Qualification: 
Ph.D
chidanand@am.amrita.edu

Dr. Fabien Chidanand Robert currently serves as Visiting Researcher at Amrita Center for Economics and Governance.

Education

  • 2013 - 2018 : Ph.D., School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
    “Low-Cost, Reliable Rural Electrification Using Microgrids Powered by Renewable Energy”
    • Achieved international recognition:
      • Journal publications in top 5% (worldwide) “planning and development” journals
      • Presentations in international conferences (US, Europe, India…)
    • Optimal Design of Renewable Energy Microgrids (autonomous and grid tied), HOMER PRO
    • Analysis of Key Parameters (financial, technical, and related to users’ behavior and weather)
    • Sustainability studies: sensitivity analyses, identification of risks of failures and solutions
    • Proposed new approach to renewable energy deployment in rural areas with drastic reduction of costs, losses, and improvement of reliability for users
  • 2002 - 2007 : Master in Electrical Engineering, with Honours
    Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs Electriciens de Grenoble, INPG, France (incl. one year in LTH, Sweden, and 2 years of “prepa”, Lycée François 1er, Fontainebleau, France)

Experience

  • 2012- 2017 : Project Manager/Research Associate, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India,
    • Stabiliz-E Project (Portugal, Germany, Finland and India): Design of a Renewable Energy Lab and Experiments to strengthen Renewable Energy Integration and Distribution Grids:
      • Interactive management of a 3 phase Microgrid powered by 9 kWc Solar Energy and Grid
      • Integration and control of 15 Smart Meters, Smart Inverters and Grid reconfiguration.
      • Optimisation of Renewable Energy and storage utilisation, minimisation of losses.
    • Design, Implementation and Follow-up of six Solar Microgrids for a tribal village
    • Courses taught in Master:
      • "Renewable Energy and Conversion"
      • "Smart Grid" (incl. writing the curriculum)
  • 2008 - 2010 : Project Manager as Electrical Engineer at ENERCON GmbH
    Coordination of Electrical Works in Wind Park Projects (280 MW on 25 projects)
    • Writing technical specifications for the 20 kV substations, power equipment and cabling
    • Organising tenders and managing subcontractors
    • Responsible for safety (official agreements), quality and respect of deadlines
    • Responsible for protection settings and commissioning of wind parks with with utility
    • Initiating and organising weekly meetings with project managers and teams of technicians.

Extra Curriculum Activities

  • 2011 - 2019 Volunteer with Embracing The World (ETW)
    • Humanitarian Service: helping set-up a Waste Management Center in India (2011-12)
    • Organising events throughout the world for people in difficulty (US, Europe, Japan, India…)
  • 2017 - 2019 Regular reviewer for world class energy journals and conferences

Services Offered

  1. Project Management in a Multicultural Environment
    • Monitoring by indicators, based on their impact on key objectives (cost-quality-timeliness)
    • Managing project planning
    • Regular reporting and communication with all stake holders (meeting minutes, weekly reports…)
    • Conducting effective meetings (clear roles, objectives and agendas, maximizing the common pool of knowledge, technic of “six hats”…)
    • Defining clear responsibilities, interactions and risks
    • Uncovering possible synergies and hidden value
    • Organising tenders for sub-contractors and writing techno-economic offers
  2. Management of Human Resources
    • Coordination of project teams and experts
    • Management of human resources with professional tools (Vital Smart tools1: crucial conversation, influencers; distributed leadership2, systemic approach…)
    • Professional conflict solving approach (Vital Smart1 and Black Swan group tools3 and systemic approach: finding mutual purpose, restoring safety, encouraging active listening, identifying unhealthy behaviours like the triangle of Karpman…)
  3. Technical Expertise and Support in Financial Analysis
    • Least-cost technical design for renewable energy microgrids (autonomous and grid connected)
      • Performing feasibility studies
      • Dimensioning and comparing solutions for electricity generation and energy storage: inputs include power ratings of components, power curves, losses, derating of batteries during fast discharge, weather forecast, effect of temperature (batteries and solar PV), aging, O&M, CO2 emissions…
      • Writing/Validating Technical specifications of projects
      • Performing simulations with HOMER Pro
      • Performing sensitivity analysis (e.g. cost vs. reliability; cash flow vs. volatility of energy market)
      • Validating financial analysis (Net Present Value, cash flow, discount rate, risk premium)
    • Grid connection of renewable energy generation
      • Performing critical analysis of grid connection agreements (Inrush current limitations, maximum power at Point of Coupling…)
      • Validating and implementing requirements for protection devices, settings, and coordination

