Electrical switching & drive systems & components


How to stablilise South Africa’s power supply

Third Quarter 2019 Electrical switching & drive systems & components

South Africa could go a long way to cutting the risk of future load-shedding by adopting a minimum efficiency performance standard (MEPS) for electric motors. According to Fanie Steyn, manager of rotating machines at Zest WEG Group, a MEPS would significantly reduce the peak power demand on the national grid. Tthe step could be made at no cost to government and would also bring substantial savings to industry’s electrical energy costs.

“The MEPS would phase out the least-efficient electric motor classes by setting a minimum standard for the efficiency of motors imported and sold in South Africa,” he says. “The essential challenge now is that about 280 000 electric motors are imported each year, many of which are low efficiency motors rated at IE1 level as standard.”

Steyn highlights the great strides recently achieved in the efficiency of electric motors. Energy savings of between 2,1% and 12,4%, depending on the individual power rating, can be made by converting from a standard efficiency IE1 motor to a premium efficiency IE3 motor. The capital cost differential is slight and is quickly recouped by lower operating costs.

“It is estimated that as much as 30% of all energy produced globally is consumed by electric motors,” he says. “If the 150 000 low voltage motors entering the country each year were IE3 rated instead of IE1, the national grid could be relieved of about 195 million kWh in a single year,” says Steyn. “This means almost three billion kWh over the next five years.”

For more information contact Zest WEG Group Africa, +27 11 723 6000, info@zestweg.com, www.zestweg.com



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