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Home » Energy Management » Pandemic opens up digital opportunities

Pandemic opens up digital opportunities

October 30, 2020 7:58 pm

Pandemic opens up digital opportunities
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Schneider Electric believes that digitisation of power can ensure better resource optimisation in the industry. Latish Babu, Director, Power & Grid Segment, Schneider Electric India said, “Digital power management and utility alliances will ensure secure, consistent and productive operation of the electrical infrastructure.”

What’s your take on the recent performance of power sector in India?
Power, crucial for the economic growth and welfare of the nations, is one of the most critical components of infrastructure. For the sustainable growth of the Indian economy, the existence and development of adequate infrastructure is fundamental.

At least three critical factors of India’s power sector health – demand, supply or generation and power plant capacity utilisation frame a concerning picture fuelled by the wider ongoing economic slowdown and continued deterioration of DISCOM health.

The pandemic has had a massive impact on most businesses, and the Indian power sector, which is typically resilient, has seen a drop in the peak demand, which decreased by over 25 percent in April 2020 and by around 14 percent in May 2020. The growth in the medium and long-term power consumption or power demand is unlikely until the economy regains pre-COVID 19 levels of operation.

During the recent lockdown, fuel and plant availability were not limited in terms of power supply, as electricity supply remained an essential commodity. However, the availability of raw materials, particularly solar modules and equipment was impacted due to supply chain disruption. The sector saw recovery as coal consumption fell by 6 percent and renewables turned out to be a resilient financial asset compared to conventional generation during this crisis.

What is the future of Indian power sector in 2021?
India’s power sector market is projected to draw Rs 9-9.5 trillion of investment between FY19 and FY23. Industrial activity expansion will raise electricity demand, rising population, and increasing electrification, per capita usage, are some of the significant reasons to attribute. Power consumption is estimated to reach 1,894.7 TWh in 2022.

Due to government’s comprehensive efforts to boost the country’s electricity access, the Indian power sector is experiencing an expansion in the share of renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix. Furthermore, 100 percent FDI was authorised under the automatic power and renewable energy route.

The ongoing energy transition of the world, with a move to clean renewable energy, is evident. The actions of the government are intended to quickly infuse renewable energy into the system. It is also essential to increase technology adoption and implementation. The current capacity of India’s renewables (solar and wind) is 74 GW, and by 2022, the country has set an ambitious target of achieving 175 GW. Other major initiatives include the implementation of intelligent meters and tariff streamlining benefits under the UDAY 2.0 or ADITYA and other schemes.

Furthermore, the power distribution sector’s privatisation would ensure productive and safe ways to access customers, residential and businesses with electricity. The residential sector will also develop at the fastest pace during the forecast period. Due to technical and economic developments and increasing government support for mandatory smart meter implementation projects in the market, rising power consumption drives the smart meter growth rate among residential consumers.

What is that one recent breakthrough policy decision that will drive the growth of electrical equipment industry in India?
While the government promotes the expansion of renewable energy capacity, it is a fundamental need to strengthen the existing electricity supply infrastructure. Electrical infrastructure is forced to do more, making the grid smarter and more reliable using digital technologies. IoT-led smart equipment can dramatically reduce power outage frequency and duration, resulting in improved protection and lower operating costs.

Given that government plans to substantially increase installed capacity by 2022 calls for corresponding increase in T&D capacity, Indian electrical equipment manufacturers must meet the demand for such enormous additional capacity not only, but also for metros, airports, railways, and other infrastructure projects, as well as the increase in domestic market demand.

Smart metering helps boost the billing and collection efficiency and effectiveness portion, thus reducing the difference in real supply cost and average revenue.

What will drive the growth of your business in India beyond 2020?
The Indian power sector’s complexity (both infra and power business model) is increasing more than ever and this can only be managed with sophisticated technologies and application of future technologies like IoT, AR/VR, AI, ML etc., Schneider Electric’s Eco S reference architect holds the answer for all these evolving technological needs.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Architecture supports with apps, analytics and services to enable operational decisions through a microgrid management software. The platform is purpose-built to help power-critical and energy-intensive facilities maximise uptime and operational efficiency. EcoStruxure Power Advisor offers a proactive, analytics-based service for the power management system, combining expert advice with advanced algorithms to ensure data quality and help you achieve optimised energy performance and power reliability.

At Schneider Electric, we assume the ADMS real-time platform will become the standard IoT platform for full distribution network management. It will act as a link between operations management and business management, clearly identifying organisational processes and information flow — a key to the phase of digital transformation that the modern utility must face.

Advisors help assess needs and set effective power management strategies. They help to validate the data integrity from a digital network. Advanced analytical methods lead to priority actions to optimise the productivity of maintenance teams and to address all problems.

Finally, enabling our channel partners network. The more we center them on business conversations, the more we will be able to contribute to mutually beneficial solutions and revenue streams.

Despite challenges, how is your company turning the tide in its favour?
Schneider Electric believes that digitisation of power can ensure better resource optimisation in the industry. We aspire to reinforce our commitment by digitising the power delivery and thereby create a more effective, sustainable, reliable and connected ‘New Energy Environment’.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, digital transformation became even more urgent. Players with substantial adoption of automation have been comparatively less affected by the pandemic. In addition to helping minimise costs, digital opens opportunities to develop new business models, allowing for greater control by digitising analogue processes and encouraging new ways of working.

Digital power management and utility alliances will ensure secure, consistent and productive operation of the electrical infrastructure. These new digital technologies can help a facility team keep up with conditions, resolve threats, and capture opportunities.

In addition to helping minimise costs, digital opens opportunities to develop new business models, allowing for greater control by digitising analogue processes and encouraging new ways of working.
Latish Babu, Director, Power & Grid Segment, Schneider Electric India

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