Making Waves with Energy IntelligenceTue, 11/01/2016 - 13:12
A surge in industrial and commercial electricity tariffs hit the Mexican landscape in 2016 when CFE announced a new tariff structure that increases up to eight percent the price of electricity depending on the amount of consumption per user, in particular in the commercial and industrial sectors. The unexpected bolt placed the country’s rates among the highest in the world and provided further incentive for companies to more closely monitor and control energy consumption, according to energy efficiency consultancy Energetika. Rodrigo Calderón, the company’s Director General, says that context is causing the country’s energy efficiency culture to undergo a positive evolution. “When we started the company six years ago, we had to put a great effort into raising awareness about energy efficiency in the industry,” he says. “But the enactment of the new regulations and the opening of the electricity market have contributed enormously to increasing knowledge about energy efficiency in Mexican industries.”
Energetika’s energy technology helps companies measure and analyze usage and to identify their highest points of consumption. “It represents a new and smarter way of approaching energy efficiency,” says the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Alejandro Chico. “It consists of taking operational technologies, such as LEDs or sensors, and combining them with information technology that corresponds to a software platform. Analog devices in this system allow us an in-depth view of factors involved in energy management such as usage or market behavior. It can bring energy savings of up to 95 percent.”
Energetika emphasizes that the only way to ensure correct energy management is with an integrated solution such as Energy Intelligence. It allows users to identify and monitor the energy consumption of each center they own. Energy Intelligence is the company’s flagship product. The internet of Things (IoT) permits the company high levels of connectivity that can provide efficient energy solutions. “The best service that can be provided to a client is an integrated system that can meet the present and future energy requirements of the company,” says Chico. It is one of the biggest advantages of the IoT and few companies know how to integrate this technology into their solutions. Calderón adds that the Energy Intelligence concept can be applied in all sectors where energy is used. “We have three core business areas: retail, buildings and Smart Cities. Energetika uses the power of the internet and data science to improve energy efficiency, while gathering information that might be useful for other decision-making processes such as the itinerary of visitors and the amount of time spent in a store.”
The road toward energy efficiency has not been smooth because most companies are unaware of their total energy usage, explains Calderón. “They do not know how to identify the highest consumption points,” he says. “The first congruent step toward sustainability requires a cautious control of energy usage. Saving one megawatt will always be more effective than producing it, even if it comes from renewable sources,” agrees Chico. Companies should only consider alternative sources after minimizing and optimizing energy consumption. It is a favorable choice as it prevents clients from signing long-term energy contracts.
Energetika is involved in emblematic projects in the country that have created significant change in areas like Chalco, State of Mexico and the Mexico City subway. “Replacing 13,000 regular lamps with LEDs in Chalco made it the largest project of its kind in Mexico. We made sure to follow governmental guidelines and it allowed the municipality to obtain financing from BANOBRAS and CONUEE, which provided MX$9 million (US$474,000) for the project,” says Calderón.
For the Mexico City subway, Energetika is collaborating with the government to improve the metro’s energy usage and providing tools that can measure operational data. “If the project is successful and the government can see its value, we expect to install our system in the entire subway network,” says Chico. “This project is special for us because it is considered the most modern transportation lighting system in the world. We are using 150 patents that interact with each other and are controlled by Energetika’s platform. It delivers four times more light while using 85 percent less energy, which are incredibly attractive numbers.”