The answer is blowin’ in the wind

This post is on news release about how IBM Cloud lifts Bharat Light and Power to build Smarter Operations.

I came across this news release about Bharat Light and Power and IBM Collaborate to Drive Business Growth and Build Smarter Operations. The Indian renewable energy producer will use IBM cloud, analytics, and mobile technologies to increase power generation. This news item pleases me much more than some other multi-million dollar deals since this truely is what IBM has been striving to achieve in its campaign for Smarter Planet.
Since the development of Wind Power in early 90s, India has installed capacity of 19,000+ MW and accounts for about 8.5% of India’s total power capacity.
Bharat Light owns about 200 megawatts of operating wind farms, including 150 megawatts of capacity acquired from DLF in July. It plans to diversify into solar, biomass and hydropower to reach 1,000 megawatts in five years through acquisitions and by building projects.

So what is IBM, an IT major doing for Bharat Light and Power? Earlier this year, India’s Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, gave a directive ordering wind farms with a capacity of 10 megawatts or more to forecast their generation in 15-minute blocks for the following day. Missing estimates by more than 30 percent will incur penalties. The grid infrastructure had one of largest backouts last year and it cannot cope with volatility of wind and sun power generation. Though the directive is quite needed but it will put additional burden on wind and sun power generation companies in adding  the complex forecasting systems for this purpose. IBM technologies will help Bharat Light in achieving this directive.

Another big contribution IBM will do is to increase the operational efficiencies. “The focus of power generation globally, and especially in India, in the next five years is going to be about operational efficiency and productivity enhancements. This requires an intelligent and innovative collaboration between the power and the IT sector. BLP has ambitious growth plans for providing this service and we needed a strategic partner who understands, and helps us realize, our vision,” said Balki G. Iyer, chief development officer, BLP. “A significant factor in selecting IBM was its rich global experience in the renewable energy sector and scalable technology capabilities that suits our requirement.”

Per the news release, IBM will deploy its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure as a service to centrally monitor and manage BLP’s existing and future generation plants as well as store and manage the data on cloud. Also the IBM technologies will help Bharat Light manage the huge amount of data and leverage the crucial insights using advanced analytics including predictive analytics. IBM and BLP’s big data analytics capabilities will help gather valuable insights from the data generated, which will ensure that BLP has an integrated view of its operations and is equipped to take pro-active measures. Using IBM’s mobile technology the company will be able to provide all the information, analyzed on the cloud platform, to its ground staff on their handsets and alert them well in advance. This will enable BLP to build smarter operations with higher efficiency and greater utilization.

The news release further informs that the solution is expected to significantly improve BLP’s Plant Load Factor (PLF), which is essentially the generation efficiency of the installed capacity. IBM will also bring its subject matter experts to help BLP take effective business decisions and make efficient planning, based on the data analysis.

“By making clean energy widely available and affordable, BLP is solving a very important challenge for India and we are excited about collaborating with BLP on this transformative journey. We see tremendous potential for smarter operations, using cloud and analytics, in achieving scale and efficiencies in this business. As a strategic partner, we will deliver measurable business outcomes to BLP by bringing together expertise and capabilities across IBM,” said Ajoy Menon, director of strategic outsourcing, Global Technology Services, IBM India South Asia.

I congratulate IBM and Bharat Light and Power on this agreement and hope that this boosts multifold, the electricity output of wind farms in India.

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