Sustainable energy plan for remote African islands
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).
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.