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ICT and Power (Electricity)


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Title: ICT and Power (Electricity)

ICT and Power (Electricity)
  • Prof. Rahul Tongia
  • School of Computer Science
  • CMU
  • 17-899 Fall 2003

Topics for Discussion
  • Electricity and Development
  • Power for ICT
  • ICT for Power

  • Electricity is a form of energy (kWh)
  • Does not exist in usable forms
  • Conversion usually requires prime movers (steam
    turbines, water turbines, etc.)
  • Access to fuels (primary energy) is a key issue
    for developing countries
  • Electricity is only about 125 years old
  • Widespread use is much more recent
  • US required special programs
  • Rural Electrification Administration (REA) now
    Rural Utilities Service
  • TVA
  • Electricity from the grid can not be easily
    stored (AC)
  • Most electronics use DC

Whats Special about LDCs?
  • Very low levels of Electrification
  • 2 billion lack electricity
  • Bad quality, intermittent, and often expensive
    power if available
  • Lower Level of Economic Development
  • Large rural agricultural sector
  • Large quantities of crop residues primary energy
  • Special needs for agricultural services (e.g.,
    pumping water 1/3 of Indias electricity)
  • Heavily subsidized in many countries
  • Industrial-Political Organization
  • State-centered economies
  • State-owned enterprises (SOEs) handle not just
    power but much of the economy
  • Weak formal institutions
  • E.g., regulatory institutions, courts, corporate

Energy-Economy Correlation
Calculated from EIA Data
(Lack of) Access to Electricity
South Asia (India)
Sub-Saharan Africa
East Asia (China)
Source WEO 2002
Investments in LDC Power Sector
Source World Bank (2003)
Where Does Electricity Go?
  • US
  • 1/3 residential, 1/3 industrial, 1/3 commercial
  • Developing Countries
  • Varies significantly by country
  • Typically higher shares for non-residential
    (function of large, centralized design)
  • Grid penetration to rural areas is very low
  • Kenya used to have more homes served by
    Decentralized Generation (DG) than the grid
    (mainly solar)
  • In reality, a fair amount is lost along the way,
    or stolen!

Electricity in LDCs
Source World Bank (2003)
How Much Electricity Does ICT Use?
  • Numbers as high as 13 of US electricity were
  • End users, servers, networking, etc.
  • Later debunked
  • ICT Energy (Power) linkages
  • Greater Service Economy, even in developing
  • But, increased globalization

What Consumes Power (ICT Applications)?
  • Components of an ICT solution
  • Computing
  • Display
  • CRT 80 W normal 10 W suspend
  • LCD 15-25 W normal 5-10 W suspend
  • Storage variable
  • Uplinking 12 W Wifi 40 W VSAT
  • Role of advanced technologies
  • Chips (processor is largest component)
  • Pentium 4 uses 50 watts!
  • LCD screens, OLEDs, etc.
  • Wireless
  • Cognitive Radios reduce power to lowest
    required level
  • But, emitted power is ltlt power drawn from supply
  • 100 mW is legal limit for WiFi
  • Laptops much less power but less robust (?)

Details of Desktop Power
SCSI CD-RW Drive - 17W SCSI CD-ROM Drive - 12W
5400RPM IDE Hard Drive - 10W 7200RPM IDE Hard
Drive - 13W 7200RPM SCSI Hard Drive - 24W
10000RPM SCSI Hard Drive - 30W Floppy Drive -
5W Network Card - 4W Modem - 5W Sound Card -
5W SCSI Controller Card - 20W Firewire/USB
Controller Card - 10W Case Fan - 3W CPU Fan -
AGP video card - 20-30W PCI video card - 20W
AMD Athlon 900MHz-1.1GHz - 50W AMD Athlon
1.2MHz-1.4GHz - 55-65W Intel Pentium III
800MHz-1.26GHz - 30W Intel Pentium 4
1.4GHz-1.7GHz - 65W Intel Pentium 4
1.8GHz-2.0GHz - 75W Intel Celeron 700MHz-900MHz
- 25W Intel Celeron 1.0GHz-1.1GHz - 35W ATX
Motherboard - 30W-40W 128MB RAM - 10W 256MB RAM
- 20W 12X or higher IDE CD-RW Drive - 25W 32X
or higher IDE CD-ROM Drive - 20W 10x or higher
IDE DVD-ROM Drive - 20W
Standalone (DG) Power
  • What are the options if If AC power is
  • Backup or primary supply?
  • Non-Conventional Sources of Power
  • Issues of Scale
  • For ICT or more (single point or village level)?
  • Local availability
  • Solar
  • Only 3-5 hours equivalent per day (1 kW INPUT/m2
    of panel 10 efficiency)
  • Wind
  • Windspeeds vary by location highest efficiency
    for megawatt class turbines
  • Biomass
  • Conversion options limited, typically require
    tens of kW size
  • Microhydel
  • Location sensitive, and typically 10s of kW
  • Diesel
  • Expensive to run, typically AC output

