Information Technology For Energy Sector : A Review

Omkar Nawlakhe explains the contribution of Information Technology in national development and the efficiency that such delivers towards attaining advancement. The paper also explains the potential of Information Technology in various realms, starting from grassroots.

Demand of Electricity is soaring high throughout the fast developing globe, so Information Technology is crucial for efficient management and operations of energy sector which is widely acknowledged. The industrial systems which need to operate a large amount of information are power utilities and green technologies such as wind and solar, carbon offset technologies and others. Reducing energy usage and providing more reliable energy delivery can be achieved by advancement in Information Technology. In the increasingly automated high technology environments of the world, power sector is vital for the modern economy. Growth and performance of power sector heavily impacts on the projected growth of nations’ economy. Information Technology does not provide any extra mega Watt hours, but information to improve quality and efficiency can be obtained.

Information technology can be seen as an important tool to enable the Energy utilities to improve the efficiency of transmission and distribution networks, as this technology can be used in all parts of operation and maintenance. Integrate the monitoring, planning and control of the energy process is possible with the help of Information Technology. Energy Management and Control System (EMACS) is supported by Information Technology. The variety of users which are not associated with the operations and dispatching can avail the data collection system produced by EMACS.

The Operations Information System (OIS), which is included by EMACS, is supposed to be used by persons in power plant control rooms and distribution zone offices. Maximum life cycle economy and reliable utilization of power systems is the prime aim. The use of more intelligent devices is possible throughout the power system is possible due to installation of powerful Microprocessors.

Some examples are intelligent meters with variables tariffs in houses, load control receivers to reduce peak loads, automation of processes, computer aided testing and performance analyses. A tool to integrate these parameters which can reduce the operating cost with increase in revenue by efficient energy management, is gained by tool of Information technology. Due to some regulatory changes, electricity generation capacity has outstripped electricity distribution capacity. By adding Information Technology, distribution and consumption is achieved for the Smart Grid. Display of energy costs to customers, addition of intelligent controls and sensors to the distribution network is Smart Grid conservation. Reconfiguration and self healing in response to the failures can be enabled by distributed Information Technology based control systems. Power generation (wind, solar, hydro, tide, diesel, cogeneration, geothermal), energy storage systems, intelligent sensors, switches and programmable controllers are such new components incorporated into the grid can be achieved by Information Technology simulation.

Transmission and distribution systems, generation units are controlled and monitored by the Energy Management System ( EMS ). Other departments, such as transmission and distribution department, maintenance department can avail the important data other than the operation department.

SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system and is crucial for Energy management of power sector. Energy Management System has led to an increasing demand for data to be integrated by SCADA system. The Operation Information System consists of extra mainframe computers in the Energy Management and Control System which are for use by personnel from other departments and are connected to the real time system via a direct data path. System performance and isolation problems are solved by the Operation Information System (OIS). Energy Management System’s real time control is operated by system operators who use the system from different terminals.

A good example for applied Information Technology is an Intelligent Electrical Substation. Other than dispatching departments such as operation department, maintenance department, generation unit should be provided with computer resources and data which is the prime aim of Operations Information System. In Power Plant control rooms, there are terminals through which plant operators can be pre-informed for anticipated movements and voltage schedule of the specific unit. With required energy data of the plant, operators can also enter supplementary data values directly into the Operation Information System. The access to the data without involvement of operation is possible only due to Information Technology.

Payment, billing and collection to eliminate scope for tampering and manipulation and to improve collection by integrated collection, billing and payment system is another model application of Information System.

Information Technology can be used for making electronic payment with direct credit card payment. Energy audit can be conducted by Energy Accounting System. To detect the area of high losses it is must to know energy input and energy sold at sub-transmission and distribution stages.

Microprocessors, telecommunications, computer and software engineering directly impacts on the operation and control of power system. The Operation Information System as a tool with implementation of computer systems for the control of power system allows to manage and share the information as Information Technology as a tool.
Application of Information Technology has potential to transform distribution business given the current use of IT. In global utilities, Information technology plays a central role in a distribution utility as the information base for decision making at operational and strategic levels.