India’s Electricity Sector - Headed for a Brighter Tomorrow

A look at the Indian Electricity Sector on the eve of ELECRAMA 2018, billed as the largest electricity exhibition in the world.


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    ELECRAMA 2018

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    largest electricity exhibition in the world.

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Can anyone imagine a world without electricity? Well, that is well nigh impossible, given the dependence on electricity in each and every sphere of life. But even as the world has entered the era of Industry 4.0, as Prof Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum has noted in his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, “The second industrial revolution has yet to be fully experienced by 17% of the world as nearly 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity.” Close to 250 million of these people live in India, though now the government has rolled out an ambitious programme to bring electricity to all by December 2018.


India is the world’s third largest producer and fourth largest consumer of electricity, with an installed power generation capacity of 330,860.58 Megawatt (MW) as on December, 2017. On paper, India has the capacity to generate more electricity than it needs, but in practice, this does not present the correct picture of the scenario as it exists due to a host of factors. For one, not every village and household is connected to the grid. The second factor is not every region, or State, has 24x7 availability of power. But the most important reason is distribution companies are in poor financial health and unable to use the electricity available to them, or sell surplus power to deficient regions at the right time and the right price, forcing generating stations to back down. The reasons are complex and interlinked – systemic problems that defy solutions despite the various attempts made by the government to nudge all the stakeholders into action.


For a country that aspires to be a manufacturing powerhouse, the per capita consumption of electricity in India is just 1,122 kWh (2016-17), which is just about one-fourth of that of China (4,310 kWh) and less than half the world average of 2,674 kWh. To place the matter into perspective, it may be noted that the most developed counties have the per capita consumption of electricity close to 15,000 kWh.  


It is against this backdrop ELECRAMA 2018 will be held as the biggest showcase of the world of electricity.


ELECRAMA returns to Delhi

Organised by the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA), the apex body of manufacturers of electrical, industrial electronics and allied equipment in India, the exhibition returns to Delhi after 14 years, the 2004 edition being the last occasion when it was held in the national capital at Pragati Maidan. ELECRAMA 2018 is the 13th edition of the series and will be held at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, from 10-14 March 2018. This flagship showcase of the Indian Electrical Industry ecosystem is the largest congregation of the power sector in this part of the world and brings together the entire gamut of electricity, viz., generation, transmission, distribution, power electronics, renewables, power storage, electromobility and automation. Three key focus application areas – Railways, Nuclear and Defence – have been also included in the scope. Apart from equipment and technology, ELECRAMA also provides peerless thought leadership platforms for everything electric – from technical conclaves to industry summits and buyer-seller meets.


The ELECRAMA series of exhibitions was launched in Mumbai in the year 1990 when the first exhibition was held with just 280-odd companies participating on a mere 12,500 sq.m of exhibition space. But it has been growing at a steady pace to become the exhibition of choice for the global electrical equipment industry, and today stands at the threshold of being the true comprehensive global electricity forum. With the exception of 1993, when the event shifted to Delhi due to riots in Mumbai, and 2004 when Pragati Maidan was selected as the venue, till 2012, ELECRAMA was held in Mumbai. In 2012, it shifted to BIEC, Bangalore, one of the most modern exhibition complexes in India presently, and the 2014 and 2016 editions were also held there. What started as a triennial event in 1990 turned biennial after 2002, and it has continued to grow in scale and scope till date.


Speaking during the launch ceremony of the event last April, Mr Vijay Karia, Chairman, ELECRAMA 2018 had said, “The word Energy is being replaced by the word electricity. ELECRAMA has always been focusing on relevance, adapting to change and technology to provide relevant exposure to the products as well as strengthening the knowledge quotient.

At ELECRAMA 2018 you will see participation from new segments and genres like Power Electronics, Electro-mobility and Power Storage which have never been experienced before.”


The 800-plus members companies of IEEMA account for nearly 97% of all power equipment manufactured in the country. These members include multinational companies with manufacturing facilities in India, but a majority of them are home-grown SMEs, indicating the diverse nature of the industry. Among these SMEs are companies that have built high R&D capabilities and are at the forefront of leading edge technologies, with worldwide clientele. “We at IEEMA are committed to proactively engage on behalf of its membership with the government and its agencies, on issues of concern and challenges faced by the industry and also undertake activities which help in capacity building of our members. Our foremost priority is to encourage the industry to become export competitive and growth oriented, while ensuring safety across the entire value chain. We will strive to bring non-utility centric industry also in the mainstream of IEEMA,” states Mr Shreegopal Kabra, President, IEEMA, who is Managing Director and President of RR Global, a USD 650 million diversified group of industries focusing mainly on infrastructure & electrical solutions.


According to Kabra ELECRAMA 2018 will be the largest edition in the series with over 40,000 sq.m of exhibition space and additional 5,000 sq.m of pavilions, displays and concurrent events. It will feature new business areas that are redefining the electricity space – the key components being renewable energy, energy storage, digitalisation of electricity through IoT and AI and electric transportation opportunities. The important new event additions to the show include ‘ETechNxt’,  in partnership with TiE and NASSCOM, which will be focusing on the new technology areas and expose the electrical industry to new technology innovations and disruptions and equip them with information to manage the transformation to these new paradigm shifts.


ELECRAMA 2018 will also host a power pavilion, a renewable energy pavilion, a railways pavilion and an international pavilion featuring group participation from several countries. It will attract and host whole new constituencies of end users and industry segments like power electronics, renewables, electric transportation, energy storage and automation. The show will also have a huge congregation of electrical trade that includes retailers, electricians, contractors and MSME suppliers and vendors in addition to manufacturers who will be engaged through special activities.


The equipment industry

The electrical machinery industry consists of four key product categories, viz., Generation equipment – boilers, turbines and generators; Transmission equipment – transformers; Distribution equipment – switchgear and controls; and other equipment like motors, wires and cables, etc. The size of the Indian electrical equipment industry is valued at around USD 28 billion. A fourth of it is made up of power generation equipment with transmission and distribution contributing the rest. The industry provides direct employment to about 5,00,000 people and indirectly to about 1 million. The total market size of electrical machinery in India is anticipated to reach US$ 100 billion by 2022, which in indicative of the enormous challenges, but also the promise of huge opportunities, in the process.


The power sector in India is at an inflexion point as old practices and technologies are rapidly giving way to the new. The thrust on renewable sources, power storage and smart technologies have changed the paradigm. The stakeholders of the industry, keeping in step with this transformation, are also evolving from the traditional power transmission and distribution methods to encompass the complete electricity ecosystem.


As cities become smart and mobility moves away from fossil fuels to electricity, the demand for power is going to increase manifold, which will in turn simulate demand for more and newer types of equipment like charging stations, storage batteries, etc. Besides fulfilling domestic requirements, this will also boost exports, which is a major plank of the Make in India initiative launched with the purpose of increasing the country’s manufacturing share in the GDP to 25%.


Amidst all this, the government is also talking of exporting electricity to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, which are power deficient, according to a recent statement of Union Power Minister R K Singh. If this sounds a bit contradictory, the fact is the average plant load factor (PLF) or capacity utilisation in India is just around 60 per cent. There is room to increase this to 80 per cent PLF with increased availability of coal, which at the moment is a constraint. That brings the matter back to square one – the sector has great potential but needs greater attention to solving existing systemic problems.




Photo zero – cover photo, no caption

Photo1: Shri Piyush Goyal, then Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, at the inauguration of ELECRAMA 2016

Photo2: Shreegopal Kabra, President, IEEMA.

Photo3: Vijay Karia, Chairman, ELECRAMA 2018