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Manufacturer poised to support Transmission Development Plan

An image of ACTOM High Voltage Equipment divisional CEO Casbah Zwane

CASBAH ZWANE ACTOM High Voltage has started looking at expanding the manufacturing capacity of its local factories by about 40%

19th January 2024

     

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Electromechanical equipment manufacturer ACTOM High Voltage Equipment, a division of the ACTOM Group, is preparing to participate in State-owned power utility Eskom’s Transmission Development Plan (TDP).

South Africa’s electricity landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the introduction of new generation capacity from independent power producers, including the planned integration of renewable-energy sources, says ACTOM High Voltage.

The TDP aims to significantly accelerate grid-related investments to facilitate the integration of 53 GW of mostly renewable-energy generation capacity over the next decade.

Further, it outlines the construction of 14 218 km of new high-voltage transmission lines, the construction of 170 transformers, 40 capacitors and 52 reactors. Aligned with the TDP, through which Eskom has approved “the execution of R26-billion in capital investment” for transmission, there are two priority programmes already in the pipeline to “accelerate the delivery of the transmission infrastructure”.

ACTOM High Voltage Equipment is committed to providing “cutting-edge solutions” that will ensure the reliable and efficient transmission and distribution of electricity, enabling the nation to harness the full potential of its diverse energy mix.

ACTOM High Voltage specialises in the supply of products crucial to the transmission of electricity, with much of its equipment being manufactured locally, and the remainder imported from its global technology partners.

“We are currently looking at various options to increase our capacity and resources to meet the demand for products and services in terms of Eskom’s TDP,” says ACTOM High Voltage Equipment divisional CEO Casbah Zwane.

ACTOM High Voltage has started looking at expanding the manufacturing capacity of its local factories by about 40% and is in discussions with its global partners to increase its import volumes, by having access to more of their factories than it currently has, Zwane adds.

Solid Track Record
Zwane explains that ACTOM High Voltage has a “long and solid track record” in South Africa and on the continent, having supplied transmission and distribution equipment to Eskom and other utilities for the past 50 years.

Despite being deployed decades ago, a lot of this infrastructure remains functional, with ACTOM High Voltage performing regular maintenance and upgrades as needed by its customers.

“This talks to the reliability of the products that we manufacture locally and source from our partners. We pride ourselves on the high quality of our products and the aftersales support that we provide to customers from within our organisation,” he says.

“ACTOM High Voltage has been the backbone of countless electrification projects in South Africa and our products have been instrumental in powering a staggering 80% to 90% of grid-tied renewable projects locally.”

Zwane explains that the company’s locally honed expertise, quality products and ability to offer local support will give ACTOM High Voltage the edge over foreign competitors that are expected to enter the local market to participate in Eskom’s TDP.

ACTOM High Voltage is, therefore, in a very strong position as a manufacturer, supplier, and service provider in the transmission space to take a leading role in the implementation of the TDP, Zwane says.

Green Energy Solutions
To meet the demands of the TDP, Zwane says the company is also investing significantly in green energy solutions and products as part of its contribution to a sustainable future and Eskom’s decarbonisation initiatives.

“The TDP’s plans for expanding renewable-energy generation will heavily impact on new transmission infrastructure. So, we are making quite a substantial investment, as we are not only investing in research and development but also new manufacturing processes, aftersales support, and new testing procedures,” he says.

Further, Zwane notes that the plan will ultimately provide tremendous opportunities for business growth and will also have significant positive socio-economic impacts, in terms of reindustrialising the country and creating much-needed employment.

He adds that over the past four or five years, there has been very limited investment in the country’s transmission network, forcing many businesses in this space to downscale their operations.

“As the TDP comes into effect, we expect to see a massive ramp-up in activity and capacity expansion, which will be positive not just for the industry but also for the entire economy,” concludes Zwane.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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