Interview

Smart Energy Reference Architecture to Support Power Sector Reforms : Karan Bajwa, General Manager, Public Sector Microsoft India

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www.microsoft.com

“The entire gamut of the operation in the power sector revolves around better availability of quality power and efficient management of energy while maintaining the eco-friendliness all along.”

The Microsoft Reference Architecture is a framework that can guide implementation in a utility and reflects best practices. It attempts to understand and incorporate the likely impact of technical, business and regulatory trends. It serves as a bridge from utility standards to specific Microsoft  products and technologies.

Information Technology (IT) has the potential to contribute significantly in the power reforms process, What role can Microsoft play in it?

The structure, engineering and objectives of the world’s power systems are undergoing dramatic rethinking and significant change.? Apart from the above points, new driving forces – like climate change, novel market participants such as Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, and increasing energy demands – are combining to drive the development of what is being referred to as the Smart Grid. As a result, Microsoft is focused on enabling the technology innovation and advancement needed to create such a Grid. In support of this, Microsoft offers Smart Energy Reference Architecture (SERA) to support the reforms process as well as creating the Smart Grid.

The Microsoft Reference Architecture is a framework that can guide  implementation in a utility and refl ects best practices. It attempts to understand and incorporate the likely impact of technical, business and regulatory trends. It serves as a bridge from utility standards to specifi c  microsoft products and technologies.

How can you develop a synergy between IT and the Indian Power Sector which can play a defi ning role in profi tability and quality of services?

Utilities worldwide have already spent large sums on technology and automation, creating a mix that is expensive to abandon, but also costly to maintain and make available throughout an enterprise. Microsoft is at the forefront in developing tools such as Web services that can connect and stitch together previously isolated, far- fl ung data. Moreover, our software is designed to work together. The ‘Software plus Services’ model will enable utilities to have greater fl exibility and agility to confront new business challenges.

Microsoft embraces these requirements and its software vision enhances and extends utilities’ technology investments – without requiring replacement of existing systems.

The selection of IT systems and tools for power sector should be based on long-term strategic and business continuity perspective. What are the factors that need to be kept in mind?

The entire gamut of the operation in the power sector revolves around better availability of quality power and effi cient management of energy while maintaining the eco-friendliness all along.

In most advanced countries, power utilities have made major gains in terms of productivity, effi ciency, reliability and commercial management through the use of modern IT tools. Information Technology has found application in a wide spectrum of tools that enhance performance in Planning, Operational, Maintenance, Training and Commercial activities in a Power System. Specifi c Information Systems (IS) in this context include;

  • Energy Management Systems (EMS)
  • Distribution Automation (DA) Systems
  • Planning and Energy Accounting Systems
  • Metering and Billing Systems
  • Training Systems
  • Maintenance Management Systems (MMS)
  • Management Information Systems (MIS)
  • Power Plant Control Systems
  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA)

These systems are developed using a host of enabling core technologies such as those related to Data Communications, Centralised and Distributed Databases, Decision Support, Real-time Computing, Power System Analysis, Geographical Information Processing, Graphics and Multimedia, Distributed Process Control, Simulation and Forecasting and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Some of these Information Systems such as MIS and MMS are generic in structure for all industries, while being specifi c to a power utility in some functional aspects. The primary objective of these solutions is three-fold:

  • Ensure availability of quality power
  • Ensure high operational effi ciency
  • Maintain ecological balance.

What are the challenges of IT in the power sector?

Technology is changing each day and it is great to see the improvements it can bring to several diffi cult processes. As mentioned above, the selection of IT systems and tools should be based on long-term strategic and business continuity perspective. If these tools are selected appropriately there are not many challenges that for IT in the power sector.

The following factors are critical in any IT implementation:

  • Adoption of open architecture and adaptive communication network based on proven standards and specifi cations
  • Consistent infrastructure for data collaboration, communication and interoperability
  • Authentication and role-based access to the network
  • Robust and scalable architecture to support large volume of transactions
  • 3-tier architecture for easy modifi cations of business logic and SW deployment
  • Platform-independent application components for easy migration to new platforms
  • Disaster Recovery and Continuity Planning

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