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Journal of Energy in Southern Africa

versión On-line ISSN 2413-3051
versión impresa ISSN 1021-447X


MASEMBE, Angela. Reliability benefit of smart grid technologies: A case for South Africa. J. energy South. Afr. [online]. 2015, vol.26, n.3, pp.2-9. ISSN 2413-3051.

The South African power industry faces many challenges, from poor performing networks, a shortage of generation capacity to significant infrastructure backlog and an ageing work force. According to the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), the key challenge facing the industry is ageing infrastructure. Smart grid technologies are a class of technologies that are being developed and used by utilities to deliver electrical systems into the 21st century using computer-based remote control and automation. The main motive towards smart grid technologies is to improve reliability, flexibility, accessibility and profitability; as well as to support trends towards a more sustainable energy supply. This study identifies a number of smart grid technologies and examines the impact they may have on the distribution reliability of a test system. The components on the selected test system are the same as those found on a South African feeder. The bulk of the load in test system was modelled using load data collected in South Africa. This study will consider a number of different cases, with the base case incorporating the impact of aged infrastructure on the reliability of the system. The smart grid technologies were then introduced into the system and their impact on distribution reliability was determined. These different cases were also compared to the alternative of replacing the aged and worn out infrastructure with new infrastructure. The findings of this study indicate that the identified smart grid technologies improve the reliability of the system, mainly by decreasing the outage duration experienced by customers on the network. An even better performance was achieved when the ageing infrastructure was replaced with new infrastructure.

Palabras clave : distribution reliability; smart grid; feeder automation.

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