Industry Analysis

Transforming India’s energy management system

How can India be a hub for energy management?

India’s energy scenario is changing every day, owing to increasing rate of industrialisation and exponential growth rate of population. The government is also taking perils to bring positive energy balance for its citizen.

Energy management is now becoming a familiar word in the industrial arena. With all the big players like Schneider, Siemens, and Secure coming into the picture, the market of energy management is getting stiffer. Building management system, SCADA, energy monitoring system, HVACs controller, UPS etc, are all different ways of load management. India right now is nurturing one of the most advance Iota framework (Internet of Things) and largest Internet user group in the world.

While explaining how India can be a hub for energy management Chintan Soni, Co-Founder & CEO, Ecolibrium Energy Pvt Ltd explains, “Multinational and national companies are setting their research wings and data centers in India to process their global operations. This is opening many opportunities for the local level companies to experiment and innovate. Foundry, smart grid, petrol, transport, manufacturing, and end any industry you name is rustling to have the most efficient energy policy in place. Government thrust on factors like production and consumption of more green energy, building getting green energy ratings. India’s dream of creating smart healthcare, campus, transport etc is opening many doors for investment specific to the energy sector. Understanding the importance of India in world business process, especially being an operation hub for many MNCs. India is definitely the hub of energy management. It is possible to show saving directly on energy cost using the EMS method.”

India home to 18 per cent of the world’s population uses only 6 per cent of the world’s primary energy. India’s energy consumption has almost doubled since 2000 and the potential for further rapid growth is enormous. “India currently has become a power surplus country, but in order to retain this status it has to add more and more power plants as the demand is rising alarmingly. With global ambitions India is currently the largest producer of textiles, chemical products, pharmaceuticals, basic metals, general machinery and equipment, and electrical machinery. Indian manufactures are focusing on the process of automation, IIoT and Industry 4.0. These processes are already driving efficiency, productivity, agility, adaptability and optimisation. This development is offering people to get more efficient to next level. All these expansion are increasing demand for more energy consumption in the country. This is also making India hub for energy management as latest technologies are used to manage the energy,” states Latish Babu, Director, Utilities and Power Generation, Schneider Electric India.

Energy conserved and saved is equivalent to energy generated. Spending on energy conservation not only reduces energy bills, but saves precious natural resources, and reduces investments required in additional power generation capacity. It is a great benefit for the country. The government needs to actively promote energy conservation in industry, including IT industry and especially sectors consuming heavy loads. In a small way, initiatives have been taken by promoting use of energy efficient equipment in foundries in various pockets in India. Such initiatives need to be given publicity, and provide a platform for companies to green brand themselves. “Energy saving systems and equipment should also be incentivised by the government to make them affordable. Apart from equipment, training needs to be imparted to our engineers to make them energy managers, so that they can design and implement energy programs within their organisations. Such skills are few and hard to come by, and our educational institutes do not have courses along these lines either. These steps would go a long way in promoting India as an energy hub,” points out Bhuvana Nagaraj, Manager – Quality & Strategy, NSOFT (India) Services Pvt Ltd.

As per Rajiv Kumar, Director-Marketing Electrical Sector, India Eaton Power Quality Pvt Ltd, India is expected to be one of the largest growth regions in the world for data center Infrastructure spends in the near future. By adopting the right technological innovations the data centers in India can be a showcase of optimal energy management.
Good management is the need for long term success and efficient operation in any organisation. “Energy management is the systematic usage of energy, based on environmental and economic objectives. And what you can’t measure, you can’t manage it, so energy management system helps you monitor and control energy in real time,” says Vinit Kulkarni, Head- Marketing, Greenovative Energy Solutions.

Kulkarni shares few benefits of energy management systems:
Real-time data acquisition: Provides continuously monitored data on its dashboard based on configurable interval.

Removes manual errors:
A typical procedure in every industry for monitoring energy parameters is – an appointed person/electrician goes to every energy meter and collects values and enters those manually into an excel sheet which is presented to the management at the end of the month.

And mostly this manually collected data mismatches with the actual data survey and hence actual energy consumption reading may not match at the end of the month.

EMS improves data accuracy by eliminating human errors in the data collection/analysis.

Reduces maintenance costs: By analysing every electrical parameter, proactive actions can be taken to prevent sudden breakdown of facility.

Continuously monitoring: Monitoring power factor helps avoid huge penalty imposed by the electricity board and increases chances of getting incentives

Kullkarni also informs about the product called GreenErgy. He says, “GreenErgy is a real time data acquisition, monitoring, analysis and reporting software tool for an effective energy management within the electrical system. It is a perfect fit for all types of electrical facilities. It monitors everything even during non-operating hours also including weekends, holidays etc, so that you can eliminate this ghost loads and save energy cost.”

Features of GreenErgy are:
Configurable consumption reports: Reports like Individual consumption report, shift-wise consumption reports, and collective consumption reports on hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis can also be generated.
Historical data analysis: GreenErgy logs data at user defined interval period and provides data dashboard access on real time basis.
Supports all energy meters with RS-485 port: Easy to install as it supports all the energy meters with RS 485 ports. This helps reuse existing infra and equipment and saves cost.

