The cleanest energy is that which we’re not wasting or not using, says Schneider Electric at Enlit 2024.

Vladimir Milovanovic, vice-president, power systems, Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric.

Vladimir Milovanovic, vice-president, power systems, Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric. Supplied by Schneider Electric

As South Africa continues to face a shortage of energy production, there is one persistent element of the energy mix to be considered: energy waste. Addressing delegates at this year’s Enlit 2024 event, held at the CTICC in Cape Town, Vladimir Milovanovic, vice-president, power systems, Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric notes the cleanest energy is that which we are not wasting, or ideally not using, due to increased efficiency of our grid management systems.

In his talk on Grids of the Future, Milovanovic points out that if the country continues to waste energy, through both technical and non-technical losses, it will negate the strides made in reaching both its sustainability and energy availability goals. “Energy efficiency – therefore, using less, spending less and emitting less – needs to be key points of focus,” he notes.

“To ensure that we face these disruptions effectively, we must address aging infrastructure and upskill and support the workforce maintaining it. This is particularly important if one considers that most of the country’s population is not privileged enough to install alternative energy resources such as rooftop solar panels and will continue to rely on the grid.”

“Enabling our distribution system operators (DSOs) like municipalities to minimise technical losses, whilst enabling them to identify and reduce non-technical losses, will go a long way ensuring that they are able to continue to deliver services to the customers, while ensuring their revenue streams remain healthy and intact,” says Milovanovic.

Speaking on the rise of the country’s ‘prosumer’ market, he notes that with the passing of the Electricity Regulation Amendment (ERA) Bill, DSOs will have to effectively accommodate prosumers who are both supplying and consuming energy.

“The passing of the bill is a significant development for South Africa.  Already, load shedding has compelled South Africans to become prosumers much sooner than expected. It is important that DSOs take this into account and enable consumers, with surplus energy, to sell it back the network.

“Furthermore, DSOs must have the capability to efficiently integrate this surplus energy which forms part of distributed energy resources (DERs). Similarly, to consumers this means DSOs must implement equipment such as smart meters, connected devices, and remote terminal units (RTUs) in substations. This infrastructure, together with smart grid digital management systems, will provide DSOs with the flexibility to integrate the DERs and service their customers,” he explains.

“We must remember that despite the rise of prosumers, the country still depends on DSOs and their distribution infrastructure. DSOs need to remain in a position to maintain and expand their infrastructure to cater to a changing energy landscape” says Milovanovic.

Source: Schneider Electric