By: By: Sashnee Moodley
Global energy management specialist Schneider Electric is breaking ground in the Zambian electricity sector following its roadshow to the country’s capital, Lusaka, and the Copperbelt, in Kitwe, last month.
The company showcased the benefits of its medium-voltage (MV) products and solutions to the Zambian Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco), the Copperbelt Energy Corporation, miners, electrical contractors and local distributors.
Schneider Electric partner projects division exports director Sello Moima tells Mining Weekly that Zambia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is steadily increasing, making it a viable investment destination, as energy is an important aspect of the country’s GDP growth.
“It is important to ensure we support economic growth in the country. To grow the sector, energy management and efficiency are important. We will ensure that we provide the products and support for our key partner, Zesco. We are considering social investment in the rural areas and are going to work with Zesco to ensure that proper training is in place to upskill people. We have prioritised Zambia and will not work in export mode,” he says.
Moima notes that many Zambian copper mines are old, with outdated technology, and that Schneider Electric has the solutions with regard to new technologies.
Following the roadshow, Schneider Electric donated the bulk of its showcased equipment to Zesco for training purposes.
The roadshow focused on Schneider Electric’s Premset solu-tions and gas-insulated switchgear.
Schneider Electric South Africa energy division director Canninah Mapena says the Premset solutions are the future of MV distribution, as they embrace smart grid functionality and are changing the power industry’s view of the design installation and operation of MV distribution installations.
The Premset switchgear combines a Shielded Solid Insulation System (2SIS) in a compact and modular design. The 2SIS maintains optimal performance in any environment, therefore reducing the risk of internal arcing and improving the safety of people and assets.
The solution guarantees an increase in life expectancy of up to a 30%, owing to the absence of pressurised gases.
The highly modular and flexible design facilitates easy modifications, optimised deliv- ery times and reduced cost savings.
The Premset offers trouble-free installation and the solution’s smart-grid-ready architecture, with distributed intelligence, allows for easy integration and configuration, as well as enhanced efficiency through advanced monitoring and control.
“It’s the safest switchgear in its class. With an intuitive three-in-one design that has proven to be the most reliable and end-user friendly. Schneider Electric is a global player, enabling us to ensure high quality and local project and service capabilities. Premset’s end-of-life management is made easier, as the SF6-free design leads to far fewer labour and administrative considerations,” Mapena says.
During the roadshow, Schneider Electric also showcased its ring main units and air-insulated switchgear, auto reclosers and various relays to existing and prospective Zambian customers.
Schneider Electric key account manager Magendhren Reddy notes that many mining companies try to reduce costs and downtime while increasing profitability, personal safety, output and benefits, as well as optimising operational and capital expenditure.
He highlights that Schneider Electric engineers are available to perform energy audits on site and provide customers with details of their energy consumption and with solutions to lower their consumption.
“With this, we improve customers’ efficiencies and assist them in increasing their productivity, while ensuring that they can focus on their core business. Customers’ systems can be monitored continuously and reports can be created to highlight any shift in energy use. We have the systems and capabilities – if companies partner with Schneider Electric, we can supply solutions for their entire process,” he says.
Reddy adds that while the company is involved in the “projects side of business, it hoped to take on an engineering, procurement and construction role in the future”.