Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, and DONG Energy, one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe, has announced an agreement to cooperate on a technological and commercial partnership for a more sustainable energy supply of remote islands in Africa.
The ambition is to enable African electric network operators of remote or isolated island grids to increase the share of renewable used while maintaining grid stability and reliability for consumers.
Of the world’s 52 Small Island Developing States (SIDS), six are in Africa. They include; Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Mauritius, São Tomé and Príncipe and Seychelles.
These countries range in size from the smallest, Seychelles, which is composed of 115 small islands representing the largest number among African SIDS, to the largest, Guinea Bissau, which comprises close to 80 islands.
In Africa alone, at least 300 remote islands distanced from mainland grids exist. These isolated island grids are often heavily diesel-dependent, incurring high electricity costs and subject to fluctuating fuel prices.
This is a barrier for local economic development, for improving living standards and for reducing carbon emissions. Many island utility operators aim to replace diesel with renewable generation to reduce costs and reach renewable targets.
However the main challenge of integrating intermittent renewable energy is the ensuing complexity of balancing the grid and maintaining reliability and stability. In effect this can cap the amount of renewable energy which can be efficiently integrated.
With Dong Energy’s virtual power plant technology and Schneider Electric’s market-leader distribution grid field devices and management systems, the partners will address these crucial environmental issues. The aim is to create a new platform offering real-time generation and demand forecasting, monitoring and control.
Evert den Boer, Senior Vice President in DONG Energy, said:“DONG Energy has developed a virtual power plant system called Power Hub, which aggregates loads and generation capacity for network flexibility through a software platform.
“The system has already successfully demonstrated its capability and value in optimising, balancing and improving the stability of remote micro-grids at the Faroe Islands.
“Integrating Power Hub with Schneider Electric’s power and grid management software platform will enable us to deliver a unique solution that address an important challenge of how to run an isolated electricity system in a safe, economically optimal manner, while making maximum use of renewables. Not only in Europe, but also in Africa and globally.”
“Alongside DONG Energy, Schneider Electric will bring its market-leader expertise in grid field devices, network automation and grid management systems in a uniquely modular approach to virtual power plants in order to overcome the operational challenges of dynamically balancing supply and demand.” confirms
Frédéric Abbal, Executive Vice President of Schneider Electric’s Energy Division, said: “Our joint architecture includes Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS), Power Control System (PCS) and Renewable Control Center (RCC) applications offering real-time generation and demand forecasting, monitoring and control.
“Thanks to weather and load forecasting and fast load shedding capabilities, island utility operators will be able to operate sustainable, efficient and economically viable power systems and benefit local communities.”
Schneider Electric enjoys active collaborative partnerships with utilities to test and validate innovative solutions endeavoring to solve their operational, environmental and regulatory concerns.
Schneider Electric’s global footprint in more than 100 countries and unique position on both the demand and supply side of the grid will connect all energy players (generators, network operators and prosumers).