Tuesday 22 October 2019
ICT infrastructure to support an effective ICT ecosystem for utilities of the future
As the world moves into the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), the electricity supply industry, involving the generation, transmission, distribution, application and sustainable use of power and energy, is facing momentous technology disruption, driven also by the need to transition to a cleaner, lower carbon future.
In the new world, the old approach of centralised generation with long high-voltage transmission lines to reach consumers at the end, changes to become a meshed network of large, medium and literally thousands of relatively small, distributed generators embedded “behind the meter” on customers’ premises.
The old paradigm of dispatching baseload, mid-merit and peaking generation capacity to meet electricity demand, is being turned on its head. The distinction between producers and consumers of electricity is also set to become blurred, as customers shift from being consumers to becoming both producers and consumers of electricity, or “prosumers”.
Utilities of the future will have to place customers and customer choice at the very centre of their new business processes, as they change from being traditional generation, transmission and distribution asset-based businesses, to “platforms” that connect buyers and sellers of electricity.
At the very heart of this revolution is the need for effective ICT bandwidth, spectrum and infrastructure, together with a sound ICT policy, legal, regulatory and planning framework in South Africa, to facilitate universal affordable broadband access, e-business and Industry 4.0 for inclusive economic growth.
This seminar explores the need, role and value of effective ICT infrastructure that can facilitate and support this revolutionary change in the business of electricity supply, incorporating the so-called “smart grid” and associated “prosumer” services in South Africa.