Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Emcali deploys interactive energy platform in Columbia

Steve Rogerson
August 11, 2015
The more than 600,000 electric customers served by Colombian utility Empresas Municipales de Cali (Emcali) are among those who may benefit from an advanced energy project launched last month in the city of Cali, Colombia.
After a successful initial feasibility study, Emcali deployed the interactive energy platform to manage energy in strategically selected buildings across the city.
The project is part of the utility’s effort, following the historic drought of 2014, to expand long-term methods beyond dependency on hydroelectric power to meet peak energy needs and to add affordable, clean capacity that will uphold reliability. Emcali is taking a new approach to managing peak demand by unlocking capacity from the distribution grid to balance supply and demand resources and to optimise grid performance and use.
“While most utilities’ grid utilisation is around 43 per cent, Emcali aims for 73 per cent utilisation through the interactive energy platform,” said Manuel Arancibia, president of Innovari in Latin America. Texas-based Innovari supplied the equipment.
The project includes a wide variety of facility types including several Alamacenes La 14 supermarkets, the Universidad del Valle campus and Emcali’s corporate offices. The utility’s customers will be reducing load or energy demand through temporary changes in thermostat settings and reductions in non-essential lighting without any impact to operations or comfort.
Through the interactive energy platform, 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 utilisation of the grid resources it already has, without adding costly generation resources.
“The interactive energy platform 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 Andrés Felipe Jaramillo Salazar, Emcali manager of the energy strategic business unit. “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.”