-APDRP Part-A. All System Integration contracts went to local firms as no MNCs submitted bids. This should be a key lesson for new programs.

c. Qualifying Requirements
Framing appropriate qualifying requirements is always a difficult issue particularly for Government owned utilities. Need to devise fool proof systems to qualify only bidders with prior experience and adequate resources to undertake the projects.

d. Payment Terms
The payment terms in R-APDRP were not supportive of smooth project execution. According to the Model RFP there will be negative cash flow for 6 quarters (18 months) for the best performing agency if everything is done on schedule by both the contractor and the purchaser. The intention of tough payment terms was to avoid contractors drawing major portion of the contract value against supply of equipment and consequently delay commissioning of the full system. However this has only discouraged reputed agencies from bidding.

e. Stiff Templates
A standardized template (System Requirements Specification, or SRS) was given as a baseline, but this was overwhelmingly followed as-is, even when there were reasons to choose (improved) alternatives.

f. Procurement System based on L-1 Bidding:
Utilities in India strictly follow bidding route for all procurements. Smart Grid pilot projects are basically technology trials and world over the practise is to allot such trials on the basis of proposals received and evaluated. New technologies cannot be piloted on an L-1 procurement basis. The Smart Cities projects in Japan, Smart Grid Test Bed in Jeju Island in South Korea, the ARRA Projects in the USA; and the EC projects in Europe are all undertaken in public-private partnership modes in which utilities, research labs and technology companies jointly applied for government grants. Based on the project merits full or part grant was allotted by the Govt and part of the money invested by the industry and the utility. India should explore more pragmatic approaches to undertake “smart” technology projects rather than L-1 bidding route with GCCs of 1950s!

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