Alerts: Alert for equipment can be set such that whenever equipment is misbehaving then GreenErgy will notify the configured users via SMS or an E-mail or it will pop up an alert on the screen itself.

Changing India’s energy management system for Datacenters
Data centers are the brain of a company where the most critical processes are run. Very large scale operations require advanced IT infrastructures to process complex information. All these activities are conducted through the substantial amount of hardware fitted properly in an outhouse or separately in a room within secure premises. Depending on their size, these are referred to as ‘server rooms’ or data centers. Most of the large companies and government agencies maintain big data centers. They are vulnerable to theft, accidents or intentional manipulations. As these computers are working 24/7, it’s vital for them to receive sufficient cooling. After all, there is a lot of powerful hardware working in one place.

Looking for operational point of view, periodic back-up, power sourcing, shift planning is very important so that the process can run smoothly without any breaks. The more extensive and critical hardware requires optimal protection for running complex software. Even delay for a nano second can cause huge loss to the business.

When asked about what needs to be changed in India’s energy management systems for data center Soni said, “Energy management system is playing an extremely vital role in managing the data centers.” He points out, “Because of the heat liberated and security concerns, manual monitoring or supervision for these server rooms are hardly effective. Building Management System and SCADA either work to save the crisis situation or else provides just reading at regular intervals. Concepts like planning, per minute analysis and forecasting are missing. Another big challenge is the fact that these systems are LAN based infrastructure which just adds to the complexity of these rooms.”

Wireless energy management system is better alternatives for managing energy at data centre. They are cost effective, retrofit and operates on conditional monitoring. Their sensors support both physical and nonphysical parameters, receptive to any small changes. Data storage is convenient as it’s on the cloud, accessible from anywhere in the world. Asset analytics provides actionable insights after studying the historic data like alert, alarms, emails and SMS to avoid any critical situation. Automated control saves a lot of time to act when tested. Asset health check-ups can be scheduled reading to the forecasting done by these systems. Energy wastage, overloading, wiring malfunctions can be easily identified due to its real time (per minute) monitoring, believes Soni.

Energy analytics (Amalgamation of Data science on Energy Data) is an acclaimed concept in the west, especially wireless energy analytics. ‘Tier’ rating as defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is provided to companies as an indicator of security level. “In India this concept is new and only a few companies offer EMS for data centers. SmartSense is India’s first wireless energy management solution which is making a huge difference in the sector,” informs Soni.

Our world is changing very rapidly. At one point in time we thought that electricity access for all was a good enough goals but still today we have not achieved that goal. At the same time, urbanisation, modern lifestyles, advances in infocomm technologies, have made us a technology and information dependent society. Driving the information economy are the data centers that host all of the data. Data centers which were until now relevant only for large banks or software companies, has become more important in the context of a move of almost all technologies and platforms to the cloud.

Data centers guzzle energy just like any heavy industry. When equipment is faulty, it consumes even more energy, thus becoming in efficient. Data centers also need huge amounts of energy to cool the interiors. The data centers costs are mainly energy and equipment. Companies go to great extents to save energy costs, such as having data centers in the sea or in icy mountains, believes Nagaraj. She says, “While we cannot think of these solutions in India, we need to use energy management systems to effectively reduce energy consumption of a data center. These systems gather a whole host of data, analyse it and raise alerts enabling energy managers to take appropriate action to save energy. Proper energy management helps identify problems in equipment, maintain them and keep them in peak condition, so that they don’t affect the entire system, causing downtime. Hence, India’s data centers need to have an active energy management plan in place, such as ISO50001 or go in for green data centre certifications. This will put them on a path where they begin to plan how to implement energy management programs. An energy management system provides the energy manager with data and information to implement and make improvements in energy consumption over time.”

Recent years have seen rapid growth in global demand for computing capacity, resulting in the industry having to not only increase the number of data centers, but also having to invest in significant upgrades to extend the capacity of their existing facilities. According to the Federal Energy Management Program, the average data center requires 200 per cent more energy to operate than a normal office space. Most of this energy goes to cooling equipment, server load, and other computing operations. To control this consumption advanced power monitoring is required.

As per Latish, some major steps required like identifying areas where energy savings can be attained, implementing energy reduction programs and monitoring their progress and assuring the reliability of power to avoid downtime and lost revenue can help India datacenters to control energy management perfectly.

Data centers in India have an opportunity to leverage the latest technology advances to optimise energy management, believes Kumar. Today, through cloud/virtualisation platforms the power utilisation of the major components of the data center power infrastructure – including UPS systems, ePDU’s, servers, network and other critical hardware – can be monitored and controlled real time – at an enterprise level – to ensure efficient energy consumption. “By adapting an energy management strategy that leverages UPS and rack systems that provide highest efficiency coupled with power density, and through capacity planning which enables the data center’s available power and cooling to grow in proportion to IT loads. India’s data centers can achieve industry-leading PUE levels,” he states.

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