Microgrids in India: Largest grid collapse of mankind happened in 2012 in India. Should we search for alternatives ?
Almost 620 million people or 9% world population was left without power. We discuss the feasibility of using microgrid in India to counter the situation.
The grid collapse of 2012 in India is still fresh in memory. I was in Delhi at the time and I remember that metro, the life line of Delhi, came to a grinding halt. I lived in one of those colonies using dirty diesel back up generators and fortunately escaped the full extent of the damage. However, as always, the poor suffered the most.
What happened in 2012?
Largest power failure in mankind happened. For a nation calling itself a front runner in the world it was a huge embarrassment. Shining India took a massive hit with this unprecedented yet expected on certain levels event. So, on 30th of july, power grid collapsed in certain regions due to alleged over drawing and a relay problem on the next day essentially left the whole north India without power for 2 days.
Shining India took a massive hit.
Power grid collapse not just stops you from all the wonderful access to internet to read our wonderful blog but halts production and companies. Small city of Kanpur alone was estimated to have taken losses upto 400 crores. Never before has any country seen a black out on such massive proportions.
What was the aftermath?
Blame game of course. Committees were formed, parties cried foul, reports were submitted. Even the popular Anna Hazare movement leaders didnt stop to point a finger at the leading coalition for stopping its rallies. The net result is that we are still living with those massively under developed infrastructure. Though, I want to point out that it is said that Dr. Manmohan Singh (Prime minister of India in 2012) unveiled $400 billion plan for India's power grid, which is often said to be a result of this blackout.
One interesting recommendation made was the use of micro grids. This recommendation has been around for a long time actually but what makes the crucial difference.
The micro grid
Microgrid essentially is distributed generation and transmission of electricity. Which means, that a small grid will be in place for the community and it can be unlinked from the main grid at any time to survive on it's own. So, a situation that of 2012, if the large or macrogrid failed, micro grid would have taken place and protected most of the areas. Microgrids operate out of a small region and on low voltages.
Micro grids can easily prevent black outs and are more feasible for renewable energy generation.
Straight out of the box you can figure out the problem with that. Microgrids means a power station near your home. Traditionally, power generation is done outside and away from urban areas. A local power station can technically pollute the local area. The most important problem is that of scale of economics. It is easy and much cheaper to implement on a large scale then separate and individual small scale.
What then is the result of micro grids? Can we take it up and install it to prevent future mishaps?
This is where the renewable energy kicks in. Imagine if a 50km radius of your locality can have its own small solar or wind farm and distribute it across the region without problems of a large scale grid. While, this will be expensive on both accounts, setting up the microgrid and the renewable energy plant. In the long term this will have the highest returns as it will increase the overall productivity of the region with continuous power supply.
What do you think of having a microgrids in India? Let us know in the comments section below.
Note: This blog does not talk about Saurya EnerTech stand on the subject and is merely the author’s point of view.
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