Smart and Aesthetic: Smart City Project to Promote Efficient Power Use in Chandigarh

Chandigarh, a city in North India where one can associate modernization, beauty, and happiness with, have always been very famous in travel books for its architecture and urban design, especially the Open Hand Monument, the emblem of the city symbolizing peace and prosperity.

The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) recently initiated the Smart City project, attempting to transform Chandigarh into a city not just aesthetic but smart, by introducing intelligent, eco-friendly and efficient solutions for the city’s consumption of water, power, space, and the Internet, according to the Indian Express. The city makeover is pegged at Rs 6,200 crore (USD 942.9 million), Rs 5,950 crore (USD 904.9 million) of which would be spent on area-based development and the rest is for the pan-city proposal. Despite the fact that experts reckon it will take a long time to realize the project, once those plans come true, residents in Chandigarh can enjoy a series of new smarter facilities: smart water meters and 24/7 water supply, smart grid and power meters, wi-fi spots, intelligent traffic management system, and designated car-free zones.

Chandigarh is under the transformation to become a city manifesting aesthetics and power efficiency. (Photo courtesy of the Indian Express)

The aim of the government is to make Chandigarh a sustainable habitat, best quality of life for people of Chandigarh, said Baldeo Purushartha, the Municipal Commissioner. The administration also decided to set up a Smart City Innovation Centre welcoming companies to display their latest technologies that can be useful. Several noted international companies, such as Nokia, IBM, Intel, Dell-EMC, and Ericsson have already been on the list of solution providers for the project.


In terms of power management proposal, what the Chandigarh Administration plans to equip the city with under the Smart City project includes smart power meters, LED lighting and solar rooftops. Yet, before anything else, to successfully bring in a smart power system to the city as per the plan, the administration might as well first resolve the poor power condition in Chandigarh, especially that in summer times, when the peak power demand reaches 450MW while the supply is only 260MW.

In light of the facts that the electricity department does not have its own power generation source and that the demand keeps growing strong, the city is planning to have a solar power plant on rooftop of every building by mid-May, 2018. Here, the administration encounters another hurdle. Currently, only 200 buildings (55 residential houses included) out of the total 15,000 buildings have installed solar power plants. How to install solar power plants on all the buildings within just a year will be a challenge, let alone a building needs to strictly meet the condition -to be with a plot size of 500 square yards or above- to support a solar power plant on its rooftop. A voice from the UT administration said, just put the schedule aside for a moment, it still sounds difficult to ensure solar rooftops at more than 40% of the buildings by 2020.

The administration decides, for new buildings coming up after the Smart City project, it is mandatory to include a solar power plant as part of the construction. In other words, the estate office in Chandigarh will only give out the no-objection certificate to a new building when it comes with a solar power plant already installed on rooftop. Santosh Kumar, CEO of CREST, said that to win the tag of solar city, the awareness of solar power is required for the installation.

Next in line for smart power management is the introduction of smart power meters and LED street lights.

Different from traditional home energy monitors, smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter, which records power consumption for the purposes of monitoring and billing, and the central system. Through them, the data collected can even be delivered for remote reporting, which makes new smart meters stand out from traditional automatic meter reading.

Knowing the situation of power use in Chandigarh, the UT administration has also introduced an LED bulb scheme in which LED products can be purchased on nominal rates to promote the adoption of LED lighting to save energy. UT Chief Engineer Mukesh Anand explained the electricity bills of those use LEDs can even be halved. The Municipal Corporation has already partnered with Energy Efficient Services Ltd (EESL) to replace existing conventional street lights with LED street lights. In this case, the city is projected to be able to save up to 50% to 60% of the initial power consumption, suggesting a decent solution for to goal to achieve a healthier and more efficient environment. Likewise, the replacement also helps cutting down the city’s budget used for street lighting and the lighting waste in the city as LEDs sustain a long product life that could last for a few decades. In addition, a Central Control and Monitoring System will also be introduced for monitoring of the lighting system, making Chandigarh a step closer to become a smart city.





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