“Meeting today’s complex energy requirements requires a service provider to be highly aware of the impact of its technologies, solutions and services.“

Published: Thu 08 May 2014
A blog entry by Annemarie Roodbol

Contributed by:

Annemarie Roodbol
Senior Communications Manager
Spintelligent

Annemarie Roodbol's Blog

Exclusive interview with Jayesh Ranchod, Divisional Director at EOH: Energy Infrastructure and Services, Industrial Technologies Cluster and silver sponsor at African Utility Week.
    
1)    What solutions and services by EOH are you most excited about at the moment?
We at EOH Energy Infrastructure and Services strive to provide appropriate holistically integrated energy efficient solutions and technologies.

We combine state-of-the-art technology and best practice to create smart, safe, healthy, and secure environments for all of our valued clients across the public sector, private sector, utilities, manufacturing industries, and commercial sectors. Our approach is to consider all the various elements that make up the entire complex energy management system and can be broadly outlined to deliver practical intelligent infrastructure solutions across five domains as follows:
•    Utility analytics and information systems
•    Energy management and optimisation
•    Power conditioning solutions
•    Renewable energy solutions
•    Energy infrastructure

2)    Any success stories/specific projects in the energy sphere that you are/have been involved with that you can share with us?
Our many years of experience in engaging with both private and public sectors has enabled us to provide the levels of excellence expected for strategic, mission critical projects. We reuse proven methodologies, processes, and procedures that have been developed over the past fifteen years and then we refine them to address the specific needs of each respective client.

We strive to make the complex energy system an enabler of organisational productivity and efficiency. The combination of these key drivers creates an opportunity to design, implement, and manage a world-class, ISO 50001 compliant, Energy Management system/programme.  The client advantages, sustainability, additional benefits, and carbon footprint reduction opportunities of such an integrated, holistic approach are staggering.  

We are committed to a sustainable future, both in environmental and energy-saving standards, so we place particular emphasis on boosting organisational efficiency that can translate into the effective prevention of emissions, the conservation of energy resources and ultimately the considerable reduction of operating costs.

In context of the above, we currently provide various systems, solutions and services to our vast array of both public and private sector clients. To name a few;  we assist municipalities and utilities on the continent in keeping the “lights on” via our Utility Analytics and Load Research Services, Demand Response Services (Virtual Power Station-VPS), Smart Grid & Metering Data Management Services, Quality of Supply Information Services and Tariff & Regulatory Consulting Services and Electricity Trading & Power Pool Solutions.

Within the broader Private Sector, Manufacturing Industries, Commercial and Financial Services sectors, we provide practical intelligent plant infrastructure, plant control & automation, Back-up power systems, energy management & optimisation, power conditioning solutions and renewable energy solutions that are holistically integrated and ISO- 50001compliant.

Furthermore, we also address individual needs, for instance pure metering or benchmarking, setting a baseline or verifying energy savings through independent Measurement & Verification (M&V); or  address a comprehensive energy management need that involves managing an organisation’s total energy needs through project management, setting strategies and policies, monitoring and control, facilitating financing incentives, up-skilling resources (Energy Training)  and energy efficiency compliance certification amongst others.

3)    What do you think are the main challenges in the energy industry in South Africa/Africa?
Our world today is characterised by considerable changes. Mega trends in the form of urbanisation, future infrastructure development, connectivity and convergence, climate change, and renewable energy are some of the major challenges we face on the African continent that are driving the way we conduct business. All these developments result in an increased demand for solutions that meet the challenges of the ever-evolving and complex energy environment.

A reliable, economical, and environmentally compatible power supply is the key to sustainable development. We have headed into a new energy age, in which energy is becoming more important, more complex, and more demanding. It is an era that holds both tricky challenges and outstanding opportunities. Innovation, efficiency, and environmental responsibility will be the key drivers toward success in this new energy age.

Over the past few years, and especially as a result of the recent recession, a shortage of energy supply and increasing energy costs, organisations have become increasingly focussed on energy consumption and its impact on their bottom lines. More and more organisations recognise energy management efforts are essential to staying competitive from both a financial and a corporate image perspective.  However, while businesses are increasingly motivated to manage energy consumption and costs, they are also finding it more challenging as they attempt to link energy management to overall business strategy and drive changes throughout the corporate organization.

Energy management is no longer just the purview of plant operations or building management; it is increasingly viewed as a strategic business driver to the enterprise and energy management, energy efficiency and sustainability are fast becoming important items on the organisational corporate agendas together with skills shortage, industry specific expertise and appropriate allocation of financial resources.

The drive towards improving energy efficiency is due largely to increasing cost pressures. As energy costs continue to rise, organisations are increasingly looking towards saving energy costs, which mean reducing consumption and becoming more energy efficient. This cost saving exercise is augmented by increasing social and environmental awareness, as well as by legal requirements.

