Farooq favours smart grids for optimal use of renewable energy


Bangalore : Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah Tuesday called for building smart grids to supply quality power and make optimal use of renewable energy such as solar, wind and nuclear power.

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“Besides augmenting power generation through new technologies and resources like solar, wind and nuclear (power), we need to build modern, intelligent (smart) grids to provide a stable environment for investments in electricity infrastructure,” Abdullah said at a seminar on “Smart Grids – Business Opportunities” here.

A smart grid is a system that enables two-way communication between consumers and power distributing firms. In such a hi-tech system, the distributor will provide users information on efficient electric network operations.

“A smart grid also enables distribution firms to regulate power demand and distributed energy, including renewable energies. By installing a smart or intelligent meter, the supplier can monitor energy use by consumer, especially households,” Abdullah told about 100 participants in a keynote address.

Noting that innovative tools, technologies and methodologies were required from generation to transmission and distributing renewable energy to industrial, commercial and domestic users, Abdullah said a smart grid would help beneficiaries to determine operating costs, improve energy efficiency and prevent depletion of fossil and water resources.

“Through a combination of grid-interactive renewable power comprising biomass power, wind power, small hydro power (up to 25mw), co-generation-bagasse waste to energy and solar power, we have created a capacity to generate 15,542 mw till October,” Abdullah pointed out.

Referring to the ambitious target of generating 20,000 mw solar energy by 2022 as a national mission, Abdullah said his ministry had initiated measures to produce 1,300 mw solar energy over the next three years.

“Out of 1,300 mw solar energy, 1,100 mw will be connected to the national grid and 200 mw will be distributed through local and regional grids,” Abdullah said.

Admitting that generating solar energy was still an expensive proposition due to high cost of solar panels and photo-voltaic cells, the minister said the central government would provide incentives and other benefits for stakeholders to reduce generation, transmission and distribution costs to make renewable energy affordable to the people.

“The more solar energy will be used, more companies will forward with products to generate solar power. As we expand it, prices of solar panels and photo-voltaic cells will come down. We have the eco-system to produce solar energy on large scale,” he added.

The day-long seminar is organised by the Consortium of Electronic Industries of Karnataka (CLICK), a 26-year-old association of electronic industries in the state.