Saturday, April 13, 2024

Connectivity and Consumerisation Drive Renewables

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BEMS is the basic building block of forming a community energy-management systems (CEMSes) in capital, which, in turn, leads to forming micro-grids. The benefit here is that even if a natural disaster were to hit and all sub-stations and power generation was lost, a micro-grid would be able to bring the city back to life. In a way, this can be seen as an aid to disaster management as well. Fuji Electric Japan has already partnered with a state government in India to implement micro-grids.

Today there are engineers who are considering using ultracapacitors instead of batteries. Why? The tipping point that caused people to move from batteries to ultracapacitors is driven by battery maintenance and replacement cost. Lifetime cost is also lower since you have to change batteries frequently; ultracapacitors last much longer.

The problem is that, we also see almost 40 per cent transmission and distribution losses in our grids. “This means you need to make it efficient first and then make it smart. Micro-grids are something that I am very bullish on. A concept like this where the community can drive their own self-sustaining power is absolutely fantastic,” says Sanjay Kumar, CEO and MD of Altran India.

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Shuey says that firms like Embitel Technologies are building connections and partnerships with leading clean-tech companies that are providing solutions to the energy sector. “We are working with companies delivering real-time monitoring solutions using the latest sensing technologies, companies that are delivering power-generation systems that run on alternative fuel and those that enable closed-loop systems that link traditional fossil fuel and renewable-energy solutions. It all starts with collaboration and partnership; demonstrating solutions where there is the largest return on investment. The days of junk science are over.”

The idea is to start from the consumer side by implementing smartmeters that have two-way communication, as well as the ability for the utility company to connect or disconnect the power supply itself. “It also tracks usage data and status to provide the utility company with data to help make its system more efficient. Outage management systems are also implemented these days in tandem with Fuji Electric’s SCADA system to provide information to call centres and consumers to get information on status of grids, reasons for failure and estimated time for it to be back in action,” says Chandna. Fuji Electric intends to provide a Haryana State Electricity Distribution company an end-to-end solution including smart metering, meter data management and outage management.

What is driving this sector? Decentralised solar power plants, new energy-storage solutions, higher-efficiency inverters, which can deliver efficiency to the tune of 98.3 per cent and better cooling systems have come up. “The rooftop market is what excited me the most. We have done a series of installations in Manesar, which alone has about 5000 roofs. Using this, Gurgaon by itself can bring in about 40MW of solar power in a span of two months. Godrej itself is setting up the systems to generate 5MW of power on our own rooftops,” says Nitesh Madan, manager – north PIRE, Godrej Electricals & Electronics.

Transformers play a big role in transmission losses. “What is happening today is that, low-quality equipment are used because there is no prior inspection being done by the client. The second is the project-management-execution capability and quality that plays an important role. Even if good equipment is used but cable execution was not properly done, it will cause an increase in losses,” according to Simarpreet Singh, head strategy, Hartek Power Pvt Ltd. Quality should be maintained by having inhouse testing facilities that are accredited by a third party like National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).


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