Webinar:The webinar convened key PRACTITIONERS who emphasised the importance of remote management systems, THE ROLE OF DATA, and shared use cases of the technology for distributed energy projects
About the Webinar
Theme: The evolving role of remote management technologies in distributed power systems
The energy access industry has seen tremendous growth in the last decade which has resulted in reliable and affordable electricity access for millions of people around the globe. Remote management technologies have been a game-changer for solar developers and asset operators, which has enhanced asset performance and management immensely. At Odyssey Energy Solutions we believe in the importance of dialogue to bring about change. We organized a discussion on ‘The evolving role of remote management technologies in distributed power systems’ on 27th January 2022 with participation from industry leaders and specialists.
- Anayo Okenwa Nas, CEO Nayo Tropical Technology
- Vivian Vendeirinho, CEO RVE.SOL
- Claudio Pedretti, CEO Green Climate Ventures
- Nicolas Roher, CEO Asantys Systems
- Deepak Mohapatra, Policy and Business Development Officer, Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE)
- William Duren, Client Success, Odyssey Energy Solutions
Missed the Webinar?
The webinar brought forth several observations with respect to use of remote management in distributed power systems. Highlighting the need for remote management technologies Nicolas Roher, CEO Asantys Systems, touched upon a few key points on their necessity:
- Overcoming the challenges of remote locations: He stated that firstly, the distributed power projects are based in very remote areas distributed over large regions. There is a requirement for monitoring what is being constructed and installed in these remote regions.
- Overcoming the lack of expertise: Secondly, the local installers don’t always have enough technical knowledge since the systems are getting very demanding. The local service providers are able to know the field reality before travelling long distances, and are able to support the local technicians efficiently.
- Improving service reliability: Thirdly, the developers want to limit blackouts, since most of their systems run without diesel generators. It is crucial to anticipate system failures and load management to limit the time of blackout for the operator, for the investors and for the local population. Previously it took days or months to rectify an issue but now it takes 24 hours or sometimes less to repair a system when it’s down with the help of remote management technologies.
- Increasing system lifetime: Lastly, since the lifetime of systems depends on temperature control- where warranties of the system and guarantee to investors depends on temperature control of batteries, there is a vital need for remote management technologies.
William Duren, Client Success Odyssey Energy Solutions, in his presentation touched upon the evolution of remote management technologies for Distributed Energy Resources (DREs). He explained that at Odyssey the remote management technologies were classified in three generations. He also explained the advancements in aggregation, advancements in analysis, and gave examples of remote management in practice at Odyssey, the details of which can be seen in the recording of the webinar shared above.
The panel discussion was moderated by Deepak Mohapatra, Policy and Business Development Officer, Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), who started by setting context to the discussion. He informed that globally the number of people living without access to electricity had declined from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 759 million in 2019, and people with access to mini-grids had more than doubled between 2010 and 2019, growing from 5 to 11 million people around the world.
Question 1: How important is data for scaling up distributed power systems?
In response to the first question put to the panelists on how important was data for scaling up distributed power systems, Vivian Vendeirinho, CEO RVE.SOL imparted his thoughts. He stated that when developers start out there is a huge assumption on energy consumption patterns of consumers, who have never consumed energy before. This assumption is made across the sector and for many operators it is not based on hard data, which makes it difficult to build demand profile curves over time, based on types of customers. He said that to be able to match the need with what a system is expected to deliver, and particularly in a business that is capex intensive and where there are a lot of unknown variables the data helps to estimate what to expect in demand for the first 2-3 years. This information helps in deploying capital efficiently, and making plans to upgrade over time, which helps in preventing over extending resources in initial deployment, and then dealing with access capacity.
Question 2: How have remote management tools changed the way systems are managed?
On the second point raised before the panel on how developers managed their assets before adopting remote management, Claudio Pedretti, CEO Green Climate Ventures communicated his views. Sharing his experience from an asset heavy off-grid industrial application project overseen by him in central Asia some time ago, which required monitoring system support, he shared that they faced several challenges in meeting the monitoring requirements. The contract was bound to reliability which made monitoring requirements essential. Due to the lack of companies like Ferntech and Odyssey at the time which offered off the shelf products, it was difficult to set up the systems themselves which required a lot of financial resources and manpower. With the availability of technology that integrates knowledge, the process is much simpler now. These technologies help in easily acquiring data on all aspects of the plant. In the future these technologies should be able to use algorithms to suggest required actions, leading to informed decisions before a problem arises. That’s where we want to see the sector go where we can predict the problems before they become a tangible and costly issue.
Question 3: What are the objectives of using remote management technologies today?
Anayo Okenwa Nas, CEO Nayo Tropical Technology shared his views on the question on what was the basic objective of using remote management technologies today. He answered the question from an EPC operator and a mini grid operator’s point of view. As an EPC operator one can easily show data to customers. Sharing an example he said that he was able to show temperature variation for the system for the components placed near the cooling system, and those placed far away from it which were running at a higher temperature, that helped in convincing the clients who had diverse opinions from many other contractors. From the point of view of operation and management the remote management system helped in monitoring long term running costs and performance optimization of the system. He shared that even though there were a few aspects that cannot be controlled, like social and community considerations, the technology can help in influencing how the system can be used by the community, which will help in optimizing the system performance over its lifecycle. Also, as the projects are scaled up, the costs have to be limited and rollout efficiency needs to be improved with commercial efficiency and O&M efficiency. The management systems are easy to use and the graphs are easy to read, which can help in making timely decisions. By looking at the dashboard one can be in control and call a local technician to go to the site and check. It is a preventive kind of intervention rather than a fire service intervention where you have lost equipment, lost revenue and maybe lost reputation. You could prevent these three losses by looking into them before they happen.
All the panelists put forth several first hand experiences on the use of remote management technologies, and highlighted the evolution of this technology over time. The complete recording of the webinar can be seen in the link shared above.
Interested in joining the Odyssey Network?
Would you like to have more information about the Odyssey network? Get in touch now!