A Smart Grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users connected to it – generators, consumers and those that do both – in order to efficiently deliver sustainable, economic and secure electricity supplies
(Definition from the European Technology Platform Smart Grid).
The African Smart Grid Education Network is an initiative aimed at developing harmonised curricula in the field of Smart Grid Technology, and to facilitate technology transfer through both intra-Africa and international partnerships.
The initiative was born out of a project funded under the European Union’s Erasmus + Programme for Capacity Building. The project - Development of a HArmonized MOdular Curriculum for the Smart Grid – was initiated in 2016 by certain African universities, and ASGEN aims to disseminate this learning to other interested African universities, thereby growing the Education Network
The Smart Grid in Africa
The provision of area-wide and reliable electrical power supply is a topic of utmost importance, particularly in countries where the power supply often does not meet the demands.
The Smart Grid concept takes into account environmental sustainability, efficiency, quality and security of energy supply, new technologies and processes using a system of systems approach.
Particularly, Smart Grids as future technology of the power grid will play an important role in the stability of power supply and is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 of universal energy access to all through the provision of modern, reliable, affordable, and efficient energy services.
Considering the expected benefits of Smart Grids, it has to be expected that they will also be introduced in African countries in the near future. The introduction of the Smart Grid requires intensive technology transfer.
A successful technology transfer requires capacity building to find, absorb, and use existing technologies and to enhance technologies according to local needs and conditions.
The Smart Grid especially requires knowledge from different disciplines such as power supply, information technology, protection and control, standardisation, and economics. Furthermore, potential risks must be understood and handled. In particular, privacy as a human right has to be considered.
These requirements imply that an interdisciplinary approach for capacity building in the field of Smart Grids is an important challenge for a successful technology transfer and, consequently, for a successful development of the power management system. Stakeholders, from government to power utilities to product developers and vendors need to align their resources to ensure that they play their required roles in the development, operation and maintenance of the continents power systems.