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What’s Lucy Electric’s role and experience within the African power and utilities market?
Lucy Electric are experts in secondary distribution solutions, enabling the safe and efficient distribution of electricity to homes and businesses across Africa. Our experienced engineers work at the forefront of the design and implementation of automation projects, from concept to deployment, and we use our engineering excellence to design and manufacture best-in-class automated switchgear products and services.
We provide a complete range of switching and protection solutions for both underground and overhead line networks. Our range of medium voltage switchgear includes SF6 gas and oil insulated ring main units (transformer or ground mounted); pole or structure mounted air break disconnectors; and air or gas load break switches.
With over 100 years’ experience in the electrical industry we understand the challenges our customers face now and in the future. We work in partnership with them to provide tailored solutions which add value, making it easier for customers to manage their network distribution, reliably, economically and sustainably.
Can you please give us an overview of what Lucy Electric is planning to showcase at the upcoming edition of Power Nigeria?
Given the developments in the Nigerian power sector, we will have a range of products to demonstrate at the show to help utilities with enhanced network monitoring, automation and control.
Last year we launched our first 36kV ring main unit, the Aegis36, which meets the growing demand for a quality switchgear solution across this voltage supporting utilities in West Africa to connect more renewable energy to the grid.
We will also be presenting our industry-leading Gridkey LV/MV monitoring system and associated analytics which enables customers to identify actionable information from the data on their network. We have launched a new graphical user interface for Gridkey too, unlocking greater network potential and making network data more accessible and easier for operators to quickly interpret.
With Data becoming increasingly important to utility providers to better monitor and manage their networks, how is Lucy Electric addressing/supporting this in Africa, and specifically Nigeria?
The growth in renewable energy generation brings significant economic benefits to rural communities and the country as a whole, but it also brings challenges. Generation can be intermittent and load levels vary significantly. Effective management of variable flows of electricity alongside the decentralisation of networks requires more intelligent and active management of electricity networks.
As such we see digitalisation (or automation) of the networks as a transformer of how energy is managed. Large scale data collection on the network coupled with analysis provides network operators with the information and tools they need to manage increasingly complex transmission and distribution of electricity, as efficiently as possible.
The growth in renewable energy sources also creates great opportunities for more isolated and rural communities to access electricity through distributed generation and is a key facilitator of economic growth.
When you talk about ‘actionable information’ what do you mean and what is the benefit?
Improving power systems is about delivering for consumers, and this means investing in and managing safe, reliable and cost-efficient infrastructure that improves the lives of African communities. For utilities to do this they need to make sense of the vast sea of data they can gather about their network, analysing it in real time and making the decisions that keep the lights on, businesses working and the economy growing.
Previously, utilities had limited visibility of energy flows on their networks and faults had to be identified, switched and repaired physically. Through the roll out of advanced monitoring, automation and control systems like Lucy Electric’s Gemini 3 remote terminal unit and the Gridkey range – companies can reduce the time customers are without power from hours to minutes.
Equipping Africa’s developing power systems with this technology enables utilities to use the data to make swift decisions providing customers with safe and reliable supplies of renewable energy.
In terms of trends, what is Lucy Electric paying extra attention to within the African energy field and where do you see potential growth coming from?
In common with most African regions, network automation projects are the key focus for utilities in West Africa. As such, we are seeing a growing demand for automation solutions, which is a key area of expertise and business growth for Lucy Electric.
The company has a broad product range to support this developing market, from retrofit equipment to monitoring solutions to the latest SCADA systems. Our experienced engineers have an in-depth understanding of all aspects of automation and Smart Grid techniques advising and managing projects at the cutting edge of the design and deployment of network automation. We have implemented many major projects across Africa and globally with utilities and network distribution partners.
A key factor currently driving automation techniques is decarbonisation of the electricity supply to create a more sustainable long term supply. This is generating growth in renewable, low carbon energy sources such as photovoltaic (PV) and wind power generation.
Lucy Electric is supporting distribution companies in the decarbonisation of the energy supply by developing products which support renewable energy connections.