Cloud Computing , Technology

Driving Transformation in Energy Markets

How IEX Is Leveraging Cloud to Innovate and Meet Compliance Requirements
Driving Transformation in Energy Markets
Sangh Suman Gautam, chief technology officer, Indian Energy Exchange

Energy exchanges are real-time markets that operate 24x7. They are customer-centric in their operations and cater to a vast ecosystem of players. Their priorities are high availability, customer centricity and compliance. The Indian Energy Exchange, IEX, leveraged the cloud to address this and to deliver innovative products.

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Sangh Suman Gautam, chief technology officer, IEX, told Information Security Media Group that the major driver for cloud adoption was agility.

"Agility [of the cloud] allows us to provision new customer-centric features to all our generators or to all our customers," Gautam says.

Agility was possible because the ecosystem of OEMs and vendors took a "cloud-first" approach, and most of their solutions are offered on the cloud.

"The uptime guarantees and scalability of the cloud are really helping," Gautam says.

IEX is a premier energy marketplace that provides a nationwide automated trading platform for the physical delivery of electricity, renewables and certificates. The company introduced cross-border electricity trade with a vision to create an integrated South Asian power market. It focuses on customer-centric technology, enabling efficient price discovery, thereby facilitating the ease of power procurement.

Apart from cloud, IEX has also adopted other technologies like blockchain, AI and ML to drive its transformation and sustainability initiatives.

"Technology innovation is driving transformation in energy markets and also helping achieve the ambitious sustainability aspirations in the power sector," Gautam says.

Gautam says IEX is using technology-driven solutions to introduce "innovative products" like peer-to-peer trading, decentralized Rupee hybrid models and sustainability solutions.

"Sustainability targets have been set globally, and the energy market is central or core to achieving those targets - which cannot be achieved without innovation," Gautam adds.

Compliance is a major challenge in the energy sector, and when new mandates are issued, energy exchanges need to comply at short intervals. The high availability and scalability features of the cloud help in adhering to compliance norms.

"We need to adopt new features and comply within a month or two. And the energy markets operate in real time, 24x7. Cloud-native solutions help in providing high availability," Gautam says.

Another key challenge that Gautam cites is new deployments without downtime. The scalable nature of cloud, DevOps and CI/CD pipelines address this, he says.

API-Based Approach

IEX got into the real-time market or RTM two years ago. RTM was a monumental task for IEX as it has a robust ecosystem of 7,500 entities, 57 distribution utilities, more than 600 generators and over 4,500 open access consumers. Its ecosystem is spread across 29 states and five union territories of India. The challenge was to get all these entities to work together. Speed was also a priority as the timeline for distributing power after an auction is shrinking. To address these challenges, IEX had to introduce innovations like mixed integer linear programming or MILP.

"Right now, it is a 15-minute market, but we are hearing discussions about a 5-minute market. We are expected to guarantee electricity within one hour of an auction," Gautam says.

To meet these requirements, IEX partnered with the National Load Dispatch Center and moved from a monolithic architecture to an API-based interface that enables real-time transactions.

On the innovation side, IEX introduced MILP in the country. This bought in some pricing transparency.

"The exchanges are known for their transparency. But to do this, we had to give it a mathematical framework, and that's where MILP helped," Gautam explains.

The operating models within the power sector are moving toward automation, supported by APIs.

IEX says the integration of ecosystem players using APIs was a success, and it is also using this approach to integrate its banks for seamless transactions.

Previously, the SAP system used for its banking operations and the Exchange system were working in isolation. But these have now been integrated through APIs.


The real-time market needs an auto-healing environment. So, IEX invested in RPA. It trained its internal teams and its vendors on RPA.

"We wanted to develop an architecture that would auto-heal a problem encountered in the system," Gautam says.

The idea was to save time and the number of steps taken by the L1 and L2 support teams to resolve the problem. Auto-healing eliminates manual intervention.

Digital Adoption

Gautam says all these innovations would have not been possible without driving internal digital adoption.

"The real value of digital adoption comes when your enterprise is also digitally adopted internally. And then, you can showcase that value to your customer. That's when you appreciate the maximum value," Gautam says in conclusion.

About the Author

Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira

Sr. Director - Editorial, ISMG

Pereira has nearly three decades of journalism experience. He is the former editor of CHIP, InformationWeek and CISO MAG. He has also written for The Times of India and The Indian Express.

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