Power management company Eaton South Africa won the Best Paper Award for its ‘Microgrids for Commercial and Industrial’ paper at the Power-Gen and DistribuTech Africa Conference, held in Johannesburg.

An example case study of a microgrid installed on Eaton’s premises in Wadeville, Germiston was presented by Bunty Kiremire, Senior Application Leader for Microgrid Energy Systems at Eaton, on behalf of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

WBCSD is a global, CEO led organisation of 200 forward-thinking businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world, and Eaton, as a member, has been active in the working groups on expanding sustainability.

The presentation highlighted the increasing value for commercial and industrial companies to implement low-carbon microgrids which deliver power reliability, lower energy costs and lower emissions.

Eaton’s own microgrid was installed at its Wadeville low and medium voltage assembly manufacturing plant in March 2018.

The installation of the microgrid has significantly reduced the company’s energy bill and levelized the cost of energy, through successfully evading ballooning peak tariffs through the combined use of renewable energy and lithium-ion energy storage for peak shaving and energy arbitrage. The microgrid also demonstrates Eaton’s commitment for sustainable energy.

“Africa’s pressing need for electrification and improvement of power reliability makes microgrids and dispatchable embedded generation an important part of to the continent’s future growth,” says Kiremire. “The rapid drop in the cost of renewables and storage technology will enable a rapid expansion of distributed and lower-cost power generation.”