In a bid to transform the electricity sector, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, in association with AutoGrid, has announced a programme aimed at adopting smart grid and Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions to improve utilities’ health and customer experiences.
It involves demand-side management (DSM) programmes covering key segments, including agricultural pump-sets, residential/commercial ACs and industrial units. The Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company (APSPDCL) will use the programmes to evaluate its benefits to the utility as well as to the consumers in the state.
“The Government of Andhra Pradesh shall be forming a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with AutoGrid to commercialise, scale up and replicate their technologies – as well as globally – upon the successful completion of these projects. This will also cover other energy applications such as grid-scale optimisations, battery storage and MicroGrids,” Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said while unveiling the programme at the recently-held CII Partnership Summit.
(L – R) Bhartendu Sinha, VP & MD (India), AutoGrid; Bhargava GA, senior manager Product Engineering, AutoGrid; Dr Amit Narayan, founder & CEO, AutoGrid; Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu; Vish Ganti, N America Solution architect & project manager, AutoGrid; P Balakumar, senior manager solution delivery, AutoGrid.
The DSM solutions in the project will enable benefits of over Rs 1000 crore per year (over $150 million) when deployed at scale. This savings will be achieved via peak shaving for capex avoidance, time of use implementation to leverage cheaper power at off-peak hours, soil moisture-based pump-set operation to intelligently reduce power used for agricultural purposes, AC cycling to drive both energy-efficiency and peak load shaving, and renewable integration to incorporate cheaper solar and wind power supply without impacting reliability or quality of service, Naidu said.
“This project with AutoGrid further reinforces Government of Andhra Pradesh’s commitment to become a technology leader in the IoT and energy sector,” said Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary for Energy Ajay Jain. “We expect this project to further extend the lead that AP has in terms of reliability and power quality, and will serve a model of how utilities across India can utilise IoT and big data analytics to improve their operations.”
The World Bank and Government of India estimate the DSM investment potential in India is Rs 160,000 crore ($25 billion), driving 180 billion kWh/year energy savings and avoiding 60 GWh of additional generation capacity investment, ie somewhere in the range of Rs 400,000 crore ($60 billion) capex avoidance. However, DSM in India has yet to be widely adopted due to a broad set of limitations, according to the press release.
“We are excited to be partnering with APSPDCL and the Government of Andhra Pradesh to bring a proven solution deployed at some of the leading global utilities around the world for the first time to India.” said Dr Amit Narayan, CEO, AutoGrid Systems. “This solution not only provides significant savings to the utility, but also delivers strong benefits to consumers, thereby aiding in improved governance.”
He added: “As the global leader in Demand Response Management Systems (DRMS), AutoGrid has deployed its DSM solutions at dozens of utilities worldwide that manage several GW of flexible load. AutoGrid has evaluated the needs of DSM in India and, by working with the utilities and Government of Andhra Pradesh (along with inputs from other states / utilities), has engineered a solution with a set of partners that enables several DSM use cases specific to the Indian context to be addressed effectively.”
According to the press release, three use cases are proposed by AutoGrid for DSM adoption to be undertaken by APSPDCL. Firstly, Agricultural pump-sets remote activation based on time of use to match surplus and cheap power in night or mid-day, and based on soil moisture levels monitored by IoT, will reduce power subsidies, save ground water and provide convenience to millions of farmers with respect to the frequency of visits to their fields. The cost of AutoGrid’s proposed IoT solution is 100x less than that of solar pumpsets and 10x less than that of smart pumpsets.
Secondly, Capex saving via peak load shaving and high return on investment through energy efficiency using remote cycling of power to residential / commercial ACs. This also leads to reduced energy bills for the consumers, and provides convenience and peace of mind with reference to AC use during night or when outside the home. The cost of delivering 1W of energy efficiency with AutoGrid’s solution is 10x less than the total cost incurred by the utility (via a state subsidy) and customer for purchase of an energy efficient AC.
Thirdly, Capex saving via peak load shaving using remote and intelligent cycling of power to non-critical industrial loads – this will also enable factory owners and industrialists to accurately monitor/control energy spending, and automatically save a part of their energy costs without expensive, unpopular changes. The speed and cost of industrial demand response that AutoGrid enables represents a significant improvement over what was possible through complex and highly-customised industrial DSM solutions deployed earlier. AutoGrid and its partners look forward to engaging the Government of Andhra Pradesh and APSPDCL in these path-breaking programs which will create the basis for transformational changes in the electricity sector.
AutoGrid builds software applications that enable a smarter distributed energy world. The company’s suite of flexibility management applications allows utilities, electricity retailers, renewable energy project developers and energy service providers to deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy by managing networked distributed energy resources (DERs) in real time and at scale. AutoGrid applications are built on the AutoGrid Energy Internet Platform™ (EIP™), with patented Predictive Controls™ technology to monitor, predict, optimize and control millions of distributed assets connected across global energy networks. AutoGrid has more than 2,500 megawatts of DERs under contract with more than 30 leading energy companies around the world.