After the government’s successful achievement of 100% household electrification under the Saubhagya scheme, the next aim is to provide sustainable 24X7 power to all.
This is expected to increase the demand for electricity from current demand which is already at an all-time high. Apart from this, the nature of consumption and load is also changing rapidly due to the changing consumer preferences with appliances and gadgets.
Achieving 24X7 power to all is easier said than done. The major challenge to the Utilities is to meet the rapidly increasing as well as changing the consumption habits of consumers in a sustainable way.
Utilities need to innovate to overcome these challenges.
The continuous reliable power supply is also an enabling factor for a large number of GoI’s initiatives like Smart Cities Mission, the urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government to develop 100 citizen friendly and sustainable smart cities.
India has an undertaken ambitious renewable energy expansion program aim to reach renewable energy installed capacity of 175 GW by March 2022. The renewable energy capacity addition will not only meet the growing demand for electricity but also in a sustainable way.
Unlike conventional energy sources, renewables have a huge potential for decentralized deployment.
The decentralized nature of renewables allows consumers to generate, consume and sell electricity to Utilities or other consumers.
Few innovations like Virtual Net Metering (VNM) have been deployed elsewhere which are useful in India as well.
VNM allows a consumer to procure and consume electricity from a decentralized solar generating unit which is installed at someone else’s premises.
So it is even applicable for consumers who want to adopt green living habits but can’t install solar panels within their premises.
This allows consumers to participate in the climate change mitigation action and achieve the national renewables target.
One way of meeting increasing consumption is by adding more generation capacity. Another way, which is equally important if not more, is to reduce the per capita consumption and adjust the consumption pattern through smart habits, smart gadgets and energy efficient appliances.
By reducing the per capital consumption and distributing the demand pattern matching with generation pattern, the addition of generation capacity, especially fossil fuel based, can be postponed. However, to benefit from these, consumer behavior need to be influenced.
Innovative models influencing consumer behavior have been tested and implemented; paying for energy efficiency was one of them. Under this innovation, consumers earn money whenever they save electricity during peak periods.
Dynamic pricing of electricity across the day is another innovation whereby it has the potential to influence consumers to adjust their consumption patterns.
India to achieve 24×7 power for all in a sustainable way, Utilities need to innovate, not only in terms of technology solutions but also market solutions like in the initiatives mentioned above.