Project Experience

Exemples of Wind Projects Supervised

Location : All over France

Installed Power : 280 MW (Total) projects from 330 kW to 20 MW

Intitulés:

  • Mésanger (44) 9.2 MW
  • Pouille les coteaux (44) 2 MW
  • Rascaillac, (81) 4 MW
  • Camplong (34) 7 MW
  • Lusignan (86) 330 kW
  • La Répara (26) 3MW
  • Cambernon (50) 2 MW
  • Garcelles et Conteville (14) 16 MW
  • And many others…

Clients : Energieteam, EDF Energies nouvelles…

Subcontractors for cabling : ETDE, Forclum…

Switch gears 20 kV : Areva, Siesmens, ABB… (Negotiation of framework contracts)

Responsibilities :

  • Design and technical specifications for the internal cabling (20kV) of wind parks
  • Organisation of tenders for subcontractors
  • Design of 20 kV substations: switchgears, protections, transformers and concrete plan
  • Validation in the manufacturing plant, then reception on site
  • Coordination of planning: cabling teams, delivery and assembly of wind turbines…
  • Supervision of cabling works (150mm2 to 240mm2 + fiber optic)
  • Responsible for the regulatory conformance of the electrical infrastructure for the whole wind park (regulatory visit + technical documentation)
  • Responsible for the first energisation of the wind park
  • Reception of the wind park with the client

Publications

Publication Type: Conference Paper

Year of Publication Title

2019

Fabien Chidanand Robert, “Lower Peak Demand and Electricity Bill using Uninterruptible Power Supply and Solar Electricity”, in 4th International Conference on Energy and Environment: bringing together Engineering and Economics Guimarães, Portugal, 2019.

2018

Fabien Chidanand Robert and Gopalan, S., “From Solar Microgrid Simulation to Field Deployment: Accuracy and Uncertainties”, in 2018 7th International Conference on Renewable Energy Research and Applications (ICRERA), 2018.[Abstract]


Economical, stand-alone, solar microgrids can be quickly implemented in most un-electrified regions of the world. Solar resource maps developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), together with HOMER Pro software, have been widely used to determine the optimal design of microgrids. Repercussions of imprecise predictions of solar resources and electrical power generation lead to an increased likelihood of energy shortage in a stand-alone microgrid, or increases overall project costs. Actual solar energy productions of two sites in Kerala, India, were compared with solar electricity generation, predicted by the HOMER Pro tool. For both test sites, the results showed that the simulated, solar production was within 8.1% of the actual annual production. However, monthly variations in solar production led to unanticipated energy shortages in the simulated microgrids. These findings reaffirm the inexorable need of the following actions for cost-effective design of microgrids: a) systematic analysis of reliability of electrical supply, and b) deployment of schemes for demand response and flexible load. Statistical analysis of temporal variation of solar irradiance in the United States were used to inform recommendations for stand-alone microgrid design.

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2018

Fabien Chidanand Robert and Gopalan, S., “Solar electricity: An effective asset to supply urban loads in hot climates”, in AIP Conference Proceedings, 2018, vol. 1952, p. 020012.[Abstract]


While human population has been multiplied by four in the last hundred years, the world energy consumption was multiplied by ten. The common method of using fossil fuels to provide energy and electricity has dangerously disturbed nature’s and climate’s balance. It has become urgent and crucial to find sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives to preserve a livable environment with unpolluted air and water. Renewable energy is the unique eco-friendly opportunity known today. The main challenge of using renewable energy is to ensure the constant balance of electricity demand and generation on the electrical grid. This paper investigates whether the solar electricity generation is correlated with the urban electricity consumption in hot climates. The solar generation and total consumption have been compared for three cities in Florida. The hourly solar generation has been found to be highly correlated with the consumption that occurs 6 h later, while the monthly solar generation is correlated with the monthly energy consumption. Producing 30% of the electricity using solar energy has been found to compensate partly for the monthly variation in the urban electricity demand. In addition, if 30% of the world electricity is produced using solar, global CO2 emissions would be reduced by 11.7% (14.6% for India). Thus, generating 30% solar electricity represents a valuable asset for urban areas situated in hot climates, reducing the need for electrical operating reserve, providing local supply with minimal transmission losses, but above all reducing the need for fossil fuel electricity and reducing global CO2 emission.

