New Delhi, India --- (METERING.COM) --- July 12, 2010 - For India, the smart grid may offer a unique opportunity to leapfrog into a vastly improved electricity environment, and the development of a smart grid vision tailored to the country’s unique needs and circumstances should be encouraged, as while there is enormous potential for gain, there also are some significant risks.

This is according to a new White Paper from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), “The Smart Grid Vision for India's Power Sector,” which is aimed at advancing understanding of a smart grid vision and providing insight into the potential it offers.

The White Paper says that the best course of action is to proceed with deliberate speed with a program that emphasizes front-end analysis, planning and goal setting, and it proposes a five step plan for the period 2010-2020, with the major elements including developing a smart grid vision, conducting appropriate communication to educate and develop consensus, identifying viable funding options, and implementing appropriate policy and regulatory actions to set common standards and encourage innovation.

In tandem with these actions, certain techno-commercial pilot projects could be implemented to demonstrate their commercial viability and the realities of India’s power sector should determine the kind of pilot projects that are taken up, the White Paper says. These should include high aggregate technical and commercial losses, reliability issues, and rural electrification and agricultural irrigation and also they should consider the need for more renewable energy and energy efficiency measures and the need to confirm the commercial viability of new techniques, technologies and/or methodologies that would contribute to a sustainable, high growth, low carbon model for the power sector.

Suggested pilot projects include linking the electric sector reform program to measureable service quality KPIs, trialing electric vehicles, replacing small-scale gensets with renewable energy, and using off-grid renewable energy for irrigation pumping.