Embracing digital transformation in the power and energy sector is a key step in national and regional plans to improve energy efficiency throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
As economies throughout the region power up and organisations focus on how they can resume their operations, research by Schneider Electric underlines the importance of digital transformation in achieving energy efficiency, cost savings and sustainability.
The findings of the Global Digital Transformation Benefits Report were validated by the company’s customers in the Middle East and Africa throughout this year following its initial release in 2019.
The results underline that there are four universal results of any successful digital transformation: remote capabilities, resiliency, efficiency and sustainability, and that these four elements provide digitally focused companies with a base for growth, even during times of crisis.
Speaking ahead of the company’s yearly Innovation Summit Middle East and Africa, which will be held on October 28, South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) energy efficiency GM Barry Bredenkamp said “energy efficiency is a key enabler of economic growth, and will create jobs, get the economy moving faster, and reduce costs”.
He said that, in the long term, it would help create a greener, more sustainable climate, and that digital technologies have the potential to optimise energy use for many activities, from constructing an industrial product, to cooling a home.
This represents an increase in energy efficiency. Increasing end-use efficiency continues to be a critical ingredient in energy transitions in South Africa and globally, with benefits in both developed and emerging economies, he said.
Building on research released last year from a repository of 230 customer projects that Schneider Electric completed in the last five years across 41 countries, the company interviewed customers across the Middle East and Africa on the potential for digital transformation to improve organisational performance.
The research culminates in four key factors to ensure business continuity during unprecedented times: energy efficiency, sustainability, remote everything and resilience.
“The pandemic is transforming every business and this year is a reminder of why agility, efficiency and resiliency matter so much,” said Schneider Electric Anglophone Africa energy business VP Taru Madangombe, who added that “organisations are looking to save costs while working towards becoming more responsive to customer needs”.
Madangombe explained that the one solution the company had found to both, was digitisation, which implied that “those organisations who have been digital pioneers have had a substantial edge over the competition”.
Further, the Covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated digital and every organisation that has invested in this transformation is now benefiting from increased resiliency, efficiency and sustainability while also being able to operate remotely.
“Energy efficiency has always been critical for industry. And this has never been truer than during the pandemic. Organisations are always looking to reduce costs, speed up response times and improve efficiencies.”
As an example, South Africa’s RCL Foods implemented a modern and reliable automated control system with remote access capabilities. The result has been greater visibility into the plant’s operations, reduced downtime and a 20% increase in throughput.
Schneider Electric will be showcasing more examples of how organisations can improve their energy efficiency through successful digital transformation at the summit, which will take place online.