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2017

Fabien Chidanand Robert and Gopalan, S., “Indicators for the usability of solar energy in India for the development of Islanded microgrids”, in 2017 International Conference on Technological Advancements in Power and Energy ( TAP Energy), 2017.[Abstract]


1.2 billion people all over the world lack access to electricity, among them, 240 million live in India. Islanded microgrids can be an efficient solution to power remote villages. Solar resources are abundant in India and solar microgrids can be implemented with minimal technical know-how. To design efficient policy for remote electrification programs, the assessment of resources is fundamental. The available solar resource maps of India focus on local annual and monthly average Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI). This paper investigates whether the GHI average for the month with the lowest value (MinMonthlylr) is a more suitable parameter to describe the true usefulness of solar resources. Islanded solar microgrids were simulated for 30 sites spread all over India. The results show that the optimal microgrid design does not depend on MinMonthlyIr. Instead, the annual average GHI and the latitude have been found to be good predictors of the usefulness of solar energy resource, with an accuracy of more than 96.5% in predicting the cost of electricity, in 29 microgrids out of 30.

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2017

Fabien Chidanand Robert and Gopalan, S., “Environmental friendly and cost effective approach to provide highly reliable electric supply to rural business and industries”, in 2017 International Conference on Technological Advancements in Power and Energy ( TAP Energy), 2017.[Abstract]


The healthy growth of economy lies on the balance between rural and urban development. While urban India has grown rapidly, rural infrastructure has been largely neglected until recently. Unreliable electricity supply is a major hurdle and has been identified by business owners as the second-most important obstacle to business development in India. The solutions proposed so far in the literature promote renewable energy microgrids and storage to improve the reliability of supply locally. Since the rural regions do not have the technical man-power to operate and manage a microgrid, this approach may not be effective in practice. The solution must be simple, affordable and tailored to the local needs. This article focuses on finding the optimum solution to improve the reliability of electrical supply for a small business/industry connected to a rural grid. The average cost of electricity has been calculated when 1) diesel generator, 2) battery, and 3) the most cost effective combination of solar PV panels and batteries, are used to improve reliability. Different grid reliability levels and different sell-back prices for the excess solar electricity have been used for the simulations. It was found that, even including installation cost, the combination of solar PV panels and battery is much cheaper than the commonly used diesel generator or the battery back-up. Affordable, reliable electricity will be a critical enabler for the development of rural areas.

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2017

Fabien Chidanand Robert, Sisodia, G. S., and Dr. Sundararaman Gopalan, “The critical role of anchor customers in rural microgrids, Impact of load factor on energy cost”, in 2017 International Conference on Computation of Power, Energy Information and Commuincation (ICCPEIC), Chennai, India, 2017.[Abstract]


The development of the society was supported by an easy access to energy and in particular to electricity. However, 1.2 billion people worldwide are yet to receive an electrical connection. Most of them live in rural areas and many are far from the grid or in hilly terrains. Renewable energy microgrids are a good alternative to grid extension in many cases. However, the rural communities often consist of households only, with an energy demand concentrated in the morning and at night, in the early hours. This increases the need for costly storage as renewable energy is either available during the day for solar, or distributed throughout the day for wind. Anchor customers are users such as schools, hospitals, small manufacturing units or GSM tower that consume energy throughout the day. They contribute to the local development and can be a source of steady income for the microgrid. This paper illustrates that by including such customers at the microgrid design stage, the average cost of energy can be reduced. Through microgrid design simulations, it is shown that when anchor customers represent around 30% of the load (load factor of 0.4), the cost of energy can be reduced by 22% for a microgrid powered by wind and solar energy and by 48% for a solar microgrid, compared to a village with less than 10% of anchor users (load factor 0.2). It is thus critical to include anchor customers at the microgrid design stage in order to provide affordable energy in rural areas.

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2017

Fabien Chidanand Robert, Sisodia, G. S., and Gopalan, S., “An Intelligent Approach to Strengthening of the Rural Electrical Power Supply Using Renewable Energy Resources”, in IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 2017, vol. 83, p. 012005.[Abstract]


The healthy growth of economy lies in the balance between rural and urban development. Several developing countries have achieved a successful growth of urban areas, yet rural infrastructure has been neglected until recently. The rural electrical grids are weak with heavy losses and low capacity. Renewable energy represents an efficient way to generate electricity locally. However, the renewable energy generation may be limited by the low grid capacity. The current solutions focus on grid reinforcement only. This article presents a model for improving renewable energy integration in rural grids with the intelligent combination of three strategies: 1) grid reinforcement, 2) use of storage and 3) renewable energy curtailments. Such approach provides a solution to integrate a maximum of renewable energy generation on low capacity grids while minimising project cost and increasing the percentage of utilisation of assets. The test cases show that a grid connection agreement and a main inverter sized at 60 kW (resp. 80 kW) can accommodate a 100 kWp solar park (resp. 100 kW wind turbine) with minimal storage.

