Sparks Electrical News September 2018

SEPTEMBER 2018

E L E C T R I C A L N E W S

www.sparkselectricalnewsmagazine.co.za

REGULARS: CONTRACTORS’ CORNER | BUYERS' GUIDE : DBs, SWITCHES, SOCKETS AND PROTECTION | FEATURES : EARTHING AND LIGHTNING | DBs, SWITCHES AND SOCKETS | LIGHTING

LIGHTNING: IGNORANCE IS OUR ENEMY

CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

concentrating on the core processes of the business that have the most sig- nificant impact on company financial prosperity. My role in ELPA is an extension of my development within Eskom and I see my 28 years in Eskom as an apprenticeship to the real work ahead, to bring an industry together: not only to forge effective mechanisms to save lives and protect assets in South Africa, but also to grow our industry to ensure that lives are protected at every level of our society. South Africa has always initiated measures to address our problems, and, as such, we are ideally positioned to grow with African countries with far higher lightning exposure, and help them achieve the same goals – saving

Sparks Electrical News asked Richard Evert, national director of the Earthing and Lightning Protection Association (ELPA), for his take on challenges cur- rently facing the earthing and lightning industry. Can you tell us more about yourself and your role at ELPA? RE : I have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with world-renowned light- ning research scientists such as Ken Cummins, Vladimir Rakov, Gerhard Di- endorfer and our own Ian Jandrell, to name a few good, diligent and generous men. In 28 years with Eskom, I was blessed with the opportunity to imple- ment a power system lightning performance management strategy. Central to that strategy was a new lightning detection system, which is able to reliably, accurately and consistently report lightning at any part of the Eskom power system across South Africa. In 2004, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) agreed to implement the proposed system and started commissioning in late 2005. The Southern African Lightning Detection Network (SALDN), owned and operated by SAWS, is now the South African reference of lightning risk, replacing the CSIR Ground Flash Density (GFD) tables of the 1980s. The first full maps – 11 year keraunic cycle – showing national risk were officially released at the Earthing Africa 2017 symposium in Jo- hannesburg in June 2017 in a joint submission by myself and SAWS (Figures 1 and 2 on page 21). In the 12 years from 2006 to 2018, Eskom built up a programme using this lightning data to identify high risk areas, track lightning and associate specific lightning discharges that were causing outages and plant damage. A good asset manager in a power utility applies sound power utility practices to minimise any threats to production. The lightning threat is managed via ‘insulation coordination’ – a simple and effective practice of diverting lightning away from critical assets in the production and delivery process. It is impossible to move away from the two key parts: Earthing and Transport. As with all systems, implementation still requires the commit- ment of men and women to make it work. Over the past 10 years, my priority has been to empower the Eskom business through skills development, business revision of production losses, and unpacking performance to identify the key areas where maximum improvement can be realised within the constraints of existing resources and young apprentices with limited experience at all levels of the business. The key is not to optimise automation to bypass the need for intel- ligent discretion. The key is to deliver tools that allow the technician, engineer and asset manager to exercise his/her talents intelligently,

Made with FlippingBook HTML5