Sparks Electrical News April 2019

Sparks Electrical News now features a dedicated Industry 4.0 section. Turn to page 16 for more

APRIL 2019

E L E C T R I C A L N E W S www.sparkselectricalnewsmagazine.co.za

REGULARS: CONTRACTORS’ CORNER | BUYERS' GUIDE : MOTORS AND DRIVES | FEATURES : MCCS AND MOTOR PROTECTION | CABLES AND CABLE ACCESSORIES | LIGHTING | INDUSTRY 4.0

EMBRACING INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGIES TO MEET GROWING ENERGY DEMAND

E lectricity service providers globally are experiencing rapid change driven by disruptive technologies that are transform- ing traditional energy market structures. Distributed energy resources like wind, solar, and battery storage, supported by their in- creasing cost-competitiveness with fossil-generation and changes in policy and consumer demands, are forcing utilities as well as munici- palities in Africa to find ways to produce, transmit and distribute elec- tricity in a sustainable and efficient manner, or risk losing customers. “The ability to provide reliable electricity contributes vastly to improved healthcare, better education, eMobility and increased economic development,” explains Joseph Mahendran, Black & Veatch Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Manager. “Electric utilities have to embrace smart integrated energy infrastructure that can drive greater efficiency from existing resources, while preparing for the new energy systems of the future.” For example, digital management of distributed energy sources has already begun and brings opportunities for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to augment, and in some cases, compete with traditional utility services. He notes the industry is seeing the beginning of a convergence of IoT, telecommunications, advanced analytics, supply and management of electricity, in which mobile devices can be used to remotely control or switch on and off primary power plant equipment. “These are the innovations that we will see in the energy sector and, as a result, power utilities and municipalities will have to adopt to these technological innovations to be able to operate power systems efficiently to meet consumer demands.” Mahendran says electric utilities are awakening to the power of innovation in terms of generation assets, and with the shift to decentralised, digital grids, the broadening appeal of more affordable renewables and low-carbon power sources. He says decentralisation is occurring through off-grid and micro-grid systems, while renewables, distributed energy and smart grids need new capabilities, new business models and policy guidelines to drive

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