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Automated Demand Response can help utilities shift peak load


Although India is a surplus power-producing nation, the real problem lies in the low voltage distribution grid due to network congestion and mismatch between supply and demand peaks. With the increasing adoption of electric vehicles and rooftop solar PVs, matching supply with demand of power will become critical to ensure network reliability.

Upgrading a distribution network is often expensive and time-consuming. The increasing load can be accommodated without network upgradations through peak shaving and efficient demand response solutions which not only tend to be smarter but more cost-effective to implement.

To tackle the above problem, ‘Automated Demand Response (ADR) is the most optimized solution. ADR helps the utility realise the true potential of flexibility within the existing assets and integrate RE in a seamless fashion. A demonstration was hence carried out to showcase the way demand response can be managed at a utility level.

Demonstration Project

Panitek Power, in collaboration with GreenCom Networks, implemented an automated demand-side energy management solution with the cooling loads (ACs) at a test platform provided by BSES Yamuna at their office in New Delhi.

The pilot showcased how ADR can be carried out in a smart and centralized fashion. In this case, the AC units are not turned off, only the modes and setpoints changed remotely to reduce power, such that the ventilation is maintained. There is no impact on the life and warranty as no additional switching cycle or modification is required in the AC unit.

The demonstration focused on cooling as the running times of ACs coincide, contributing the most towards the peak load curve of a discom. The potential flexibility of ACs is very high and significant. The solution implemented by Panitek Power and GreenCom aims to optimise the overall load pattern, shift peaks and provide peak load relief to the discom. Once implemented, they are highly replicable and scalable across other regions as well, independent of the device manufacturer.

Apart from ACs other commercial installations and large consumer appliances such as pumps, EVSE (public and private) or water heaters can be incorporated into the demand side flexibility program. Consumer appliances need to be registered with the discom for it to be a part of the program. Utilities can use such innovative solutions to carry out multiple DR events in a day as required to shave peak loads and manage congestions, on a need basis.

The demonstration project successfully highlighted the solution and shows how the solution can support utilities to shift peak load. The report by Panitek Power and GreenCom focuses on the pilot conducted and highlights the significant flexibility potential offered by existing consumer appliances. The document provides a brief overview about the approach chosen, the power shifting strategy and learnings from the demonstration.

To access the full report: Click Here

Highlights of the Panel Discussion

  • The concept of demand-side management is not new but still is in its nascent stage and has some way to go, especially in terms of the possibilities of optimizing grid feedback of consumer appliances by the utility.

  • Regulatory acceptance and incentives also need to be in place to accommodate and push such technologies as an alternative to grid upgradation.

  • Through load shifts, a higher share of renewable energy production can be integrated as well.

  • The same solution can be extended by the utility as a fail-safe option for grid balancing and load reduction to avoid deviation penalty (DSM) charges.

  • The power of demand-side management is in controlling a large number of appliances at the same point in time while maintaining comfort levels to achieve high acceptability by the consumers.

Key takeaways

For carrying out optimised ADR events at scale, an intelligent, centralised, cloud-based automated system needs to be in place, as provided by GreenCom Networks.

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