Climate Connect CEO Nitin Tanwar.
Mumbai: London-based Indian energy start-up Climate Connect is seeking to raise $5-10 million in a Series B round within the next six months, the company’s founder and chief executive officer Nitin Tanwar said in an interview. It had earlier raised a $1.2 million Series A round from Amsterdam-based Miller Turner Group. Climate Connect, which deploys artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology software across the energy generation, transmission and distribution spectrum, currently works with a portfolio of 20 gigawatts (GW).
Tanwar, who founded Climate Connect in 2010, had earlier worked in the European energy markets. There he realized that more accurate data about energy generation and consumption patterns could lead to more reliable decision-making.
The company offers real-time intraday, day-ahead, term-ahead, and long-term energy forecasts using AI algorithms powered by millions of hourly data points from the transmission system, distribution network, generation types, and weather models. It also forecasts market prices and bid volumes.
Its stated aim is to use technology to make renewable energy affordable to the masses.
“It is an irony in India that in an energy-surplus country, load-shedding is so common. One of the reasons for this is our inability to forecast power demand accurately,” said Tanwar.
A power distribution company has to forecast in advance how much power it needs the next day, while making intraday predictions as well. This depends largely on the weather conditions: On a hot day, more people will turn on their ACs, or if it rains, there will be less power usage.
“So for a discom, the information we provide helps them manage power without resorting to load shedding. Our machine learning system looks at real-time and historical data on usage and weather patterns to forecast demand. This way, we help discoms make more informed decisions on how much power they will need to provide on a given day,” said Tanwar.
On the generation side, solar energy companies, for instance, need to know how much power they will be able to generate on a particular day, since power generation from solar panels is directly related to weather patterns and irradiation levels.
“Earlier, generation companies worked with excel sheets on weather patterns and made crude estimates. Now, with machine learning systems applied to solar generation, a company can make these predictions better. As a result, penalties that these companies paid to a grid operator for generating less energy than what they had committed to, have come down by 80%. After the first year of deployment, penalties came down by a further 30%,” he added.
In India, Climate Connect works with power generation and distribution companies such as the BSES, TATA Power, GMR, Adani and ACME. The company is already working with the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh electricity boards, and is in talks with government utilities in Chandigarh and Haryana as well. In Europe, it works with utilities in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, handling a 700MW portfolio. It hopes that the next round of funding will take it to newer markets.
“Next year, Climate Connect will patent its technology. We’ve already applied for patents in India, but want to do this in other jurisdictions as well. We currently manage a portfolio of 20GW and we want to get to 300GW in 3-5 years. We want to move into the US and China, the big energy markets. There is a lot of capacity being added there and hence, for us, a lot of opportunity.”