The move towards decentralised power grids and a large-scale adoption of renewable energy will significantly alter the energy market in South Africa. “The introduction of renewables is making the energy space really interesting right now,” comments Stuart Michie, sales and marketing manager for southern Africa, Hitachi ABB Power Grids “This easily deployed relatively low-cost generation infrastructure is now making an appearance in many countries.”
A prime example is Angola, where Hitachi ABB Power Grids has joined forces with Sun Africa and M. Couto Alves S.A., on behalf of Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water, to supply the main electrical infrastructure to connect sub-Saharan Africa’s largest solar project to Angola’s transmission network.
A long-standing installed base in Africa has given Hitachi ABB Power Grids a significant footprint on the continent. “Our presence in southern Africa is very important to us, as a lot of development is underway that we are supporting,” notes Michie. “All taking place against a backdrop where power utilities are increasingly looking at how they can better manage their networks by implementing modern technologies such as asset performance management.”
Another issue is load shedding, which results in strain on the national grid. “Electricity networks perform optimally in a steady-state mode and tend to become stressed under load shedding, which can expose a range of inherent weaknesses,” explains Michie. “While the so-called smart grid is often touted as the answer to manage this most effectively, the cost factor must be considered. Hitachi ABB Power Grids has a leading edge in this regard as it has a wide range of cost-effective and easily deployable solutions available.”
Mitigating load shedding by increasing the uptake of renewable energy is steering South Africa towards a cleaner energy future that is not coal based. Here, new technologies such as green hydrogen are gaining the spotlight in terms of effective energy storage. “As we move to more renewables and greener energy, we are going to need much finer control over the use of that energy,” notes Michie.
Acknowledging this as the way of the future, Hitachi ABB Power Grids and Hitachi Vantara announced their first joint offerings: Lumada Asset Performance Management, Lumada Enterprise Asset Management and Lumada Field Service Management. These solutions leverage the technological synergies between the two Hitachi businesses and deliver a robust portfolio of capabilities, including DataOps and IIoT solutions. This expanded portfolio provides customers with an extremely powerful combination of tools to digitalise their business, enable efficient, effective operations and a create the foundation for a more sustainable future.
As for the future, Michie is confident that Hitachi ABB Power Grids will be able to play a key role in assisting the bulk of the municipalities in South Africa to manage their electricity infrastructure efficiently and cost-effectively, right from revenue collection through to planning and network management.
For more information contact Thembisile Dzonzi, Hitachi ABB Power Grids,
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