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14 July, 2015 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 July, 2015 11:49:36 PM
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No headway in installation of smart grid system

Digital power monitoring
FAISAL MAHMUD
No headway in installation of smart grid system

The country is yet to adopt any digital power monitoring facility, with the help of which it can save up to 500 MW daily.
The country’s daily generation of electricity now stands at 7,900 MW to 8,020 MW, but in the absence of an advanced monitoring system, pilferage of
electricity from power lines without payments of premium, or at current rates, has become commonplace nowadays.
Experts have long said a digital micro grid system using smart meters could quantify the exact readings, going through the power lines. Thereby, illegal links can be located and curbed, but no step has been taken in this connection.
A digital micro-grid system would regulate the current zones better, reduce power outages and provide stability to the power sector, said Dr Sanwar A Sunny, a Bangladeshi expatriate who has worked as project manager for the renewable energy office of the Department of Energy of the US government.
Explaining the ‘smart’ digital grid, Dr Sanwar Sunny—who returned to Bangladesh and founded the Bangladesh Green Building Council (BGBC)—said digital micro-gridding would mean that the current power distribution zones would be further divided into residential and commercial zones.

It should be ensured that the whole zone does not lose power during an outage, but the micro zones do. He added that the zone itself should have mixed land usage and better urban planning.
He explained that the current physical power lines incur transmission losses as the grids are not micro ones. The circuit breakers at the grid coordinates are not enough to make the grids smaller and more manageable.
“That is why, if one of the sections have faulty operations, the entire 'large' area succumbs to a blackout,” he said, adding that a smart grid with small, relatively cheap, locally made radio transmitters—operating remotely in unlicensed radio bands using two-way real time communication—could change the scenario.
It could transmit coded instructions from the central board (electricity offices) to the circuit breakers in selected coordinates of the micro grid substations and could maintain multiple power flow lines with automated control and digital metering, he added.
“The individual grids could themselves be resource-efficient, with their own waste management and generation capabilities, and with the reduced need for transportation,” he opined.
Dr Sanwar Sunny said that feed-in tariffs (FIT) would also be possible, as the energy usage could be monitored remotely and private power generations and energy-efficient entities could be offered rebates and incentives.
“This would also expedite investments in this sector, create job opportunities for engineering graduates and technicians, and ease pressure on the government,” he added.
Dr Saiful Haque, president of the Bangladesh Solar Energy Society and a professor of the Renewable Energy Institute (REI) of Dhaka University (DU), said that digital micro grids could integrate renewable energy and private power generation, and can monitor how much power is produced and used.
There are many ‘off the shelf’ and customized ways of incorporating private power and generation from renewable energy sources into the grid, he said, adding that various private companies have been designing these, but that policy problems, not technological ones, were stalling their installation in the country.
Siddique Zobair, senior consultant of GIZ (the development assistance arm of the German government), which works as a consultant to the Power Division of the ministry of power on the renewable energy sector, told The Independent that incorporating a smart grid system with renewable energy would be a good step to reduce systemic losses.
“But the problem is that apart from pilferage from the power grid, more than 12 per cent of the daily generation (around 600 MW) is lost in the old transmission lines. If these lines are not changed, then a smart grid system alone cannot curb system losses,” he pointed out.
Regarding FIT for smart grid with renewable energy, Zobair said the concept should be made clear to the public before the government implements it. “FIT is the preferential rate paid for the electricity fed back into the national grid from a renewable energy generator,” he said, adding that more than 64 countries have adopted FIT in an effort to find a solution to the power crisis.
“Even neighbouring India has a feed-in tariff policy. Under this policy, a solar-system installer can sell electricity to the national grid at a slightly higher price. This encourages residents of urban areas to install solar systems and feed the extra electricity to the grid lines,” he said.
But to ensure better monitoring of the whole process, a ‘smart’ micro grid system should be installed.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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