Designing a DG system
  • Battery Life examples
  • Alkaline (from Duracell)
  • D 1.5 15
  • C 1.5 7.8
  • AA 1.5 2.85
  • AAA 1.5 1.15
  • Gets very expensive, quickly, even if
  • Lead-acid batteries give much more power and are
  • Limits on dischargeability - 20 kWh total charge
  • Matching supply to demand
  • AC grid infinitely flexible
  • Power storage is key
  • Else peak capacities must be matched
  • Intermittency issues for many DG systems
  • Theft is a major concern for DG design (!)

Designing a DG system (cont.)
  • Solar Systems
  • Components
  • PV modules (in series, in panel form)
  • Power Conditioning Equipment (economies of scale)
  • Housing (with or without directionalizing)/mountin
  • Batteries most expensive operating costs
  • Inverter if AC is required
  • Costs
  • Capex at small scale is 5/peak watt
  • Gives an operating cost around 20-30 cents/kWh
  • cell phone example Obsolescence of equipment
    vs. battery

Designing a DG system (cont.)
ICT for Electricity Systems
  • Two main issues
  • Supply ltlt Demand
  • Requires investments of billions
  • Ability to pay is limited
  • Often, power companies are loss-making some of
    that is inefficiency
  • Where can ICT contribute?
  • Components of power sector vertical
  • Generation
  • Transmission
  • Distribution
  • Consumption

Conventional Wisdom
  • One can not do real-time power flow management
    (transactions and billing) for transmission level
  • Today, pools operate based on historical or
    aggregated information
  • One can not measure demand (usage) from all
    consumers in real-time with high granularity
  • What has changed to make these outdated the
    growth of IT technology

Focus here on Distribution/Consumption
  • IT is already extensively used in
    generation/transmission in developed countries
  • Other Synergies
  • Stringing Optical Fibers along power lines
  • Smart Cards (pre-payment)
  • Found extensive use in S. Africa in Black
    Townships (12 years experience)
  • Can link to other utilities or consumer services
    (pre-paid cell-phone cards are very popular)

Using IT to Enable Sustainability
  • Sustainability has many components
  • Resource utilization
  • Efficiency and loss reduction are sine-qui-non
  • Economic viability
  • Theft reduction
  • Management
  • IT can improve power sector distribution,
    consumption (utilization), and quality of service
  • Requires a change in mindset, and the willingness
    of utilities to innovate

Case study on IT for power sector improvement in
  • India today has the worlds largest number of
    persons lacking electricity
  • ? 400 million (equivalent to Africas unserved!)
  • Reforms began in 1991
  • Vertically integrated government department
    monopolies are being broken
  • Initial focus was on generation
  • New realization that distribution is the key to
    Indias power sector viability
  • Newer entities should be run as businesses
  • Many parallels to other developing countries

Indias Power Sector Overview
  • 5th largest in the world 107,000 MW of
  • But, per capita consumption is very low
  • 350 kWh, vs. world average over 2,000 kWh
  • 40 of households (60 of rural HH) lack
  • In very dire straits
  • Supply ltlt Demand
  • Blackouts are common, with shortfall estimated
    between 10-15
  • Most utilities are heavily loss-making, with an
    average rate of return of negative 30 or worse
    (on asset base)
  • High levels of losses 25
  • Technical losses poor design and operation
  • Commercial losses (aka theft) often over 10

