Power management company Eaton has acquired a controlling interest in Ulusoy Elektrik, a manufacturer of medium-voltage electrical equipment based in Ankara, Turkey. The acquisition will help Eaton develop innovative power solutions for the African market.
“The acquisition of Ulusoy Elektrik complements Eaton’s International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard portfolio and strengthens our ability to provide tailored medium-voltage solutions,” said Eaton Electric Africa MD Seydou Kane.
“It also provides us with improved access to the medium-voltage market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and adds a competitive, high-capability manufacturing base to our existing footprint.”
The Ulusoy manufacturing facility, which was established in 1985, employs 780 people. Eaton acquired Ulusoy Electric at a cost of $214-million on a cash and debt-free basis.
Eaton Power Division business development manager Marcel Buckner said the move was an exciting one which would enable Eaton to extend its range in Africa.
The Ulusoy Elektrik portfolio includes gas-insulated medium-voltage switchgear at higher voltage levels (at 36 kV) than Eaton currently offers in IEC markets, as well as transformer and cable accessories that are not currently part of Eaton’s portfolio.
“We see demand growing extensively as more people get access to electricity in Africa. We also have more solutions to offer our customers. We have the switchgear, the transformers and a growing portfolio to help in the overall goal to bring more electricity to people and companies in Africa,” Buckner said at a media briefing during the African Utility Week and PowerGEN conference and expo, in Cape Town, on Thursday.
The World Bank estimates that seven out of ten people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity.
Ulusoy Elektrik has made inroads into North Africa, but Buckner sees opportunities to grow the market in West and East Africa in particular.
“Our industrial customers, mines and large-scale manufacturers in Africa will also benefit from Eaton’s wider product range, which will increase flexibility in power management solutions,” said Buckner.
The future of microgrids – standalone power generation, distribution and storage systems that can be operated independently or connected to the primary utility grid – has been one of the key talking points at the three-day African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa event. Eaton Microgrid Energy Systems senior application leader Bunty Kiremire said microgrids held many benefits, including lower energy costs, increased resilience and the ability to maximise the use of renewables.
“With the advent of energy storage, microgrids are changing the game significantly,” said Kiremire.
He said the Eaton microgrid installation in Wadeville, in Gauteng, has significantly reduced operating costs and improved the reliability of power at the manufacturing plant. The Wadeville facility, which has a peak load of 400 kW, employs over 300 employees and serves as a manufacturing hub for Eaton is sub-Saharan Africa.
The facility has helped to mitigate the effects of the utility outages and high energy charges through a microgrid solution which has increased the integration of solar photovoltaic (PV). It has leveraged a 275 kW/200 kWh lithium-ion energy storage system, 200 kW solar PV installation and 400 kVA diesel generation.
The Wadeville facility has reported an overall energy cost savings of 30% on average, including a 56% reduction in peak charges.