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BLP is looking to use cloud and big data to improve operations and safety

BLP is looking to use cloud and big data to improve operational efficiency

Energy companies have traditionally been fairly conservative when it comes to using cloud-based IT platforms. But Bharat Light and Power (BLP), a forward-thinking renewable energy producer in India recently shifted its plant monitoring systems to the cloud, and is tapping into cloud-based big data analytics to help improve operational efficiency as it looks to manage future growth.

The company said the new platform, the result of a collaboration with IBM, will help it achieve scale while making overall operations more efficient. It will deploy its plant monitoring platform on IBM’s SoftLayer public cloud infrastructure.

The company, which focuses on onshore wind, solar, biomass and hydro, will integrate a number of disparate plant monitoring systems into one expansive system delivered via the cloud. It will also use big data analytics to gather data generated by energy production and transportation infrastructure and provide insights into their operational needs, and beam them to employees’ mobile devices, keeping operational personnel up to date with the health of the company’s infrastructure, and automatically alerting them if any servicing is needed. The new system will also enhance safety for operational personnel.

BLP said the move was primarily motivated by what it sees as a massive growth opportunity in the Indian renewables sector. The company said it will require much more streamlined, effective IT and mission-critical systems in order to support its ambitious growth plans.

“The Indian power sector has doubled its capacity in the last 10 years and is projected to add another 100GW in next five years,” said Tejpreet Chopra, president & chief executive officer of BLP. “With the issues facing fossil-based fuels, a good share of this growth will come from renewable energy sources. The scope of investments for renewables is estimated to be $10-12 billion in next five years,” he said, adding that over a third of India’s population currently has no access to electricity of any kind.

“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,” said Balk Iyer, chief development officer of BLP.

IBM said the solution is expected to significantly improve BLP’s Plant Load Factor (PLF), which is the generation efficiency of the installed capacity.

“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.