First mobile substation in Africa

Based on technical studies, African countries will have a 500% increase in energy consumed in the next 25 years, as a consequence of the intense economic expansion. Last year, the continent´s economic growth was in the range of 4% and it is still expected to increase, with the current projection for the end of 2014 being 5% growth. Furthermore, in 2016, it is estimated that around 500 million people are expected to be living in urban areas.

To ensure improved reliability and the continuous supply of energy, Eskom, the South African power Utility and company responsible for 45% of the electricity supplied into Africa, purchased three WEG Mobile Substations in July 2012 for their Mpumalanga Operating Unit (MOU) in South Africa form ZEST Energy, part of the ZEST WEG Group. All three mobile units are multi-ratio substations on both the primary and secondary sides of the substation, but each unit has a different power output capacity being 10MVA, 20MVA and 40MVA respectively. Although these units are being supplied to the MOU, they can be connected and used at any point on the South African National Electricity Grid with corresponding voltage levels. The three substation units are the first WEG mobile substations manufactured and supplied in Africa. The 10MVA unit is almost ready for delivery, with the 40MVA and 20MVA being completed for final delivery in October and November.

The operation and functionality is achieved by the parallel connection of the mobile substation's circuit breakers and disconnecting switches to the fixed substation and existing electrical network infrastructure. The electrical equipment installed on the mobile substation is the outdoor type, which eliminates the need for more expensive indoor type switchgear panels. This also permits clear visualization of switches and connections, providing the added benefit of improved operator safety.

Designed with state-of-the-art components, WEG Mobile Solutions are flexible, ensure dynamic and easy to execute operations and are easily installed wherever required. Typical applications for this type of substation solution include emergency situations, pre-scheduled maintenance activities and any application where continuous, non-stop power supply is required.

For the past eight years, over 300 WEG transformers in power outputs of up to 160 MVA have been supplied to Eskom. Some were used to provide stadium lighting during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. In addition to this, other equipment supplied by WEG are currently in operation to accomplish the goals of the “Electricity for Everyone” project, which promotes the replacement of kerosene lamps with light bulbs, taking electricity to millions of families.