CLP and AutoGrid Optimize Distributed Energy Resources on AWS

Executive Summary

Asia-Pacific energy company CLP Holdings (CLP) and AWS Partner AutoGrid Systems Inc. (AutoGrid) implemented a single AWS-powered system to efficiently manage distributed energy resources. Acknowledging a global shift from traditional centralized power infrastructures to decentralized private energy assets, CLP sought a technology solution that could manage local grids by integrating batteries and renewable energy assets. AutoGrid developed a single AWS-based solution with CLP’s desired capability. After a successful pilot program in Hong Kong, during which CLP reduced peak energy usage by seven percent, CLP and AutoGrid are poised to expand their work on demand management.

CLP and AutoGrid Optimize Distributed Energy Resources on AWS

The global energy industry is changing rapidly, and power company CLP Holdings (CLP) wants to lead that change. With the ever-increasing viability of renewable energy and distributed energy resources, building and infrastructure managers around the world are shifting away from the traditional centralized model—in which large power plants generate energy that is transmitted to consumers at the edge—toward a more decentralized model, in which businesses and individuals increasingly participate in their own energy generation, storage, and usage optimization.

Seeking to stay at the forefront of this shift, CLP envisioned a way to manage distributed energy resources in an intelligent, scalable fashion. The company set out to enable the use of battery storage and renewable energy within local grids, forecast energy demand for customers, and determine how to deliver energy in a more resilient and decentralized manner rather than solely from large-scale conventional generators. Adapting to this new paradigm requires the robust capability to collect and analyze data from a diverse range of devices, and CLP needed a modern technology solution. It found one on Amazon Web Services (AWS) by engaging AutoGrid Systems Inc. (AutoGrid), an AWS Advanced Partner providing energy flexibility management solutions. Using the flexibility, scalability, and reliability of AWS, CLP and AutoGrid conducted several successful pilot programs in Hong Kong, India, and Australia. Now CLP is poised to build on this foundation to further drive the transition to a dynamic, decentralized, and more sustainable grid.

“Using the AWS-powered AutoGrid system, we can simply and quickly develop new benefits for consumers. It’s a win-win situation.” 

- Pubs Abayasiri, Associate Director of Digital Products, CLP Innovation, CLP Holdings

Using Technology to Rethink Energy Grids

CLP is an energy investor and operator in the Asia-Pacific region. With an established presence in five markets, the company’s core business involves the generation, transmission, distribution, and retailing of electricity. As the market becomes more distributed, CLP sees an opportunity to evolve its business model by harnessing new technologies to deliver innovative services for customers and enhance operational performance. “The common challenge for utilities is reducing stress on the network and managing peak demand,” says Pubs Abayasiri, Associate Director of Digital Products of CLP Innovation. “Technologies like those from AutoGrid help utilities manage fluctuations in customer demand and moderate peak load and can lead to savings on generation capacity spending.”

Decarbonization is another major priority for CLP. “We have a commitment to reduce our carbon intensity by 80 percent before 2050,” says Abayasiri. “Hong Kong has also recently made a commitment to be carbon neutral, and CLP will obviously need to play its role.” Maximizing the use of renewable energy and battery storage in grids across the Asia-Pacific region is a key element of reducing reliance on fossil fuels and creating a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

Conducting a Successful Pilot Program

In 2016, CLP and AutoGrid began an ambitious initiative to use technology infrastructure, data analytics, and machine learning to make a decentralized energy model more viable. The companies began with a pilot program that involved managing a microgrid within Hong Kong Science Park, managed by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and located on Hong Kong’s Tolo Harbour waterfront. “When we looked at the pilot in 2016, we wanted to first make sure that we could connect to different types of devices,” says Abayasiri. “That’s already a challenge in itself because you’ve got different types of equipment and manufacturers that speak in different protocols.” Once the devices were integrated into the AutoGrid system, the next challenges were to see how the energy resources are being used, predict how the demand of the customer will change over time, and then orchestrate the assets within the microgrid accordingly.

AutoGrid developed AutoGrid DERMS, a sophisticated distributed energy resource management system, using a suite of AWS services. Among these services are Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance; and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. By using AWS, AutoGrid can meet various global compliance requirements and can use a vast range of services and features that demonstrate security standards.

The broad idea of the first pilot was to prove how the AutoGrid system could orchestrate energy within the Hong Kong Science Park campus by analyzing HKSTP’s energy use, predicting its peak energy needs, and tapping into its 150 kW battery storage system to satisfy those needs without additional pressure on the broader electrical grid. Over the course of the pilot, the forecasting and optimization enabled by AutoGrid DERMS resulted in a seven percent peak energy reduction. “The pilot gave us a lot of confidence that first, the concept of orchestration can work with the technology available, and then second, it can work really well with the AutoGrid system,” says Abayasiri.

“The pilot gave us a lot of confidence that first, the concept of orchestration can work with the technology available, and then second, it can work really well with the AutoGrid system.”

- Pubs Abayasiri, Associate Director of Digital Products, CLP Innovation, CLP Holdings

Building on Success to Create a Smarter Energy Future

Having completed a successful pilot program demonstrating that local energy orchestration is not only possible but also effective, CLP is poised to expand the programs and scale operations. “Our pilot was just a few batteries and a few solar panels, but we could do this for hundreds and thousands of solar panels and batteries.”

Customers are at the center of this new energy paradigm. Bringing diverse customers with various devices into a single integrated system means CLP can quickly extend its innovations further and more effectively. For example, CLP is already developing an Internet of Things device that can communicate with residential air conditioners through infrared signals and—with users’ consent—work with the AutoGrid system to issue recommendations for optimal use. “Using the AWS-powered AutoGrid system, we can simply and quickly develop new benefits for consumers. It’s a win-win situation,” says Abayasiri. “The customer gets services that are helpful for their lifestyle, and we can also provide better value.”

CLP Holdings

About CLP Holdings

Founded in 1901, CLP Holdings is an energy investor and operator in the Asia-Pacific region. Present in five markets, it is committed to providing energy solutions in a financially, socially, and environmentally responsible manner.

About AutoGrid

AutoGrid software allows energy companies, electric utilities, asset owners, and others to better manage networked distributed energy resources (DERs) in real time and at scale. With massively scalable data processing, powerful forecasting, and native integrations to 70+ OEM devices or protocols, the AutoGrid Flex platform unlocks value for energy assets of all type and scale.

Published September 2021