These currently include the need for all Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)-listed companies to include sustainability and carbon emission reductions as part of corporate reporting. However, there are several other laws in the pipeline around energy consumption and carbon emissions, and organisations need to gear themselves towards meeting these criteria as well. Lastly, regulatory, legal and compliance issues must be speedily resolved by all stakeholders to provide a stimulating and liberal environment to enable energy infrastructure development at both the Utility and end-user levels; e.g. distributed generation, renewables (roof-top PV) and net-metering.

4)    Where do you see the business opportunities in this sector?
From a broader infrastructure and growth perspective, the development of a stable and efficient energy infrastructure is critical. This is applicable to both the development of new growth required infrastructure as well as getting the maintenance back-log rectified on existing systems.  

Furthermore, in support of the supply-demand dilemma,  there are many interventions that can be done to reduce energy consumption, however addressing these issues in isolation means that organisations fail to achieve the important ‘big picture’ view of their overall energy usage. Improving energy efficiency is a journey, and it pays to remember each of the steps taken should work towards the ultimate goal – holistic, integrated and all-encompassing energy management solutions.

At EOH we strive to make the complex energy system more efficient, more productive, and more energy-saving along the energy conversion chain thus enabling organisational productivity and efficiency. Efficiency is the key to excellent availability, the utmost reliability, and, of course, environmental responsibility & sustainability. The straightforward way to save resources and energy is to ensure that the least possible amount gets wasted in the processes whilst still using more efficient technologies.  Our real value-add is to boost efficiency that can translate into the effective prevention of emissions, the conservation of energy resources and ultimately the considerable reduction of operating costs within organisations.

Energy management is continuingly gaining momentum. As such, developing and executing effective energy management strategies and programs may, in the long run, be as much about staying in business as it is about having a competitive advantage. Experience has already demonstrated that success in this area is not easy. Stepping back, surveying the landscape both internally and externally, and gauging relative position may be the most important next step to a company’s future success in the energy management arena.
Energy efficiency is the world’s most preferred intervention designed to reduce carbon emissions coming out of the burning of fossil fuels. The current and future electricity supply shortages further requires an intensified and consolidated implementation of energy efficiency and Demand side management programmes.

Lastly, meeting today’s complex energy requirements requires a service provider to be highly aware of the impact of its technologies, solutions, and services. This not only extends to the environment but also to the communities in which it operates. Vigilance about the use of energy is a vital component in any organisation’s success. Technology should also not be seen as the saviour to all issues, but rather we need to ensure that the fundamentals are all in place and then use technology as an enabler to further enhance organisational productivity and efficiencies. A case in point is the use of renewable energy like Solar PV without ensuring operating in-efficiencies like, lighting & HVAC are optimised prior to the installation of a PV solution. The big picture view is thus of paramount importance.

5)    What is your vision for this sector?
To provide technology, knowledge, skills and organisational ability, critical to Africa’s development and growth.  A sustainable and efficient method to energy security with a broader access of energy to all citizens on the continent via a more liberal energy market system. To be an ethical, relevant force for good business partnership and to play a positive role in our society, beyond normal business.

We can be certain that sustainable economic success and sustainable environmental practices have converged. For strong competitive advantage in the future, organisations need proper management of all environmental risks and the continuous improvement of environmental performance. EOH is committed to a sustainable future, both in environmental and energy-saving standards thus providing comprehensive ways to be more energy-efficient and to help make the reduction of environmental impacts.

We understand that maximizing efficiencies along the entire energy conversion chain has an enormous potential for improved environmental care and also offers competitive advantages. We have thus developed an Integrated Energy Management Solution that provides for improve efficiency, availability, reliability and use of alternative renewable energy sources.

We are capable of bundling our multi-disciplinary expertise and vast experience in the field of energy, making unique synergies resulting in solutions and services, which not only meet the specific demands of the various players in the energy environment but also help them stay a step ahead. Putting the energy infrastructure in place is one thing. Maintaining it at optimum efficiency and achieving maximum performance over the entire life cycle of the assets is another thing entirely.

6)    Why did you decide to partner with African Utility Week?
We believe that this event is one of the major energy events providing valuable opportunity to all stakeholders and industry experts to interact and engage on the relevant challenges and finding suitable solutions. This also provides us with the platform to showcase our innovation and expertise in this industry and network with potential and existing clients whilst keeping abreast with the latest trends.

7)    What will be your message to the AUW visitor?
EOH has the relevant knowledge, skills and industry experience to provide systems, solutions and technology to address the energy challenges encountered on the continent.   We strongly believe in meaningful long term partnerships with our clients as we are not only seen as the largest ICT services provider, but also have the relevant credentials in the broader Energy Management, Energy Efficiency and Energy Infrastructure market place. With our extensive local footprint and presence in 14 countries on the African continent, we are able to ensure successful delivery & execution of all our projects.

8)      Anything you would like to add?
Please visit our website via this link to learn more about our portfolio offerings and relevant contact details. http://www.eoh.co.za/services-solutions/technology/energy-infrastructure-and-services#. We would encourage and welcome a one-on-one meeting to understand your specific requirements and offer our industry specific expertise, systems, solutions and technologies, whilst maintaining our best attention at all times.