Eaton Digitalization Drives Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in India

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In an interview with TimesTech, Syed Sajjadh Ali, Managing Director – India, Electrical Sector, Eaton, discusses how Eaton’s digitalization efforts enhance power distribution and energy efficiency. He highlights Eaton’s pivotal role in supporting India’s transition to renewable energy through innovative solutions, sustainable practices, and local skill development initiatives.

Read the full interview here:

TimesTech: How does Eaton utilize digitalization to enhance power distribution and energy efficiency?

Mr Syed: Digitalization is a technology megatrend that all industries will need to embrace to be able to keep pace with evolving times, especially as the world transitions towards clean energy solutions. The increasing deployment of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and the growing maturity of AI/ML models are bringing significant improvements in the energy efficiency and power distribution segments. However, all of this starts with digitalization and the adoption of devices and tools that operate on industry-standard protocols.

Eaton has one of the most comprehensive and awarded portfolios of digital offerings that support most industry protocols and enable multi-vendor environments without compromising the ability to utilize digitalization. For instance, we offer Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and Data Center Power Management (DCPM) solutions that help data center customers manage their facilities safely and efficiently. We’ve successfully executed projects for major private DISCOMs and implemented DCIM for containerized data centers for large telco companies, tire manufacturers, and healthcare institutions.

Furthermore, our data science teams have applied machine learning (ML) algorithms on smart meter data to help power distribution companies reduce AT&C losses and optimize capital expenditure (Capex) investments, exemplifying Eaton’s commitment to digitalization and its role in driving intelligent power management solutions.

In addition to our digitalization efforts, Eaton products offer industry-leading energy efficiency. We can elaborate on specific products and their efficiency ratings in a separate discussion.

TimesTech: Could you highlight Eaton’s role in ensuring reliable and efficient power management systems across sectors, especially during the transition to renewable energy?

Mr Syed: Eaton is well positioned to be a key player in India’s smooth transition towards clean energy, given the country’s ambitious renewable energy targets and electric vehicle vision. We understand the current dependence on fossil fuels and the need for efficient management throughout this shift.

Eaton supports the growth of solar power in India through a two-pronged approach. First, we offer efficient and intelligent solutions like HMH36 and XIRIA+ medium-voltage switchgear, which are explicitly designed for the Indian renewable sector. Our Low Voltage switchgear solutions address challenges like high temperatures with features like no de-rating up to 55 degrees Celsius. Secondly, Eaton fosters an infrastructure ecosystem for clean energy by collaborating with major Wind OEMs, Solar Inverter OEMs, and Large Solar EPCs. This collaboration ensures Eaton provides best-in-class products and services to integrate renewable energy sources effectively.

By offering end-to-end power management solutions from power generation to evacuation for renewables like solar and wind, Eaton is positioned to be a valuable partner in India’s clean energy journey. We are also proactively identifying gaps in the EV ecosystem, developing products to fill those gaps, and ensuring the success of widespread electric vehicle adoption.

TimesTech: What specific sustainability initiatives or technologies is Eaton implementing within the electrical sector?

Mr Syed: Eaton is dedicated to enhancing life and the environment with power management technologies. Our 2030 goals include halving carbon emissions, achieving Zero Waste to Landfill at all sites, and certifying 10% of our sites for Zero Water Discharge. We optimize infrastructure with energy-efficient products and intelligent power solutions and innovate with clean technologies like lithium-ion batteries.

Our operational efforts include a 75KW solar plant, LED lighting, HVLS fans, and achieving Zero Waste to Landfill and Zero Water Discharge in 2021. We’ve installed rainwater harvesting, used treated wastewater, and continuously improved our environmental performance.

Looking ahead, we plan to expand solar capacity, implement water-positive projects, use recycled materials, gain Green Building Certification, and pursue carbon-neutral initiatives. These steps help Eaton lead by example in environmental responsibility within India’s electrical sector.

TimesTech: How is Eaton supporting India’s transition to clean energy, and can you share any notable projects or collaborations?

