D2 Africa Task Force Article
In 2017, Cigre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with World Bank with one of the key objectives being the dissemination of CIGRE’s state-of-the-art power system know-how in Africa. In response to this initiative, the study committee D2 formed a task force with the following objectives which are aligned with the MOU:
- Systematic effort to improve dissemination of information and resources for Africa in cooperation between CIGRE and the World Bank (WB).
- Focusing on assisting African countries to develop internal expertise by providing access to unbiased, up to-date technical experience in several innovative ways.
- Conduct a survey to assess the readiness of African utilities ICT Infrastructure to implement microgrids and rural electrification.
- Understand each African country’s legislation, regulatory requirements and Code of Practice (CoD) and standards adhered to by Electric Power Industries (EPIS).
- Include universities and centres of excellence as target partners for know-how transfer.
As part of realising the above objectives, the D2 Task Force launched its first tutorial in November 2018 which was held at the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) Council Chambers. This was followed by a tutorial in Rwanda 3rd Africa Smart Grid Conference, Kigali in 2018, 9TH CIGRE Southern Africa Regional Conference & B4 International Colloquium in October 2019, and then the tutorial at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) South Africa on 31 October 2019.
D2 Africa Task Force targets African Electric power Industries (EPIs) and universities. Our plan identifies universities as part of the institutions which can enable the task force’s objectives. Their participation will help in aligning the research studies with the real issues we face as Electric Power industry.
Another key objective of the UKZN session was to introduce new Cigre members and those who are not members to Cigre. eThekwini Municipality has a number of Engineers who are new to Cigre and as a result the Southern Africa Cigre National Committee Chairman Prince Moyo found it fitting that this tutorial be held in UKZN.
The attendance for the tutorial surpassed our expectations, at the venue we had about 120 attendees and also we had attendees connected to the Webinar. The support of the locals namely Eskom, eThekwini Electricity, UKZN staff, post graduate students, the National Cigre Chairperson of Southern Africa Prince Moyo and the President of Cigre Dr Rob Stephen were the highlights of the day. The attendance and content presented was world class.
The topics for the tutorial were selected in accordance to the current state of ICT in utilities around the world and Africa. These topics looked at technology trends and how these technologies can benefit Africa Electric Power Industries. Africa utilities are required to be customer centric while working with constrained budgets resulting in current infrastructure still dominated by legacy systems. The technologies presented looked at providing cost effective solutions while also improving customer satisfaction. Other presentations focused on grid resiliency and mitigating cyber threats. Some African Utilities were impacted by Cyber-attacks recently, it is therefore important to consider cyber-security from project inception. Finally, some presentations focused on teaching utilities about Artificial intelligence (AI) and evolution of transport technologies and also provided realistic timelines in relation to migrating from legacy to new transport technologies. With most African Utilities still using legacy ICT systems, this session was extremely valuable to Africa.
As the Africa D2 Task force, we would like to thank the speakers Clint Struth, Gérard Philippe Mbouyap, Giovanna Dondossola, Kgomotso Setlhapelo, Marcelo Araújo and Nduduzo Biyela. We would like to thank eThekwini Municipality, Eskom, the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) for assisting in marketing the event. We thank the organisers, everyone that assisted and the attendees. This tutorial marks the second event where through leveraging communication technologies, the task force managed to put the world under one roof. Despite having international speakers from Canada, Italia and Brasilia, all the presentations went smooth and were well received by the audiences at the venue and also connected on the Webinar. As one of the outputs in our key objectives, we will be issuing a survey to help us even understand better the current state of EPI ICT across Africa. Utilities are encouraged to participate; this will help us serve Africa even better.
Tutorial presentations, recorded webinar and other information shared during the event are downloadable on the links below:
Tutorial Presentations and D2 published documents
or (whichever link downloads faster for you)
Cigre E2E video
Pictures for the event
Article by Zwelandile Mbebe, South African representative for CIGRE D2 (Information Systems and Telecommunications) Study Committee.