Interview

The predominance of energy data

Discussions on sustainability and energy saving have started picking up and are resulting in appropriate action being taken

Alok Kishore, CEO, WAGO India

Energy data acquired, automated and presented clearly brings transparency to the company using it. Sustained loss of energy and power is the elephant in the room. Alok Kishore, CEO, WAGO India, shares what needs to be done to subside these losses and what crucial part automation plays in regenerating the environment.

How does WAGO’s energy audit implement accurate efficiency?
Any company should know how much energy is being utilised; they should also know whether there is an optimal amount of energy available and any part of it is not getting wasted. One way to check it is measuring the peak loads and non-peak loads and analyse the differences. If it is found that the difference is not too high this indicates energy loss somewhere. Another approach is to measure energy consumption of rated capacity devices. For example, if there are 10 devices of 1kw capacity each are running and the energy consumption of these devices collectively is more than 10kw, then you know the energy is getting wasted. To make such analysis, WAGO offers products and solutions to capture this data online, store it in runtime software where we calculate and show what is causing so much energy loss.

Please walk us through WAGO energy metering solution.
For energy metering, we have showcased solutions that are currently being used by public utility companies. In India, the public infrastructure has a lot of scope for improvement. Currently industry faces 15 per cent to 20 per cent transmission and distribution losses and it is not known where. Hence, it is imperative to capture the data to gauge the losses. WAGO intuitive technology can record the real-time data and enable remote monitoring at the sub-station level to precisely identify where their infrastructure must be modernised. WAGO supports digitising the energy management process with state-of-the-art control and measurement technology, along with software solutions that are open, scalable and easy to parameterise enabling simple and secure connection to the cloud.

What are the new opportunities and challenges for energy management?
First and foremost challenge is that the companies have to be amenable to find solution to efficiently manage energy. How many companies would actually install more devices and incur cost to find out whether they are losing energy. There is a general notion that systems are running fine and energy management is not something which needs more emphasis than switching off the device when not in use. However, discussions on sustainability and energy saving have started picking up and are resulting in appropriate action being taken. So, the first hurdle is to make organisation realise that it is very important to measure the energy and analyse for its optimum use.

The second is about the technology; every solution or platform provider is investing in development of their own and unique offerings. This makes it difficult to standardise the usage of technology. For example in absence of any industrial guidelines, different companies are using different communication platform such as PROFINET, ETHERNET or host of other communication protocols. A lot of time and energy is invested in planning and selecting the right energy management solution.

Energy management is an opportunity for every company. In order to use them, every company has to do its homework. In fact, the challenges are just as varied and diverse as the companies themselves. While there is no such thing as an all-in-one solution, smart products, methods, and partners can help advance digitisation in businesses in a way that benefits all involved.

On the other hand, the concept of automated energy management has just started to crack open in India. So, analysing the receptiveness of the market for the same is difficult to determine. It is, however, not so stable, but could be a lucrative future market.

How do you view the future of automation from environmental perspective?
Optimising environmental protection processes is very crucial now. We see that the pollution control boards have become much stricter. They want data about gases, which are being flared off or put into the atmosphere, to be monitored. Similarly, for the river projects, the government is trying to monitor the effluent and the waste being dumped into the rivers and want to regenerate the river. A lot of automation needs to be done here because you would be gathering and monitoring a lot of complicated and diversified data.

In the context of energy management, you consume what you generate and generation and distribution have its limitations. Hence, it becomes imperative to automate processes to monitor the consumption in real-time and make necessary changes to optimise the usage.

Increased focus on generating green energy augurs a positive impact on environment and a new stream of automation altogether. Power engineering requires specialised automation understanding and tools to make it safe, reliable and cost effective. Also, it also requires connecting systems of a certain size to the control system of the grid operator so that they can be down-regulated remotely as required, in other words – telecontrol.

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