COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges for economies around the world and an unforeseen impact on global businesses at large. Companies worldwide dealt with varying concerns such as stress on working capital, supply chain disruption, and forced realignment of investments and projects. As the economy returns on the growth path, India's power consumption is expected to rise, aided by the 100% household electrification and revival in industrial activities.
According to various industry reports, electricity demand this year is anticipated to grow by 3% (around 700 TWh). Two-thirds of this demand is expected in the Asia Pacific region. Most of the growth is concentrated in China and India, expected to grow by 5.2% (350 TWh) and 3.6% (40 TWh) respectively compared to 2020. Additionally, economic prospects look positive due to government stimulus packages and their success in triggering new investment and supporting businesses. It also paved way for some interesting trends like:
Growth of renewable energy
India will lead the Renewable Energy Upswing in 2021. The country awarded landmark supply contracts for flexible renewable power, an important step in addressing the limitations of intermittent wind and solar. With stimulus measures aimed at utilities, willingness to extend project commissioning deadlines and several initiatives to encourage domestic solar manufacturing have also assisted in shoring up the positive outlook for renewables.
The energy industry landscape in the near future is expected to be characterized by new economies of scale, consolidation and disaster readiness.
Tech innovation and increasing adoption of automation
Automation and digitization are rapidly transforming industries, including the power sector owing to the growing concern about enhancing plant performance through dependable and predictable operations.
In the power sector, Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing uniformity across devices and equipment. The interoperability and data readability are the key solutions with the advent of IoT.
With the emergence of Cloud-based automation solutions, power companies have been beneficiaries of the reduction in costs, functionality enhancement, and greater flexibility. In 2021 and beyond, the tremendous growth and demand in enterprise cloud computing (private, public, and hybrid) will continue acting as the main driver in the DC industry.
Everything as a Grid
Increasing automation, digital sensing and automated analytics-based solutions will enable the move towards a more efficient, reliable, resilient and responsive grid. Similarly, to improve operational efficiency and ensure effective network planning, distribution companies are also undertaking several digitization and grid modernization initiatives. Here are three ways in which we can implement grid for maximum efficiency:
• Commercial buildings can integrate with the Grid for optimum utilization
• Plants can utilize Microgrids
• Data centers can monetize their under-utilized asset for example extra capacity of the UPS solutions which can double up as energy storage
Mass introduction of electric transportation infrastructure
As the average cost of lithium-ion batteries has fallen drastically on a mixture of manufacturing economies of scale and technology improvements, companies and consumers alike are increasingly turning to electrification for power transportation, making the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) one of the largest potential areas for electrification. It is expected that the global EV adoption rate could reach 10%-12.5% by 2025.
Introduction of new generation energy-efficient solution
2021 promises to be an exciting year for the power sector, particularly as India is poised at the cusp of tremendous growth in the power sector with rising energy investments
Syed Sajjadh Ali, Managing Director - India, Electrical Sector, Eaton
The year 2020 saw the birth of a new vision - Vocal for Local. Today many companies are focusing on building the base business through increased localizations. However, we should also focus on introducing products contributing to the identified megatrends energy transition and digitalization via:
• EV Fuses, Solar Fuses, SF6 free MV
• Redesigned RMU’s
• Focus on Localization of Switchgear products
The energy industry needs to evolve rapidly if it is to meet the twin challenges of rising energy demand and reducing emissions. While renewable energies are developing rapidly, it is likely to take decades to transform the country’s energy systems from conventional to renewable power generation. To balance the priorities of increased energy productions while maintaining lower emissions, India is leapfrogging by adding basic electrification while installing latest technology for power quality and smart grids-and investing more-in technological innovation. This will help the Indian power sector tread on the path of greater efficiencies, price advantages and increasing reliability and safety.
With the declining impact of COVID-19 and higher visibility of vaccine availability, 2021 promises to be an exciting year for the power sector, particularly as India is poised at the cusp of tremendous growth in the power sector with rising energy investments.