This year’s 16th annual African Utility week marked a key point in Lucy Electrics development in the African sector. This event “is the only global meeting place, conference and trade exhibition for African power and water utility professionals and offers a unique networking opportunity for engineers, stakeholders and solution providers alike.” (http://www.african-utility-week.com/aboutus)
Phil Dingle, Lucy Electric’s Marketing Director, has shared his views on the trends in this year’s African Utility Week in terms of solutions and technologies. He mentions “It was clear at the show that solar is becoming ever more important and there is a recognition among many organisations that it can play a major part in addressing the shortfall in access to electricity at grass roots level. Smaller, local PV schemes allow communities rapid access to the electricity (installation can take less than a year in contrast with major infrastructure development which may take up to eight years) and we anticipate major growth in these and tighter low carbon installations across rural Africa in the future. “
This year’s African Utility week provided a key opportunity to engage with customers and visitors both on the stand and via the conference talks. Tim Spearing, Product Marketing Manager for Automation, provided information about today’s African market and how Lucy Electric is planning its future solutions for this region. Tim mentions “It has become evident that PV (photovoltaic) is becoming much more popular within this region. Whilst providing many benefits it also provides challenges especially on the LV network, the use of PV can often cause reverse power flows into the grid network, raising voltages and creating problems with equipment ratings and causing expensive mechanical damage. Lucy Electric’s close collaboration with GridKey has enabled us to look at these issues within the UK and create specialised solutions. Nevertheless, whilst we have the information and knowledge on how to solve these issues, implementing them within the African market is still an on-going process. The information, when used effectively, can improve network utilisation and control the connection of PV. Lucy Electric’s intentions for the future will integrate these solutions into the SCADA and DMS systems in a way that it can then be utilised effectively in the African market.”
The event also showed significant interest in Lucy Electric’s mini-substation, this product provides companies with a cost effective, one-stop solutions and is pre-assembled for quick instillation – meeting many of our customer’s challenges. GridKey, the world leading, low voltage (LV) continuous monitoring system also generated a lot of interest. The information provided by the system helps utilities to plan how best to maximise their assets, to diagnose and solve problems more quickly, and reduces capital and operational costs – all challenges high on the agenda for utilities everywhere.
Overall the event provided a great opportunity for Lucy Electric to showcase their electrical power distribution solutions and future plans for this region, enabling them to engage with customers and discuss key challenges that this area faces.