Interview: SN GOEL, Chairman & MD, Indian Energy Exchange (IEX): 'Digital tech can transform India’s power sector' -

Interview: SN GOEL, Chairman & MD, Indian Energy Exchange (IEX): ‘Digital tech can transform India’s power sector’


India provides immense scope for energy efficient solutions specifically aimed at low carbon transition such as the PAT scheme promoted by Bureau of Energy Efficiency.India provides immense scope for energy efficient solutions specifically aimed at low carbon transition such as the PAT scheme promoted by Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) is India’s first and largest power trading platform, providing a nationwide automated trading platform for the physical delivery of electricity, renewables, and certificates. “Technology has been instrumental to our growth and energy market development since inception,” says SN Goel, chairman & managing director, IEX. “Technologies such as smart metering, smart sensors, grid automation & digital network technologies, along with the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) have become the key drivers of the future energy landscape transformation,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview. Excerpts:

What are your views on the adoption of technology in the power & energy space? Where does India stand in the current scheme of things?
Globally the energy sector is undergoing an accelerated transformation led by renewable energy and digitalisation. India is seeing the same trend. Our renewable installed capacity at 100 GW has seen a CAGR growth of 16% in the last five years. Increased digitalisation of the power sector is enabling the country with new and emerging opportunities. Technology such as smart metering, smart sensors, grid automation & digital network technologies, along with Internet of Things (IoT) has become the key drivers of the future energy landscape transformation.

Adoption of EVs, energy storage solutions, and their integration with the energy markets which provide transparent price signals, would help to build innovative business models, empower end consumers, and build a sustainable energy economy.

What role does technology play in improving power efficiency in India?
Technology is playing an instrumental role for India in achieving its targets under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency and Paris Climate Agreement. Technology enabled energy efficient services and grid edge technologies are driving the efficiency of the overall system, optimising capital allocation, and creating new opportunities to unlock significant economic value. With a greater role of renewables in overall power mix, initiatives are underway for deployment of flexible measures such as enabling Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) linked ancillary services for increasing agility of coal-fired thermal plants and enhancing supply side efficiencies. Many state utilities are increasing their usage of regression based analytic tools for demand forecasting and improving demand side efficiency. India provides immense scope for energy efficient solutions specifically aimed at low carbon transition such as the PAT scheme promoted by Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

How is IEX performing in these times of the new normal and does technology have a part to play in your success?
IEX is powered by the state of the art, intuitive and secure technology. Technology has been instrumental to our growth and energy market development since inception. During the Covid-19 crisis, the Exchange facilitated uninterrupted 24×7 operation of its platform and launched new market segments such as real-time power market, green market, to help the distribution utilities and the industrial consumers in making competitive and efficient power procurement decisions.

Our integrated suite of technologies can support significant expansion and help develop new market products and services rapidly. Even at enterprise IT level, we have undertaken initiatives such as cloud-based solutions including HRMS and SAP implementation. We also plan to provide deep data insights and details related to generation, transmission, demand, weather forecasts, etc., to enable the participants make efficient procurement decisions.

How is IEX preparing to be future-ready with technology transformation?

Recently IEX has implemented Mixed-Integer Linear Programming (MILP) matching algorithm, enabling us to introduce complex bids to support the participants in meeting their requirements in a dynamically evolving renewable centric scenario. Process automation has been implemented to reduce the turnaround time in operations. More recently, a web-based platform has been rolled out to provide our customers with anytime, anywhere, easy, and secure access to our platform.

We are working to launch a new mobile app to further improve the ease of access for our customers. We are assessing business opportunities in Big Data and Blockchain to support new trading concepts such as peer-to-peer trading.

What does the future hold for emerging technologies like AI, ML, RPA in India?
These emerging technologies can help utilities in many ways. Behind-the-meters technology and battery storage, together with digital technologies, can change the way power sector operates and open doors to various new applications that unlock system flexibility. These technologies are also supporting in converting variable renewables into smarter electricity systems and increase the flexibility of energy demand.

Essentially, digital technologies hold the potential to support the transformation of the Indian power sector in better monitoring of assets and their performance, gaining more system control closer to real time, formulation of new market designs, and unlocking new business opportunities.

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