Reasons for the problems
  • Agricultural sector
  • Consumes 1/3 of the power, provides lt5 of
  • Pumpsets are overwhelmingly unmetered just pay
    flat rate based on pump size
  • Adds to uncertainty in technical losses vs.
    commercial losses and usage
  • Utilities lack load duration curves to optimize
    generation and utilize Demand Side Management
  • All generation is assumed to be baseload, and
    priced accordingly
  • Leads to poor energy supply portfolio
  • Doesnt send correct signals to consumers, either
  • Utilities end up using just average costing
    numbers, not recognizing the marginal costs

Idea use IT for power sector management
  • Posit If new meters are to be installed, why
    not smart digital meters, which are also
    controllable, and communications-enabled?
  • Incremental costs would be low
  • Instead of just quantity of power, can also
    improve quality of power
  • Analysis presented is based on collaborative work
    with a major utility in India (name withheld for
    confidentiality reasons)

Quality of Power
  • India is focusing on quantity of power only
  • Current shortfall numbers are contrived
  • Based only on loadshedding with minor correction
    for frequency
  • Do no factor in peak clipping fully
  • Do not account for lack of access (e.g., over 60
    of rural homes lack connections)
  • Quality norms are often missed
  • Voltage often deviates by 25
  • Frequency often deviates by 5 (!)
  • Even farmers pay a lot for their bad quality
    power (around 1 cent/kWh implicit, even higher in
    some regions)
  • Use of voltage stabilizing equipment
  • Additional capital costs (in the multiple percent
  • Efficiency losses (2-30 lost!)

Power Quality ITI CBEMA Curve
Why the Focus on Distribution?
  • Its where the consumer (and hence, revenue) is
  • High losses today
  • Technical losses, 10 in rural areas
  • DSM and efficiency measures possible
  • Use of standards required
  • Use a combination of technology, industrial
    partnership, and regulations
  • Learn from experiences elsewhere
  • Bulk of India's consumption is for just several
    classes of devices
  • Pumpsets
  • Refrigerators
  • Synchronous motors
  • Heating (?)

US Refrigerator Efficiency Standards
Similar standards can be established for smart
Source www.standardsasap.org
Future of Appliances and Home Energy Automation
  • Incremental cost of putting networking and
    processors into appliances approaching a few
  • Could allow time of use and full control (utility
    benefit/public good/user convenience)
  • Link to a smart distribution system
  • Micro-monitor and Micro-manage every kWh over the
  • E.g., refrigerators dont operate or defrost
    during peaks (5 of Indian electricity usage)
  • 5 peak load management could lead to a 20 cost
  • Feasible, as most peak loads are
  • Bimodal peaks in India, residential driven
  • Italy is already implementing such a system (ENEL)

Objectives and design goals for a new IT-enabled
  • Implement a basic infrastructure to
  • Micro-measure every unit of power across the
  • Allow real-time information and operating control
  • Devise mechanisms to control the misuse and theft
    of power through soft control
  • Which would
  • Reduce losses
  • Improve power quality
  • Allow load management
  • Allow system-level optimization for reduced costs
  • Increase consumer utility, satisfaction, and
    willingness to pay

Additional Benefits
  • A system which will offer
  • Outage detection and isolation
  • Remote customer connect disconnect
  • Theft and tamper detection
  • Real time flows
  • To allow real time pricing
  • Suitability for prepayment schemes
  • Load profiling and forecasting
  • Possible advanced communications and services
  • Information and Internet access
  • Appliance monitoring and control
  • Managing such extra power (from theft) is
    enough to give subsistence connectivity to the
  • Requires ICT to determine and manage the margin
  • Telecom is special very short-run low marginal
    cost in electricity it is much more difficult

Network Schematic
Data Center
Last Few Hundred Meters
20 km
LV Concentrator
Distribution Transformer (pole or ground)
Sub-Transmission and Transmission
Smart Meter (Can be off-site outside
user Control Is partly a modem)
(gt 11 kV)
Access (440, 220, or 110 V) Low Voltage
Distribution (11 kV) Medium Voltage
Components of the solution
  • One segmentation locational
  • At consumer
  • Meter/Gateway
  • Meter could be pole-side if required
  • In home network
  • Needed connect to enabled devices (appliances)
  • Eventually, homes would also have Decentralized
    Generation available (?fuel cells, flywheel
    storage, etc.)
  • Access (low voltage distribution)
  • From gateway to a concentrator, on user side of
    distribution transformers Using PowerLine
    Carrier (PLC)

