See how Andhra adopts IoT to improve discoms’ financial health (other States can take a cue)

Tue, 2018-02-27 15:20 -- SCC India Staff

Demand supply management

In a major step towards ushering in a transformational change in the power sector, the Andhra Pradesh government, in association with AutoGrid, announced an initiative aimed at adopting smart grid and Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions to improve utilities’ health and customer experiences.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu unveiled the program, which involves demand-side management (DSM) programs covering key segments, including agricultural pump-sets, residential or commercial ACs, and industrial units. The Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company (APSPDCL) will use the programs to evaluate its benefits to the utility as well as to the consumers in the State.

The Andhra Pradesh government will form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with AutoGrid to commercialize, 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 optimizations, battery storage, and microgrids.

APSPDCL, one of the most progressive utilities in India, provides over 28 TWh of electricity annually to its nearly 11 million consumers. In spite of being one of the best-run utilities in India, APSPDCL’s latest statement show a net deficit of Rs 34 billion per year on annual revenues of nearly Rs 150 billion.

The DSM solutions in the project will enable benefits of over Rs 10 billion per year when deployed at scale. This will be achieved via peak saving 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.

The World Bank and Government of India estimate the DSM investment potential in India is Rs 1.6 trillion, driving 180 billion kWh/year energy savings and avoiding 60 GWh of additional generation capacity investment, i.e. somewhere in the range of Rs 4 trillion capex avoidance. 

However, DSM in India has yet to be widely adopted due to a broad set of limitations. “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, Chief Executive Officer of AutoGrid Systems.

Three use cases are proposed by AutoGrid for DSM adoption to be undertaken by APSPDCL:

  • 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 groundwater 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 pump sets and 10x less than that of smart pump sets.
  • 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 the 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 the purchase of an energy efficient AC.
  • 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 represent a significant improvement over what was possible through complex and highly-customized industrial DSM solutions deployed earlier.