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Eaton unveils first microgrid site in Wadeville

Global power management company, Eaton, today, 15 March 2018 unveiled a new microgrid at its Wadeville site situated in South Africa.

The microgrid includes the first deployment of Eaton’s energy storage system, xStorage, in Africa and is geared towards enabling the site to become self-sufficient from an energy consumption perspective, thereby relieving pressure on the national electricity grid and infrastructure in the area.

“Today’s opening of the Wadeville microgrid system is an important step for Eaton in South Africa. This installation is a demonstration of our commitment to develop sustainable access to energy in the region,” said Seydou Kane, Eaton Africa Managing Director. 

“This microgrid system will enable a more intelligent and cost-effective operation of our facility and serves as a concrete case for the application of this technology in both commercial and industrial use.”

The first of its kind microgrid in Wadeville uses second life electric vehicle batteries to increase resilience, provide higher levels of energy independence, support grid stability and reduce energy costs by up to 40%. A similar sized microgrid could provide energy for 230 community homes.

In Africa, where millions are still without modern energy services, microgrid technology is increasingly being considered as a solution to address energy poverty.

Ageing infrastructure and grid reliability continue to be issues across the region and improving grid reliability will improve business continuity, minimize business losses and improve economic growth.

According to the World Bank Group Enterprise Surveys, African manufacturing enterprises experience power outages an average of 56 days per year, each lasting 5.7 hours on average.

These outages result in firms losing an average of 6% of sales revenues, but losses can be as high as 20% where back-up generation is limited.

As a result, universities, hospitals, corporations and local communities are now considering microgrids as a way to increase power reliability and availability to meet their critical demand.

Eaton’s expertise in power systems engineering, circuit protection and engineering services has enabled the creation of microgrid technologies to improve power system resiliency.

Customers can increase energy resiliency and sustainability while reducing energy-related costs and minimizing losses resulting from downtime due to power outages. 

“We believe we should not only have a role to help deliver access to reliable, sustainable energy, but that we should be demonstrating the benefits that our technology brings by using it ourselves,” said Kane.

The Wadeville facility produces power management solutions for the industrial and commercial sectors. 

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