EMCALI Implements Innovari IEP Interactive Energy Platform, Demonstrating Colombia’s Readiness For Smart Grid Technology
Empresas Municipales de Cali (EMCALI) has launched an advanced energy project this summer in the city of Cali, Colombia that will actively manage electrical consumption and supply in selected buildings throughout the capital of the Valle de Cauca. After a successful initial feasibility study, EMCALI selected Texas based Innovari’s Interactive Energy Platform (IEP) to as the control system.
The project is part of EMCALI’s effort, following the region’s drought of 2014, to expand long-term solutions beyond dependency on hydroelectric power to meet peak energy needs and to add affordable, reliable capacity. This approach unlocks capacity from the distribution grid to balance supply and demand resources and to optimize grid performance and utilization. “While most utilities’ grid utilization is around 43%, EMCALI aims for 73% utilization through the IEP,” said Manuel Arancibia, Innovari president of Latin America.
The region will invest $38.1 billion USD in modernizing its power infrastructure from 2015-2025.
South America is positioned to be a key market for smart grid infrastructure investment over the next decade. As a whole, the region’s power sector is plagued by pervasive electricity theft, poor reliability and operational inefficiencies. The region will invest $38.1 billion USD in modernizing its power infrastructure from 2015-2025, according to a new study published this week by Northeast Group, LLC.
The EMCALI project consists of a wide variety of facility types including several Almacenes La 14 supermarkets, the Universidad Del Valle campus and EMCALI’s corporate offices. EMCALI customers will be reducing energy demand – through temporary changes in thermostat settings and reductions in non-essential lighting without any impact to operations or comfort. Through the IEP, all actions are fully automated and both customer environment and load reduction feedback are monitored in real-time. This effectively unlocks affordable capacity in the distribution grid so the utility can improve utilization of the grid resources they already have – without adding costly generation resources.
“The IEP automates electricity consumption during peak hours using an approach that is so subtle and efficient, there is no noticeable impact on business operations or customer experience,” said Andres Felipe Jaramillo Salazar, EMCALI’s strategic energy business unit manager. “Customers report that buildings still feel cool, yet they are reducing demand on the grid, while saving money and contributing to more affordable and reliable power across the region.”
Vendors view South America as one of the next key battlegrounds for winning major contracts. In addition to Innovari, other international players such as ABB, Aclara, Alstom, Elster, GE, Iskraemeco, Itron, Kamstrup, Landis+Gyr, Schneider, S&C, SEL, Sensus, Siemens, Silver Spring Networks, Trilliant and Ziv are all well positioned in the market. Several local vendors are also competitive such as Weg, ELO, Nansen, CAM and others. South America is emerging as a key geography for Chinese vendors hoping to steal market share from the European and North America vendors. Recently, Hexing acquired Eletra Energia to boost its position in Brasil and Wasion has announced smart meter projects in Brasil. Other Chinese vendors will be looking for similar deals.
“Brasil is by far the largest market in the region for smart grid investment,” said Ben Gardner, President of Northeast Group. “After several false starts, the country is now beginning large-scale deployments. In just the past year, Brasilian utilities have announced deployments of over 3m smart meters and will invest $25.6bn over the next ten years.”
Beyond Brasil, countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina are serious about grid modernization and planning significant investment,” continued Gardner. “In total, South America will invest $22.6 billion in smart metering, $7.2 billion in distribution automation and $8.3 billion in other smart grid market segments over the forecast period.”