As the United States pursues its own smart-grid initiative, Berkeley Lab is exploring ways to share its experience and expertise with India, where the grid is still rudimentary. Furthermore, effectively integrating renewables such as solar and wind energy, which are growing in India, is a technical challenge that its current grid is incapable of meeting.
Beyond the substandard infrastructure, India is also in need of technical advice on energy policies and rate structures. For example, many rural areas still provide highly subsidized electricity, despite the shortages. "Subsidies alone don't encourage efficiency," said Ghatikar. "With programs emphasizing sophisticated rate structures, interoperability standards and information systems, they can eliminate or reduce blackouts through dynamic pricing and reduce electricity losses."
Berkeley Lab's ongoing work in India was formalized in 2008 with the launch of the Berkeley-India Joint Leadership on Energy and the Environment, or BIJLEE (which means "power" in Hindi). In March 2009, the Lab signed memoranda of understanding with New Delhi and the Forum of Regulators, a national-level body, to consult on best practices in utility-based energy efficiency programs. The California Energy Commission and the California Public utilities Commission were also signatories.
"We're not there preaching they should emulate the United States and our experience," said Ashok Gadgil, acting director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division. "In fact, just the opposite: we're suggesting they should leapfrog our experience. India's energy consumption is significantly lower than that of the U.S. and Europe
|Contact: Julie Chao|
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory