Varied interests in the energy and power sector viz., CDM, carbon rating, Monitoring & Evaluation, Energy Management, Rural Development; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy related matters; Demand Side Management (DSM), Energy Audits, Distributed Power Generation (Biomass, Wind,Solar and Small Hydro), Participatory Management.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Time to put ‘energy’ on your dashboards

Time to put 'energy' on your dashboards
D. Murali
Investment in building management systems and energy-efficient equipment is leading the energy management initiative in India, says Murali Ramalingam, CEO, ConnectM Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd, Bangalore ( "Companies are also investing in energy-efficient power sources such as solar, and wind-farm. However, the important trend that will have a sustainable impact on the energy intensity of the country's GDP is the increasing energy consciousness in the overall investment decision-making of the consumer – household or enterprise," he adds, during the course of a recent interaction with Business Line.
Excerpts from the interview.
Why has it become necessary for CXOs to focus on energy management and efficiency?
Energy management has found priority in strategy discussions of the boardrooms today. Enterprises accept it as a business need, more than a voluntary social responsibility. This is driven primarily by the already evident and further expected increase in energy cost per $ of business. Infusion of technology in the way business is done – IT, processes and infrastructure – and, the expanding demand-supply gap of energy will only fuel this further.
CXOs find it imperative to proactively address energy efficiency to improve their returns to the shareholders – by improving their product compliance to energy norms, taking control of energy spends, and aligning to the regulatory changes.
The kind of work that the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in India is doing is revolutionising the way consumers think and choose, and companies are taking that into account in the way they make, market, and maintain their products and services.
Our analysis of 600 Indian companies with revenues in excess of Rs 1,000 crore shows that energy cost averages at 5 per cent of their revenues. This is significant, and has the potential to contribute towards improving the EBITDA by 50 to 100 basis points.
The regulatory environment taking shape in the energy ecosystem globally will also drive energy management action.
Today the CXOs are championing the 'going green' objectives, as apart from the environment benefit it also achieves cost reductions on energy consumption and adds to the bottom line.
What parameters of energy management need continual monitoring at the top levels of organisations? The metrics that should be on their dashboards.
Top managements need to keep a tab on the trend of their day-to-day and their long-term energy needs.
Energy dashboards comprise building variability information such as occupancy, lux-levels, ambient and in-building temperatures, and air-quality. Further, data-centre monitoring solutions comprise 'energy monitoring dashboards' that help understand the energy consumption correlated to the various levels of computing power and storage capacity made available by the centre.
For telecommunication companies, the energy dashboard will capture and present fuel consumption in the telecom cell-sites, efficiency of the various energy assets such as aircons, battery banks, BTSs.
Innovative energy management systems can help companies map, monitor, and control these parameters at a granular level. The key is to apply best-practices for continuous improvement in the observed performance as reported by the dashboard. The voluminous information calls for expert energy analytics to observe trends, predict energy patterns, and enable proactive decision-making.
A simple turn-off/ turn-on based on occupancy has a significant impact on lighting and HVAC assets, in terms of reducing energy consumption and consequently a reduced energy bill.
How soon can be the payback of technology-based energy management solutions?
The success of technology-based energy management solutions is driven by the 'pays-for-itself' value proposition. The payback can be typically within the 2-year timeline.
The energy service company (ESCO) model successfully ties in the financial risk and rewards of the investment in the energy management solution. BEE has notified ESCOs in the country (we are one of them) that offer performance-based contracts to the customers.
Does 'green' bring its own energy overheads?
Customers need to be convinced that the energy solution is not part of the problem itself. For instance, an occupancy sensor installed to automate light switching based on occupancy should not end up increasing the energy consumption due to its own operation! The processes deployed in the manufacturing of energy-saving equipments need to be 'green,' as well.
It is also important to understand that the largest energy efficiencies can be driven by the simplest means of 'greening.' For instance, solutions can be optimised to help in reducing the energy consumption at the sensor level through modifications done before installing them.
What are the sectors where energy consumption is huge? What is the potential of the energy management market in India?
At 8 per cent of GDP, the overall energy consumption in India stands at approximately $112 billion. We narrowed it down, and found that 600 of the largest companies alone spend in excess of $25 billion.
Of these, IT services, banking, hospitality, communication and media are predominantly knowledge- and services-based industries that spend the most on IT infrastructure, building assets, and field equipments.
Our take is that energy management can help reduce these spends by at least $2.5 billion to $3 billion for the enterprise. At two times that sum, the energy management market in India can easily be pegged at upwards of $5 billion. This does not consider the market for energy management in the household, which can be as big, if not larger.
Would you like to tell us about recent significant successes in terms of cost saving achieved by your large customers?
ConnectM's customers have seen a 10 per cent reduction of their energy bills. We have now deployed this solution successfully for the commercial real estate of over 1 million square feet across 10 customers, and are delivering energy cost saving of the order Rs 50 lakh annually to them.
In the telecom infrastructure space, our solution is well placed to deliver a 5 per cent to 8 per cent impact on the EBITDA.
A key value proposition of our engagement is that we provide end-to-end managed service delivery. Our customers contract us as the 'Chief Energy Officer' who takes charge of all their energy efficiency needs. This helps them enhance savings and increase productivity.

Gopinath S
Chief Executive
nRG Consulting Services, Bangalore
+91 99161 29728


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