Mr Syed: Eaton is deeply committed to supporting India’s transition to clean energy by leveraging our innovative products and solutions. As the country embraces cleaner energy sources like green hydrogen and lithium-ion technologies, our “Everything as a Grid” approach stands as a cornerstone of our strategy. This approach enables us to provide solutions that optimize the utilization of existing infrastructure while facilitating the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid.

Additionally, our focus on lithium-ion-based technologies extends to powering critical infrastructure such as data centers, where energy consumption is substantial. We’re proud to contribute to the strengthening of electric vehicle (EV) and EV charging infrastructure across the country, ensuring reliable and efficient charging solutions. Our capabilities in integrated EV charging infrastructure, including site electrical upgrades and on-site energy storage, enable us to lower costs, enhance site resiliency, and promote sustainability.

Moreover, our XIRIA+ Solid Insulated Switchgear, with its maintenance-free and SF6-free design, embodies our commitment to operational safety and environmental sustainability. It is compact in size and future-ready and offers high uptime and operational life, making it an ideal choice for customers seeking reliable and efficient power distribution solutions. With our comprehensive suite of products and services, Eaton is dedicated to driving India’s clean energy transition forward.

TimesTech: In what ways does Eaton contribute to local skill development and technological advancement in India?

Mr Syed: Eaton’s commitment to corporate social responsibility in India is demonstrated through impactful programs that develop a skilled workforce and promote technological awareness. The “Garnishing the Talent Program” stands out with its high placement rate of 92% (590 students placed), providing underprivileged students with vital workplace skills and personal development opportunities. This initiative, along with our support for the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Science and Tech Center, enriches the educational landscape and sparks scientific curiosity among thousands of children.

Our efforts extend to practical industry skills training, addressing the gap between academic curricula and the needs of the industry. We also champion inclusivity through our partnership with the Deaf Enabled Foundation, offering specialized training to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. These programs collectively ensure that diverse groups of students are equipped with the skills necessary for success in the modern workforce.

By investing in these key areas, Eaton is enhancing employability and contributing to India’s broader technological advancement. Our CSR initiatives reflect a deep commitment to nurturing talent, inspiring innovation, and preparing a future-ready workforce, all of which are integral to driving sustainable growth and progress in the country.

TimesTech: How does Eaton ensure seamless integration of power management solutions across various industries to optimize energy usage and promote sustainability?

Mr Syed: Our strategy is centered around the concept of ‘Everything as a Grid,’ which empowers clients to store, distribute, and utilize power intelligently. This is facilitated by our Brightlayer suites, especially Brightlayer Industrial, which supports over 13 different industry protocols within our digital products. Such interoperability ensures smooth integration with existing systems, boosting efficiency and reducing waste. We also provide flexible deployment options, including on-premise, cloud, or hybrid models, to accommodate customer preferences.

In addition to integration services, Eaton is at the forefront of promoting sustainable technologies and the shift towards clean energy. We are actively offering Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) for customers who wish to store surplus energy for future use. This not only decreases reliance on the grid but also fosters energy independence. Our microgrid solutions offer self-sufficient power systems that enable customers to produce, distribute, and manage their electricity, reducing dependency on conventional grids and facilitating the incorporation of renewable energy sources. Furthermore, Eaton supports the increasing adoption of electric vehicles through our Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (EVCI), which is crucial in lowering transportation emissions and advancing sustainability.

Our power management solutions contribute to sustainability by optimizing energy consumption within traditional systems. For instance, our Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems feature a high-efficiency mode that connects the customer’s load directly to the utility via a bypass static switch. This mode can achieve efficiencies of up to 99%, significantly cutting down on energy waste. The UPS also includes a Harmonic Reduction System (HRS) that helps customers avoid penalties for injecting harmonics back into the grid during high-efficiency operations. Since industrial loads often produce harmonics that can destabilize the grid, the HRS feature is designed to minimize these harmonics, ensuring cleaner power delivery and grid stability.

By combining seamless integration, flexible deployment, and innovative clean energy solutions, Eaton enables businesses in various industries to optimize their energy usage, minimize their environmental impact, and contribute to a more sustainable future.