India’s power generation capacity is on pace to more than double in the next few years. As the country focuses on the power sector to continue its growth trajectory, there are a number of exciting opportunities waiting for you in the field of power electronics.
The Ministry of Power is actively pushing for ‘Power for All by 2012’—a mission that would require our installed power generation capacity to reach at least 200,000 MW by 2012 from the present level of 114,000 MW. Power is identified as one of those sectors which hold a lot of promise for growth and expansion. An important ingredient for the rapid growth of the economy, power has a set of challenges as well as opportunities for the entire energy value chain in India.
The ‘Power for All by 2012’ target in the current plan period requires active participation of all stakeholders. Digging down the power field, you can also become an active part of our nation-building story and a sector that will provide immense scope and opportunity.
Dalip Sharma, managing director, Delta-India and SAARC, shares, “The unprecedented growth in the Indian electronics demand has spawned a corresponding spurt in the domestic power electronics industry. The power backup (including batteries) is a $1.1-billion revenue industry in India. Also, there is a shift towards ‘develop and make’ model vis-à-vis the previous ‘buy’ and ‘buy-and-make’ policy. Owing to the presence of global electronics manufacturing services (EMS) majors in India and their plans for increased investments with more outsourcing of manufacturing by both Indian and global original equipment manufacturers, opportunities for the Indian talent pool are also increasing and the growth opportunities seem to be quite promising.”
Power electronics has a very high potential as now “it has shifted from a mere IT product (UPS, inverter, etc) to powering the whole plant and also other sectors like lifts and colour photo machines,” adds R.K. Bansal, founder and managing director, Uniline Energy Systems.
A brief on power electronics
Power electronics is the application of solidstate electronics for the control and conversion of electric power. The task of power electronics is to process and control the electric energy flow by supplying voltages and currents in a form optimally suited for user loads.
Power conversion systems can be categorised based on the type of the input and output power: AC-to-DC (rectifier), DC-to-AC (inverter), DC-to-DC (converter) and AC-to-AC (converter).
While DC-DC converters are used in most mobile devices, AC-DC converters are used when an electronic device (computer, television, etc) is connected to the mains. AC-AC converters are used to change either the voltage level or the frequency (like for international power adaptors and light dimmers). DC-AC converters, on the other hand, are used primarily in UPS or emergency lighting systems.
India’s power story
Let’s delve a little deeper into India’s growth story. Power electronics is very important in the industrial, energy and automotive sectors, among others. As these sectors grow in India, so do the jobs that require training in power electronics. With large investments pouring in from private-sector players like Tata Power, Sterlite Industries (India), Jindal India Thermal Power and Lanco Infratech, power is likely to become one of the largest job-generating sectors in coming years.
According to Dr Bhaskar Bhattacharya, dean-school of engineering, Sharda University, “Many new nuclear power generation plants have been scheduled to start construction. In addition, the manufacturing industry is picking up steam. So electrical equipment is a new area where power electronics engineers are needed.”
He adds, “India is catching up with the West in electrical equipment usage. So for the next few decades, growth will be more than the supply of qualified power electronics engineers.”
Power electronics is a dynamic sector. It is becoming popular owing to its presence, usage and overlap with many other sectors
“The industrial sector offers job opportunities in the motor drives area. In the energy sector, it offers opportunities in companies that work on solar and wind energy conversion and power system compensation. The automotive sector offers job opportunities in the design of various automobile sub-systems, and electric and hybrid vehicles. Many of these are related to energy efficiency and usage. In the present energy scenario, opportunities and prospects for power electronics engineers are very good,” opines Dr Mukul Chandorkar, professor-electrical engineering department, IIT Bombay.