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USTDA supports efforts to mitigate global climate change by helping its partner countries develop renewable energy resources, invest in cleaner forms of traditional energy and modernize electric grids to increase efficiency, reliability and sustainability.  Smart Grid Today recognized the Agency’s efforts to help its partner countries modernize their grids by naming it a 2013 Smart Grid Pioneer. 

In FY 2015, USTDA committed over half of its energy investments to renewable power.  These project preparation activities have the potential to unlock over $4.3 billion in financing and produce over 2,400 megawatts of new renewable energy.  This will reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by an estimated 12 million metric tons per year compared to new traditional power generation.  

Trade Talk: Smart Grid

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency hosted "Trade Talk: Smart Grid," the first in a series of sector-specific Trade Talks at USTDA's headquarters in Arlington, VA. Over 150 participants attended in person or via webinar to learn more about USTDA's efforts to support grid modernization efforts in developing and middle-income countries. U.S. industry representatives shared firsthand experience of working with USTDA and other government agencies to secure sales in emerging markets, including China, India, Turkey, Mexico and Colombia. The following is a list of key issues and recommendations given during the final panel of the event, "Next Steps & Ideas on Further U.S. Government Support for the U.S. Smart Grid Industry." Learn More | Audio & Presentations

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities: New Delhi

The city of Delhi is full of vibrant colors, beautiful sights and unforgettable sounds.  But with a population of over 18 million people, the bustle of India’s capital places a heavy burden on its electric grid.  To address these challenges, one utility company, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd. (TPDDL), has implemented innovative technologies, processes and approaches to deliver consistent power to its customers.

TPDDL is responsible for providing reliable electricity to 7 million people in the north and northwestern parts of Delhi, where peak demand has reached over 1,700 megawatts and where consistent power is a requirement for the growing economy and for quality of life.  In the 1990s, the Delhi Government responded to the challenge of unreliable power by restructuring its distribution system and privatizing its utilities.  TPDDL helped lead the charge, although it did not come without its challenges.

One major issue facing power distribution companies throughout India was electricity theft.  Tata Power took an unconventional approach to address it: The company went into some of the poorest parts of Delhi, where distribution losses were highest, and established various programs designed to address its customers’ most pressing needs.  They built medical facilities, sponsored vocational training and set up women’s literacy centers.  These services have improved the quality of life for 1 million people, many of whom now have the means to pay their electricity bills each month.  The results have been good both for the customers and for the company’s bottom line.

TPDDL has taken additional steps to improve the lives of the people it serves.  Through support provided by USTDA, the company has completed several projects focused on modernizing its electric grid, reducing and managing outages, and utilizing renewable energy.  USTDA has connected TPDDL with cutting-edge, scalable U.S. technologies that have helped the utility identify and quickly respond to problems that occur throughout the grid and, in the event of an outage, inform consumers how long it will likely take to resolve the issue.  Inside TPDDL’s distribution centers today, employees utilize U.S. solutions such as geographical information systems and outage management systems to ensure their customers are receiving consistent power.  

USTDA also supported Honeywell Building Solutions (Golden Valley, MN) in launching India’s first-ever automated demand response system.  The utility is now able to empower customers to manage their electricity consumption and costs, which in turn helps the company manage demand efficiently across the grid.  With support from USTDA, TPDDL has also developed a renewable energy roadmap that includes plans to install 400 MW of rooftop solar power by 2025.

TPDDL has emerged as one of India’s leading electricity distribution utilities, incorporating a number of technologies to enhance the effectiveness of Delhi’s electrical grid.  The utility is sharing its best practices in India and around the world, including during the 2015 International Istanbul Smart Grid Congress.

Originally starting out with 800,000 consumers, TPDDL now has 1.5 million connections that cover a population of 7 million.  Managing that kind of growth, according to CEO and Managing Director Praveer Sinha, “required vision, imagination, skill and drive.”  TPDDL’s progress presents a strong example of how a company can do good and do well.

Vietnam National Power Transmission Information Technology Roadmap

USTDA sponsored a visit to the United States for senior officials from the Vietnam National Power Transmission Corporation (NPT) to connect them with U.S. electric power transmission technology providers. Having identified $5 billion worth of upgrades and investments that are needed for their network, NPT delegates had the opportunity to visit U.S. power transmission companies and equipment manufacturers as well as meet with consulting companies that could assist with service capabilities and construction management. Shortly after the RTM, NPT and GE signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on a pilot to install GE's relay system on NPT's network. Thus far, NPT has purchased $11 million worth of GE equipment, and NPT and GE are currently working with the U.S. Export-Import Bank to purchase additional equipment valued at $36 million.

eThekwini Smart Metering Feasibility Study in South Africa

In order to address concerns over South Africa's declining electricity reserve margin, USTDA awarded a grant to eThekwini Municipality to support the rollout of advanced electricity metering, or smart meters. USTDA's assistance promotes the application of innovative U.S. technologies that will enable South African electricity distributors to integrate energy-intensive users into a smart metering system.

Demand Response System Pilot Project in China

In support of the U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program's efforts to open China's market to U.S.-manufactured technologies as the country continues to develop its energy infrastructure, USTDA funded a feasibility study and pilot project on the implementation of a smart grid demand response management system for the China State Grid Electric Power Research Institute (SGEPRI). U.S. companies provided the equipment for the pilot, and the results will assist SGEPRI in designing a national smart grid implementation strategy.