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2016

Fabien Chidanand Robert, Ramanathan, U., ,, Durga, P., and R. Mohan, “When academia meets rural India: Lessons learnt from a MicroGrid implementation”, in 2016 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), 2016, pp. 156-163.[Abstract]


Access to energy has been a lynchpin for the progress of modern civilization in the last century. However, a large fraction of the world's population still remains without electricity. Recent improvements in affordable, renewable energy generation technology, offer us the unique opportunity to realize the dream of global electrification. In this paper, we discuss how academia can translate into successfully meeting the needs of rural development via the Live-in-Labs™ program - an experiential learning initiative in rural India. Through the program, 35 post graduate university students and 15 staff and faculty designed, developed, and deployed a solar microgrid for the electrification of a tribal village in South India. In order to encourage academia to become involved more easily in such rural development programs, we describe our approach from pre-study to post deployment analysis and monitoring. We present practical tips and advice for project organisation, technical design, as well the implementation phase, accompanied with feedback from students. This project introduced tribal villagers to a new world of technology, promoting education and kindling long lasting enthusiasm in the village and students were offered a unique hands-on experience, changing their outlook on life.

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2013

R. D. Aryadevi, Anilesh, S., Fabien Chidanand Robert, and Ramesh, M. V., “Smart device for optimal use of stored renewable power”, in 2013 IEEE 7th International Power Engineering and Optimization Conference (PEOCO), 2013, pp. 732-737.[Abstract]


One of the major challenges faced by Indian power grid system are the excess use of energy and that results in the imbalance in the power generated and power consumed. The utility regulates the amount of consumption by introducing power cuts and time of use billing methods leading to decrease in the comfort level of consumers. A design for a smart control device, for efficient use of stored renewable energy, is proposed in this paper. The proposed system has a number of aspects. Firstly, this proposed system collects and analyses user consumption data. Dependent on the data the system makes a decision on the source of power to be made available: either renewable power from a battery or power from the grid. The system also calculates the amount of power to be stored, in a storage device. In addition, the system is able to make decisions on who gets priority to continue receiving power in the case of power shortage/failure. We simulated some of the basic system capabilities to switch the source of power depending on: the peak time, consumption of user, and the amount of battery power remaining. The results show that dependency of power from the grid is reduced and by setting priority of device, continuity of service is achieved. Our results indicate that power dependency from the grid can be reduced to 70-80% during peak hours and continuity of service can be achieved for critical devices during power failure.

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Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication Title

2018

Fabien Chidanand Robert and Gopalan, S., “Low cost, highly reliable rural electrification through a combination of grid extension and local renewable energy generation”, Sustainable Cities and Society, vol. 42, pp. 344 - 354, 2018.[Abstract]


Globally, 1.2 billion people have yet to be granted access to electricity. Another 2.4 billion receive an intermittent electrical supply due to undersized and unreliable rural power grids. However, existing rural electrification programs focus mostly on extending the central power grid, thus providing an intermittent supply and increasing the losses on the power grid. In the literature, extension of the central grid is unilaterally compared with a stand-alone microgrid solution. In the model for rural electrification presented in this paper, the extension of the central grid is supplemented with local renewable energy generation and storage. The “reliability of the central power grid”, the “expected reliability of electrical supply in the village”, and the “losses” are also introduced as important design parameters. The usefulness and relevance of the proposed model was illustrated through 20 test cases. For Kanjikuzhi, an Indian village, additional renewable energy can reduce the average cost of electricity by 26%, diminish power interruptions by 40% and decrease grid losses by 62.5%, compared to a simple extension of the central power grid.

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2018

Fabien Chidanand Robert, Sisodia, G. Singh, and Gopalan, S., “A critical review on the utilization of storage and demand response for the implementation of renewable energy microgrids”, Sustainable Cities and Society, vol. 40, pp. 735 - 745, 2018.[Abstract]


Renewable energy generation represents a unique solution to ensure the sustainable development of society. However, its fluctuating nature can disturb the energy balance mechanism of the power grid. In microgrids powered by renewables, the issue is even more critical. Fossil fuel generation typically supplements renewables but storage and demand response can be more flexible and cost effective. This paper is an overview of recent undertakings that present storage and demand response techniques as solutions for the stable operation of renewable energy microgrids. The critical analysis of the recent papers in this area reveals that the parameters used for modeling storage have been simplified (efficiency, dynamic behavior at fast rate of discharge, aging…) and that the demand response incentives have been assumed to be enough for users to be willing to participate in demand response programs. These assumptions make the proposed solutions too inaccurate to be implemented on the field yet. If renewables have to be implemented on a large scale, specific and accurate models have to be used. By building on the current research presented here, much work can be converted into real advances in the field of renewable energy integration in microgrids.

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