“Efficient micro grid and smart grid are very essential…”

Dr. N. Kumarappan is a Professor in Annamalai University. He is also the current Chairman of IEEE Madras section. In a free-wheeling e-interview with the Editorial Team of Electrical India, he is expressing his views on different critical areas of Indian Power Sector. Excerpts…

What is your take on the standard of the Indian power sector compared to the global best practices?

Hybrid renewable energy business is evolving and an important challenge is creating an ecosystem with the combination of wind and solar sources connected to the grid. As most of the wind turbines in India idle looking for the wind in the day, the generation is not as expected and they have their peaks at night. So, generation by solar in the day, wind in the night and a combination of off shore wind turbines connected to the grid is a great business case as all resources are effectively utilized. Distributed power generation systems are essential to reach the global practice in India.

Why did India select 230 V/50Hz as standard domestic power supply, is it better than the American 115 V?

We just followed British system, almost the whole world uses a frequency of 50Hz and voltage of 220 – 240, the exception, where 60Hz is used is the Americas and Caribbean. US adopted from Edison and at that time Arc lamps were more efficient at 120 V. There is not any big scientific or electrical reason as to why US and some other parts of the world use 60Hz and in India and certain parts of the world use 50Hz. It’s just the way it has been started and it continues. Changing this system would cause a lot.

What are the major causes behind the high rate of electrocution incidents in India?

5 to 10% is due to unsafe conditions but the rest of 90 to 95% is because of the following unsafe behaviour:
– Ignorance – Employees are not aware of the safe working procedures and rules.
– Negligence – Not wearing personal protective equipments.
– Complacency – Many of us have this mentality, when it comes to safety it can be very dangerous. Every single person who has ever been injured or killed in the job could have said it – until that point.

What kinds of Improvements are very essential for the Indian power grid to integrate the growing renewable power sources?

Efficient micro grid and smart grid are very essential for the growing renewable power sources. Grid availability, forecasting and prediction are the major areas that
need improvements.

Do you think that a uniform country wide policy is required to popularize the net metering concept?

Yes, Net metering was introduced in India as a measure to make distributed renewable energy more accessible to consumers. Consumers are then compensated for the surplus power generated at a price determined by the state. It is very essential for the central government and deregulated authorities to standardize the rooftop policy and approval process across the country.

What kind of research works are going on in Annamalai University to lower the cost of power – especially through decentralized power systems?

Research on

-Micro grid with intelligent control techniques for inverter interface DGs, which guarantee good dynamic performance, stable and high power quality injection during various system uncertainties.
-Optimal planning of different distributed generation types in radial distribution system by optimizing minimization of total active power loss, reduction of voltage deviation and minimization of expected interruption cost of the system.
-Performance of forecasting electricity prices prediction and classification using neural network model in the deregulated system.

And many more related researches are in progress.

IEEE World Congress On Computational Intelligence (WCCI) 2020 Conference

Are the cheap LED lamps good? How to manage the harmful harmonics generation through them?

In general, the cost of the goods reflects their quality. An expensive LED of good quality will last longer than a cheaper one. For dealing with harmful harmonic generation, in case of single phase, where the 3rd harmonic is the largest and effect the neutral current, one could use the neutral conductor with a cross-section of the phase conductor.
One could also use external harmonic mitigation device such as passive and active filters in case of single or 3-phase. Power factor correction either built in or external can also be used.

What are the weak areas of power sector (Generation, Transmission and Distribution) that need to be addressed immediately?

-Capital investments for renewable are very high hence the rate of return is very less. Only corporates can invest and reap benefits from it.
-Micro and Nano grid with small investments would be much helpful.
-All the infrastructure has become very old.
-The inconsistency of Government policies and weaker economy have slowed down the infra investments.
-Challenges in grid interconnected network.
-Poor power quality
-Aged infrastructure.
-Population density … Urbanization is a big threat.
-Lack of awareness on energy conservation.
-not being aware of green house concept i.e., eco friendly houses and environmental protection.

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