Smart Grids is one of the flag ship programmes within SANEDI, aligned with the strategic objectives of the Department of Energy (Electricity Chief Directorate) and is dedicated to carrying out Applied Research Projects to test and deploy various smart grids concepts within the South African Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI). The Programme within its capacity facilitates the implementation of nine pilot projects, which are intended to improve the sustainability outlook of operating a utility.
The Smart Grid Programme addresses the Government’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) objectives of Energy Transformation and Service Delivery. With regards to Energy Transformation, technology innovation is used as an enabler for change. The introduction of Smart Grid technology is a key enabler for South Africa to achieve its energy mix. Without smart grids large scale integration is impossible. This allows South Africa to meet its climate change objectives at municipal level. With regards, to Service Delivery, Smart Grid Technology is enabling the use of integrated systems and processes in the municipal environment thus enabling efficiencies and effectiveness not seen before in the municipal environment.
A smart grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users connected to it- generators, consumers and those that do both- order to efficiently deliver sustainable, economic and secure supplies” European Technology Platform Smart Grid (ETPSG).
Based on ETPSG definition, Smart Grid employs innovative products and services together with intelligent monitoring, control, communication, and self-healing technologies to:
The shift towards implementing a smart grid strategy in South Africa is intended to fast track the development of establishing an adequate electricity supply system or network for two basic reasons:
Accelerating the implementation of energy research and development, improving energy efficiency and increasing the uptake of renewable energy to the benefit of South Africa.
An economically evolved technology-enabled electricity system that is intelligent, interactive, flexible and efficient. This system will enable South Africa’s energy use to be sustainable for future generations.
Active Network Management Project (1 Municipality)
There is a growing change in customer behaviour relative to the energy challenges faced by South Africa. Embedded generation is real and would inevitably take place within the boundaries of municipalities, there will be implications to the stability of the grid and an impact on the already depleting revenue of municipalities. The Active Network Management is the demonstration of the systems and processes needed to effectively manage the integration of IPP’s onto the distribution grid and the bi-directional metering and billing of such services. The objective of this project is to document the systems and process required by utilities to manage small scale embedded generators within their grid.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure in Residential and Commercial Customer Base Project (1 Municipality)
The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in Residential and Commercial Customer Base Project focuses on piloting the systems and processes to:
Advanced Asset Management Project (2 Municipalities)
The Advanced Asset Management (AAM) project originates from the DoE- Electricity Chief Directorate, which is intended to address the maintenance and refurbishment backlogs within the distribution grid of municipalities. The Smart Grids concept addresses maintenance and refurbishment in a very advanced way. The Advanced Asset Management (AAM) project complements the national efforts to address the maintenance and refurbishment backlogs within the distribution grid in South Africa. This challenges must be addressed in a smarter and more economical way than the business as usual approach.
Revenue Enhancement Project (5 Municipalities)
With the growing debt owed to Eskom by municipalities, the Programme places a strong emphasis on the revenue enhancement by using technology as an enabler for change. The present crisis Eskom finds itself in a combination of various issues but significant is the outstanding debts owed by municipalities and their inability to address the root cause and remain sustainable.
University of Pretoria Collaboration
The University of Pretoria in collaboration with SANEDI Smart Grids Team is taking the lead on the review of South Africa’s metering code into a more advanced smart metering code. The purpose of this collaboration is to make an investment into advancing critical skills in South Africa and provide funding for students within the Engineering Field. The essence of this research project is to advance the realisation of objectives that were underlined in the South African Smart Grid Vision document, to identify the gaps in the industry, new standard requirements, and system modification and to establish new standards for the accuracy and reliability of metering data at the distribution level of electricity
The Department of Energy identified four areas within the Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI) that require policy and regulatory input.
South African Smart Grids Initiative (SASGI) is a stakeholder participation driven initiative
South Africa and the EU consider each other as strategic partners.
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