The use of wind and water power has, for a long time, been the power generation source for many companies. However, in today’s technologically advanced scenario, the need for a more structured approach towards energy generation and usage cannot be denied. The increased need of reliability and security has compelled Bharat Light and Power to get into a joint project venture with IBM, wherein effective and advanced computing techniques will be used to harness more energy in the future. The production planning and management of wind farms can be done effectively through the usage of IBM’s indigenously developed systems.
The wind farms are spread all across India, sometimes in remote areas, and the whole fleet has a production capacity of around 200 megawatts. Early in November 2013, it was announced by Bharat that they will be using IBM’s SoftLayer cloud platform. This was to ensure improvement in power generation techniques across the whole country. Challenges faced by Bharat in the areas of workforce integration and asset management are expected to be overcome by this new platform and would reduce maintenance and operational costs. The global leader of energy harness and utilities for IBM, Mozhi Habibi, is optimistic that these tasks can be optimized by using cloud computing.
Ms. Tejpreet S. Chopra, Bharat founder and former leader of GE’s India operation, had already partnered with IBM for effective management of their cloud-based IT systems. Now Bharat, with backing from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, is looking forward to broadening the gamut of cloud computing applications to a high extent. She mentioned that she had realized the benefits of using the cloud environment in multiple business areas. The main benefit stems from the fact that the data from wind turbines can be effectively integrated with the mobile devices used by workers in the field. In addition, the usage of IBM’s Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting (HyRef) technology will enable precise mapping of weather and turbine output data.
Bharat has big expansion plans over the following five years, which drives home the fact that effective management techniques are required for managing power contracts with outside operators so that risks are reduced and the returns on the investments are substantially higher. According to Mr Habibi, at this point IBM will not go into the business side of Bharat’s operations, but only offer cloud computing services from the IT perspective. IBM’s role entails partnerships with AAB Ventyx, Siemens and General Electric, who are specialists in cloud-based computing. IBM’s competition in this area will come from Siemens’ eMeter and Oracle in the nascent cloud-delivered meter market.
IBM’s rich experience in the cloud computing area includes projects in Denmark with Vestas, the wind turbine makers and the EDISON project on the Danish island of Bornholm. These projects mainly concentrated on wind power integration with the plug-in method of charging vehicles. Over the years, energy needs in India have gone up requiring higher power generation. Grids are susceptible to blackouts due to high loads, and so the new plans for the generation of smart grids with cloud computing will be highly beneficial for the country’s economic progress.