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Automation: The Path to a More Efficient Electrical Grid

The implementation carried out at the National Electric Coordinator of Chile has achieved improved record processing and reduced calculation time from one day to just 2 minutes, among other results. Essential improvements for a key player in the country's economy.


In this way, it has managed to improve its performance and optimize its processes significantly, resulting in not only internal benefits for the organization but also in better service for users.

As the entity responsible for ensuring access to the National Energy System in compliance with the law, ensuring the most economical operation for all facilities in the electrical system, and preserving service security, the National Electric Coordinator is a key player in the country's growth.


Electricity plays a crucial role in the economic growth of nations as it drives economic activity, industrial competitiveness, infrastructure development, improvement in quality of life, sustainability, and income generation through surplus export.


As a driver of economic activity, it is imperative to guarantee a reliable and affordable supply of electricity to enable the functioning and productivity of businesses, promote investment, maintain external competitiveness, and drive job creation.


Access to electricity is also an important indicator of development and quality of life for individuals. In an increasingly digital and technological era, optimal and efficient supply of electricity improves the well-being of populations, especially in rural areas and remote communities.


Furthermore, energy from renewable sources contributes to climate change mitigation, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and sustainable use of natural resources.


Therefore, maintaining the efficiency and optimization of the service is crucial as a public management policy.


Growing consumption

According to the latest study by the National Energy Commission of Chile, the consumption of the National Electrical System in this country is estimated to increase by 61.85% in the period 2022-2042, with an average annual growth rate of 2.44%. This figure is even higher than the forecasted rate in 2019 (pre-pandemic), which was estimated at 2.1% per year.


While electricity consumption goes hand in hand with the penetration of device usage, machinery, transportation, lighting, and other consumption related to the development of societies, large industrial consumers in Chile account for the majority of this growing demand, primarily those associated with the mining industry.


To make the system more efficient, Chile introduced significant changes in 2017 when the National Electrical System (SEN) began operating, resulting from the interconnection of the country's two main electrical systems: the Northern Interconnected System (SING) and the Central Interconnected System (SIC). Due to the peculiarities of the national geography, it is a unique system in terms of length, spanning approximately 3,100 km, from the city of Arica in the north to Chiloé Island in the south. As of May 2023, the SEN has 722 interconnected companies and almost full coverage of the national population (98.5%).


The National Electric Coordinator is the technical and independent body responsible for coordinating the operation of the facilities in the SEN, which are interconnected with each other. Its objectives include ensuring open access to all transmission systems in compliance with the law, ensuring the most economical operation for all facilities in the electrical system, and preserving service security.


The National Electric Coordinator is responsible for ensuring access to the National Energy System for companies in Chilean territory. This makes our client a key player in the country's growth by ensuring that the regulations of the energy sector are met in all market segments.

Business Challenges


Part of the responsibilities of our client, the National Electric Coordinator, are related to providing a consistent process to ensure open access to the energy grid in Chile. To ensure compliance, the Chilean government has created laws and policies that fall under the administration of our client, which is crucial in ensuring equal opportunities for all market players.


The need to add efficiency and optimize performance and costs is central to the organization, as it directly affects the efficient delivery of services to businesses and the general population. The case for using an automated, DevOps, and serverless computing approach was the chosen solution, as the company was willing to shift from the traditional approach of operation and implementation in order to:


  • Reduce the number of errors in new implementations and minimize downtime during production deployments.

  • Decrease operational costs by providing the necessary infrastructure and code automation for IT operations.

  • Reduce time to market when creating new features or implementing regulatory changes to the open access process.

  • Enable the ability to create on-demand environments to test new capabilities or regulatory changes.

  • Facilitate the creation of new environments and infrastructure in new regions and achieve high service availability.


Results

The focus of automation technology primarily revolves around two factors: automated infrastructure and backend deployment.


The first phase involves addressing the environment provisioning challenge by creating templates to deploy the entire infrastructure. In addition to the infrastructure, all DevOps resources for automation are also implemented to ensure maximum portability. Furthermore, the modern application using serverless computing allows for optimal cost optimization for the business.


The second phase entails the implementation of the application's backend, which is predominantly developed through Lambda functions and successfully models a serverless application using AWS Lambda and API Gateway. Deployment operations are carried out through CI/CD and coordinated using cloud formation templates and AWS CodePipeline.


Finally, a Blue/Green deployment pattern was selected to ensure maximum service availability.


The implemented deployment was a success, as evidenced by the following metrics:

  • Processing 10,000 records now takes only 5 minutes.

  • Historical calculation records were obtained, which did not exist previously.

  • Pre-calculated data was enabled for quick queries.

  • Calculation time was reduced from a day to just 2 minutes.

In this way, the National Electric Coordinator has significantly improved its performance and optimized its processes, resulting in not only internal benefits for the organization but also a better service for users.


At ARKHO, an IT consulting firm, we can help you modernize and optimize your systems and processes. Contact us, and together we will find the best solution for your case: contacto@arkho.io


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