Launched in 2017, Lucy Electric’s Aegis36 provided assurance to meet the growing demand for a quality switchgear solution across 36kV networks and to support an increasing number of renewable power connections. As the market continues to develop, what should customers be on the lookout for?

This article first appeared in ESI Africa Edition 2, 2019. You can read the magazine's articles here or subscribe here to receive a print copy.

Since the launch of the first 36kV ring main unit (RMU), the Aegis36, the company has added a number of new features, which will be showcased in Cape Town at the 2019 edition of African Utility Week. Both indoor and outdoor versions of the unit are now available in non-extensible and extensible formats, giving customers greater flexibility. “We have also developed a range of metering units to enable customers to measure power output and an outdoor cable in/out circuit breaker unit specifically designed for wind farm applications, where the 36kV units are in high demand,” states Phil Dingle, the marketing director at Lucy Electric.

Stressing the importance of network automation

With the advent of the Energy Revolution, which has seen exponential growth in renewable energy and distributed energy on the grid, network automation is propelled to the fore as a tool to effectively manage this transition. Across Africa energy companies are investing in automation to manage shifting requirements and improve the efficiency and reliability of their networks.

The decentralisation of networks through the increasing use of renewable and distributed energy sources has meant that companies need a much better understanding and visibility of electricity flows across the network. According to Dingle, the data provided by automation is vital in providing companies with the information they need to actively monitor and control increasingly complex networks.

Network automation also plays a key part in improving network efficiency, along with availability and reliability of power supply. Increasingly, network operators are automating their installed base to improve the network performance and reduce their operation and maintenance overheads.

How suitable is your RMU for renewable energy projects?

Knowing that this question would be top of mind, the Aegis36 was designed with renewable energy in mind, making it ideally suited to renewable connections by providing a highly reliable and cost-effective option with all the operational features companies are looking for when installing renewables assets.

Extremely compact and suitable for outdoor installation without a kiosk, the unit includes options for both local and remote control. Featuring a range of safety features, including internal arc rating, and having a dedicated cable test facility, the Aegis36 gives customers peace of mind and years of maintenance-free operation.

Keep this top of mind in terms of network resilience

It is important for utilities to ensure that their networks remain resilient and relevant, and so Dingle advises: “The increasing use of network automation is creating more reliable and stable networks and the implementation of these overlays is now becoming more widespread.”

The level of network data that operators can get from their assets today will be invaluable in planning for the demand of future customers, and the implications that this demand growth will have on assets.

“Ensuring that data collection from networks is aligned with future strategy, as well as current network management needs, will allow companies to prepare for the next decade of network management,” concludes Dingle. ESI

About the company

Lucy Electric is a leader in secondary power distribution solutions with over 100 years’ industry experience. Specialising in high-performance medium voltage switchgear for utility, industrial and commercial applications, the company enables the safe and reliable distribution of energy to homes and businesses worldwide.

www.lucyelectric.com | @Lucyelectric

This article first appeared in ESI Africa Edition 2, 2019. You can read the magazine's articles here or subscribe here to receive a print copy.