Solution Components (Cont.)
  • Concentrator upwards
  • Concentrator Each Distribution Transformer (aka
    Low Voltage Transformer) feeds on the order of
    100-200 homes in India (as in Europe). In
    contrast, US Distribution Transformers feed 5-10
  • Communications medium
  • Over Medium Voltage PLC to the Sub-station
  • or
  • Wireless
  • Limited Coverage in Developing Countries
  • Substation upwards (uplinking)
  • Usually based on leased lines or optical fiber

Technologies for various segments
  • In-Home Network
  • Appliances
  • Emerging Standards are talked about by appliance
    companies (Maytag, Samsung, GE, Ariston etc.)
  • Using Simple Control Protocol (or other
    appropriate thin protocols)
  • Meters
  • Solid-State meters exist, but not yet the norm in
    developing countries
  • Most have communications capabilities for
    external ports
  • Lowest cost solution (if feasible) PLC target
    5 incremental cost

Technologies for various segments (cont.)
  • Access
  • Low Voltage PLC is available today
  • Being explored for Internet access, in fact
    (Megabits per second)
  • MV
  • Crossing through transformers remains a technical
  • Going long distances an issue
  • Uplinking
  • Availability of optical fiber or leased lines can
    be met through planning

Technologies vs. Capabilities
Accuracy Theft Detection Communications Control Capabilities
Electro-mechanical Meter low (has threshold issues for low usage) poor expensive add-on nil
Digital (solid state) high Node only external Limited Historical usage reads only
Next Gen. Meter (proposed) Arbitrarily high High (network level) Built-in (on-chip) Can do much more than Automated Meter Reading (AMR) Full (connect/dis-connect) Extending signaling to appliances Real-Time control DSM
Design Model and Business Case
  • Only target specific users
  • All agricultural (almost one-third of the load)
  • All Industrial and larger commercial users
  • Only the larger-size domestic users
  • Estimated 2/3 of homes only use lt50 kWh per month
  • Include every network node that needs monitoring
    and/or control
  • Substations
  • Transformers
  • Capacitor banks
  • Relays
  • etc.

Design Model and Business Case (cont.)
  • Investment in long run only a few thousand rupees
    per targeted user (Target lt75 capex)
  • When amortized, implies requirement of
    improvements in system of only a few percent!
  • Savings will come from
  • Lower losses/theft
  • Increased sales possible
  • Lower operational costs
  • Load management
  • Better consumer experience (and hence,
    possibility for higher tariffs)
  • Future interaction with smart appliance and smart
    home networks
  • Possibly new services

Economics of case system
  • Estimated System (Rural-centric)
  • 62 Consumers (all classes) per Distr. Transformer
  • 98 Distribution Transformers per Sub-Station

Economics (cont.)
  • 6-7 year payback on investment (conservative)
    possible with just 3 improvement in system
  • Savings will come from
  • Theft Reduction
  • Time-of-Day and DSM measures (peak reduction)
  • System Quality, reliability, and uptime
  • Higher Collection

  • Protocols
  • Use of thin protocols to reduce capex for
    embedded systems
  • Security PLC can be a shared medium
  • PLC
  • How to couple around transformers or other
  • How to go long runs with low errors (and high
    enough bandwidth) Shannons theorem provides a
  • Noisy line conditions in many developing
  • Appliances
  • Need for standards to bring down costs and ensure
  • Design Should the PLC signals pass through the
    meter/gateway directly to appliances?
  • How active or passive should consumer behavior
    modification be?
  • Costs (as always)

Challenges Implementation and Management
  • Utilities are typically risk-averse
  • They face increased regulatory uncertainty
  • Without some portions of a market, how do they
  • Will they (should they) pass all pricing
    information on to the consumer?
  • Developing country management issues
  • Utilities were typically State Owned Enterprises
  • Utilities were run with social engineering goals
  • Increased automation, control, and sophistication
    (and theft detection) poses risks to the large
    cadre of current employees

A New World for Power Systems
  • Includes smarts for significant improvements in
  • New services can be enabled once the appropriate
    infrastructure is in place
  • Segmentation of development allows independent,
    modular innovation, e.g., home automation and
  • Developing countries (esp. Asia) can lead the way
    through leap-frogging
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