Interview (Satheesh Kumar)

Satheesh Kumar,
CEO & MD at Enzen India

“How do you see India's progress in renewable energy and energy management over the last 10 years?”

India has witnessed a great surge both in improving the infrastructure for evacuation and distribution of energy as well as in producing energy from renewable resources during the last decade. Our view is that top-down planning in terms of demand-supply is missing, resulting in the concentration of generation in pockets. This has led to a significant curtailment in terms of the energy that has been harvested thus far. A lot needs to be done, including making massive technology investments, change management to enable consumers to alter their approach towards power consumption, as well as the addition of more rigorous service levels and quality. With these in place, progress in India can be accelerated manifold.

“Please introduce Enzen to Energetica India readers in terms of its history, services and size”

Enzen was formed in 2006 in Bangalore, India and has a clear goal behind its existence. Through practicing knowledge, we want to make more energy and water available and affordable in a sustainable model for all.

Our goal is to create a truly global company out of India that is admired and respected by its customers and stakeholders for its knowledge, values, empathy, work, and ethics. We are determined to grow Enzen across the globe based on our credibility, track record, value delivered and passion.

We operate across the power, water and gas sectors, delivering solutions across the value chain, from generation to transmission, distribution and retail. Renewable energy is a major focus for us as we are committed to keeping the environment around us cleaner.

We are now in the 14th year of operation, and with over 4000 knowledge practitioners, are delivering value to over 250 large energy and utility customers across 26 countries.

“While the Indian government speaks about electrifying every village on the Indian map, what do you see as gaps in ensuring power supply to every part of the country?”

The Government of India’s initiative on the universal electrification drive has certainly accelerated the access to electricity significantly. Enzen believes that it is still not 100% complete and more time is needed to provide quality access of power to the over the customer base of over 214 million.

While all efforts have been made, we believe that there is still scope for removing inefficiencies that exist in the system and re-imagining the current distribution models. It is our understanding that the existing power delivery models may not necessarily guarantee efficient, economical, sustainable and reliable power to the remote and scarcely populated corners of our country. Each region has different sources for energy in abundance, and hence there need to be policies and equated treatments for encouraging multi-source models for harvesting the maximum amount of energy locally.<br />

“What impact does inefficient agriculture have on our power sector? What kind of work has Enzen done in this niche?”

An estimated 70% of India’s population resides in rural areas where the energy infrastructure in less than satisfactory. Even after over 70 years of independence, we still have to bail out the energy sector through subsidies that are in the tune of over US$20 billion. An additional US$25 billion has been contributed by the state and center to salvage the under-performing distribution sector.

Enzen’s focus will be to continuously launch models, tools, technologies, and competencies to serve the agricultural sector, considered the backbone of India, efficiently and cost-effectively. We have completed several successful initiatives in this sector. We are one of the first to work on Agriculture Demand Side Management in India, thus optimizing both power and water consumption in this sector. Besides, Enzen has implemented programs that have resulted in significant efficiency improvements for agriculture pump sets and has implemented solar-based water, extraction models. We have also launched tools that educate farmers on crop-specific water requirements, moisture sensor-based automated drip irrigation systems, and allied models. All these are aimed at improving energy efficiency as well as the level of groundwater tables in the country.

“What impact can microgrids have on India's distribution network? Please share Enzen's experience in microgrids.”

Currently, there are approximately 300 million people or approximately 60 million households that do not have access to electricity. There are two ways to ensure that they can access power through the extension of the traditional electricity grid and (2) through micro-grids which leverage renewable energy sources.

In our opinion, microgrids hold the key to enabling India with sustainable and reliable power. Islanded microgrids are a prevalent and proven model across the world.

For rural India, these are ideal, as communities tend to be spread across large areas, and therefore localized systems are likely to work better. Through the use of hybrid systems that integrate multiple sources of energy (e.g., wind, solar, hybrid, and biomass), microgrids can help power India, while keeping the total cost of ownership low. These systems are easy to maintain and can be scaled up to cover a larger population, thus becoming a viable option to power remote India.
Also, with the number of consumers now turning into “prosumers”, i.e., end-users who produce, consume and trade renewable energy from microgrids and decentralized distributed energy systems on their premises, this model is becoming more prevalent. These prosumers can not only generate their own power, but also can sell back to the grid, thus ensuring more energy is available within the system. While the microgrid ecosystem is still nascent in India, we believe that with the right policies and continuous improvements in renewable technology, this model can have a positive impact on the Indian distribution network.

Enzen has extensive experience in the microgrids space and has implemented these across India. Examples are as follows:

Making resorts self-reliant: A hill resort in Lonavala, Maharashtra did not have any grid connection and was reliant on diesel for its power requirement. With a requirement for a 30 kW system for its needs, the traditional model was expensive not only in terms of the cost of diesel itself, but the logistical cost of diesel delivery in such a remote location. By integrating the hybrid system with the existing generator, we managed to reduce their diesel requirements to a negligible amount, and the resort is now self-sufficient.

Transforming & ‘greening’ fuel stations: In line with their push towards reducing their carbon footprint, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) was aiming to “green” their fuel stations across the country with standalone hybrid power systems storage to take them completely off the grid. Enzen commissioned a 20 kW wind-solar hybrid at their depot in Kognoli (Karnataka), which serves as the model for their fuel stations across the country. We also installed a smaller system for Indian Oil Corporation Limited at one of their stations in Kollam (Kerala), and are now looking to build larger systems for their other outlets.

Street lighting: Enzen set up 110 wind-solar based street lighting systems in various locations in Assam, ranging from urban clusters to remote areas. Each RELight 1 kW hybrid LED street light system generates enough power for continuous operation and has storage autonomy to power the street light for 2 nights’ even if there is no additional generation. This has resulted in energy savings of 40,000 units, or INR 2.4 lakhs, as well as carbon savings of 1.7 million tonnes every year. Most importantly, it has provided the local population with a reliable community lighting solution that enhances their safety and productivity.

“Please share with Energetica India readers details of your global operations”

Enzen operates in 26 countries and the prominent amongst them include our operations in India, United Kingdom, Australia, Middle East, Kazakhstan, Spain, Portugal, Mauritius, Turkey, Brazil, Chile, and the United States. We have a diverse, global workforce that is committed to delivering high-quality solutions and outcomes for our clients.

From transforming energy and utility companies to working closely with regulators on formulating new policies and enhancing existing ones, we are involved in delivering outcomes across the energy value chain. Sample engagements include planning, design, and implementation of green cities and green islands, improving the returns on the capital deployed above ground and underground, capital efficiency programs, smart utility models, as well as the design of new and efficient control systems for managing networks.

We pride ourselves on innovation, and partner with academia from leading universities as well as think tanks and policy advocates to enable our global network of knowledge practitioners to consistently deliver maximum value for our customers.

Interview 21/06/2019 by News Bureau
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