Hitachi ABB Power Grids helps power South Africa to a greener energy future

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. This quick, easy-to-deploy, relatively low-cost generation infrastructure is now making an appearance in many countries,” comments Stuart Michie, Lead Sales and Marketing Manager for Southern Africa, Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

Renewables are steering South Africa towards a cleaner energy future that is not coal-based

A prime example is Angola, where Hitachi ABB Power Grids has joined forces with Sun Africa LLC and M. Couto Alves S.A., part of the EPC conglomerate, 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. This is 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 but tend to become stressed under load-shedding conditions, 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 (APM), Lumada Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Lumada Field Service Management (FSM). These solutions leverage the technological synergies between the two Hitachi businesses and deliver a robust portfolio of capabilities, including DataOps and Industrial IoT solutions. This expanded portfolio provides customers with an extremely powerful combination of tools to digitalize 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.

About Hitachi ABB Power Grids Ltd. Hitachi ABB Power Grids is a global technology leader with a combined heritage of almost 250 years, employing around 36 000 people in 90 countries. Headquartered in Switzerland, the business serves utility, industry and infrastructure customers across the value chain, and emerging areas like sustainable mobility, smart cities, energy storage and data centres. With a proven track record, global footprint and unparalleled installed base, Hitachi ABB Power Grids balances social, environmental and economic values. It is committed to powering good for a sustainable energy future, with pioneering and digital technologies, as the partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.

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