Electricity and Control March 2023



energy + information in industry

Is going off grid the best option?

Berthold is an expert in radiometric measurements, specialising in solutions for density, point level, continuous level, and multiphase/density profile meas urements. Its expertise is reflected in its

W elcome to another edition of Electricity+Control . Reviewing the features this month, we include: Control systems + automation, Drives, motors + switchgear,Measurement + instrumentation and Transformers, substations + cables. Although each month we present a different set of features, with some recurring bi-monthly and some quarterly, it strikes me that, taken together, these are at the core of any successful industrial enterprise – be it in manufacturing, processing, or any endeavour that requires the convergence of two key commodities of modern industry: energy and information. Clearly each operations manager or plant manager needs to figure these out in the context of their own plant – but for everyone, the bigger challenge right now relates to energy. I wonder how many people remember the confusion Eskom caused when it embarked on an energy efficiency programme a few decades ago. Of course, Eskom was promoting a very good idea and positive action: use energy more efficiently. Yet at the time, many folks could not get their heads around why a utility company that makes its money by selling energy, was asking them to use less! Similarly, I recall Crown Publications produced several very helpful Energy Efficiency handbooks – and again, many folks genuinely viewed this as unnecessary – given how cheap electrical energy was at the time. But now we live in a world where we do need to consider even the standby energy consumed by any device we may deploy on our plant. So much has the world changed. The challenges we face now are far greater than simply the cost of energy:

we live in a time when the reliability of our energy supply from the national utility has become predictably worse and worse – to the extent that some view it as a ‘National State of Disaster’. Well, it has been that for some years already – and it’s fairly difficult to imagine how a formally declared state of disaster will secure the ability to replace, maintain and repair plant that has been pushed too hard for too long. One of the consequences of running the generation plant too long and too hard – and possibly damaging parts of it with out-of-spec coal – is that going off grid is a reality that many are now considering. To what extent can we, as households, businesses, or industrial enterprises, become self-reliant – going off the grid as far as we can? The regulatory environment around this seems to have been way stickier than one would have imagined – although there may be some movement now? It is a path being chosen increasingly by those that can afford to do it. It may actually not be a cheaper option – but it leaves one with the absolute sense that your energy supply is in your own hands – and can be managed. And it brings the duty of care over the system to you, so you have control over it. The worry, of course, is that many of the big energy users (and small users) may never return to utility power – leaving the utility short of income (or needing to increase the costs to users simply to make up the deficit). But perhaps that need not be a worry at all.

products’ performance. (Read more on page 3.)

Editor: Leigh Darroll Design & Layout: Darryl James Advertising Manager: Heidi Jandrell Circulation: Karen Smith Editorial Technical Director: Ian Jandrell Publisher: Karen Grant Deputy Publisher: Wilhelm du Plessis

Audited circulation Quarter 4 (Oct-Dec) 2022 Total print and e-editions 13 416

Published monthly by: Crown Publications (Pty) Ltd Cnr Theunis and Sovereign Sts, Bedford Gardens, PO Box 140, Bedfordview 2008 Printed by: Tandym Print Telephone: +27 (0) 11 622 4770

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MARCH 2023 Electricity + Control


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