Smart grid implementation in India

This image represents current situation of electricity grids in many Indian cities, and the project aims at understanding the ongoing transformation process with implementation of smart grids.


The postdoctoral research project focused on deployment and implementation of smart grids in India. The STandUP research program( funded the postdoctoral project. The aim of the project at describing the development of smart grids in India by showcasing differences in implementation and use of smart grids than advanced nations like Sweden. The project focused on using a transnational perspective for studying the current development of smart grids in an emerging economy like India and also showcasing the role of advanced economies like Sweden in supporting the current national initiatives in India. The project highlighted the role of Swedish industry in supporting current smart grid programs and demonstration projects in India through various transnational linkages such as the bilateral exchange between governments, funding of India Smart Grid Week 2016, firm level co-operation as well as current smart pilot and demonstration projects in India. The aim was to present a broader and alternative perspective to smart grid development by focusing on the role of political dynamics, actor strategies,  policies and institutional arrangements in the development of smart grids.             


The aim of this research is to go beyond current techno-economic and engineering research on smart grids and offer a broader perspective on implementation of smart grids in a real-world context. The research aims at examining social, political and institutional challenges involved in their large-scale deployment of smart grids by studying and analyzing some of the promising pilot and demonstration projects and government initiatives in India. 


The project utilized a qualitative case study approach to study smart grid implementation in India. The data collection procedure involved semi-structured interviews with experts, archival and secondary data sources such as industry and government reports and observations in industry forums as well as field visits to energy utilities. During the postdoctoral research project, I conducted two rounds of field work in India i.e. in March 2016 and August 2016. During the first visit, I attended the India Smart Grid Week 2016 where I gathered data on different smart grid narratives propagated by various smart grid experts. During the second visit, I gathered data on five different smart grid demonstration projects in India by interacting with project managers and visiting distribution utilities involved in different demonstration projects.


Smart grids, India, narratives, demonstration projects, implementation

Research Group

Project leaders

Professor Dr. Arne Kaijser (Retired) and Associate Professor Dr. Per Hogselius

Main researcher

Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Suyash Jolly

Division of History of Science, Technology, and Environment
Energy section
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Stockholm, Sweden

Links and references

The project has so far resulted in the following research output which can be accessed using the following links:

Working papers for Journal articles

1. Jolly, S. Between promising narratives and incremental changes: Exploring the role of the ‘‘Indian smart grid week” in implementing smart grids. (To be submitted to Journal of Cleaner Production) (Link:

2. Jolly, S. From multiple promises to implementation bottlenecks: lessons from ongoing smart grid demonstration projects in India. (To be submitted to Research Policy) (Link:

Summary of the project

3. Jolly, S. Postdoctoral project final report: Smart grid development in India. (Link:

Conference presentations, workshops, and seminars

1. Jolly, S. 2017. From multiple promises to implementation bottlenecks: lessons from ongoing smart grid demonstration projects in India. Accepted for the special session: Smart Cities/Smart Grids: Reconfiguring Urbanism? AAG (American Association of Geographers) 2017, Boston. (Link:

2. Jolly, S. 2016. Smart grid development in India: Separating promises from messy reality. KTH Higher seminar series, 24th October 2016, Division of History of Science, Technology, and Environment, KTH Stockholm, Sweden. (Link:

3. Jolly, S. 2016. Mainstreaming smart grids in India: Exploring the potential of ”Indian smart grid forum” as a field configuring event for the development of smart grid niche. Presented at 7th International Sustainability Transitions Conference (IST 2016), September 6-9, 2016, Wuppertal Institute, Wuppertal, Germany. (Link:

4. Jolly, S. 2016. Smart grid development in India. Spring StandUp Academy, 26th May 2016, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. (Link:

5. Jolly, S. 2016. Smart grids in India: Findings from field research. 19th September 2016. KTH Royal Institute of Technology. (Link:

6. Jolly, S. 2016. Energy, geopolitics and sustainability transitions. Course and lecture: AK 220, lecture 3 Date: 14 September 2016. (Link: