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Across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, there is a surge in electricity demand for both business and domestic use owing to population growth, urbanisation and sustained economic development
As a result, Lucy Electric CEO John Griffiths says that the company is witnessing an ongoing expansion of the transmission and distribution (T&D) market as distribution network operators invest in and develop their electrical infrastructure. “We are also seeing continued investment in renewables in the MENA region, particularly in PV installations and an ongoing commitment to the implementation of smart grid projects for secondary distribution,” he notes. “This is driving demand for a range of monitoring and automation-ready products and solutions, such as our recently launched Gemini 3 remote terminal unit.”
Specialists in high-performance medium voltage switchgear, Lucy Electric’s extensive range includes SF6 gas and oil insulated, transformer or ground mounted, ring main units; pole or structure mounted air break disconnectors and air and gas load break switches.
According to Griffiths, its best-in-class products are continually developed to anticipate the changing needs of its customers, offering both ‘off the shelf’ and bespoke options to suit all applications, including the most extreme environments.
Catering to low-voltage distribution, the product portfolio includes a comprehensive range of indoor and outdoor cut outs, pre- equipped cabinets, and accessories including the innovative AcuLok fuse handle that is fitted in the TMO transformer — mounted, fused distribution cabinets.
Griffiths says that Lucy Electric’s extensive range of distribution network automation products, at the forefront of innovation in automated control, offer a systems- engineered approach. “The range gives our customers a choice of building blocks which can be tailored to offer a complete automation solution.
“From non-intrusive retrofit solutions to the latest smart grid ready ring main units we can provide for all our customers’ needs.”
However, smart grids are also vulnerable to cyber threats and cyber security is a major issue for the electrical distribution industry that Lucy Electric takes very seriously. According to the CEO, in-house experienced engineers continuously work to address this threat and help protect the customers’ distribution networks, through their involvement with IEC standards committees that are looking at these issues.
With its strong commitment to sustainability and innovation, Griffiths notes that Lucy Electric is constantly working to ensure its products meet the changing needs of the marketplace.
“This year we launched the new Aegis Plus ring main unit range, which includes a number of features and benefits designed to revolutionise RMU medium voltage protection and automation.” he says. “Automation-ready at the manufacturing stage, the units now have integrated remote terminal units (RTUs) in the form of the next-generation Gemini 3, which incorporates an automatic transfer scheme (ATS), enabling Aegis Plus to be smart grid ready.”
Lucy Electric takes environmental responsibility and sustainable business very seriously as well.
“Developing environmentally sound products that provide maximum operator safety is fundamental to the success of our business, and in the Middle East region we have a focus on local manufacturing to reduce our overall carbon impact,” comments Griffiths.
“We are also investigating more environmentally-friendly alternatives to SF6 gas for our switchgear to create products with a more sustainable profile.”
As the case with all businesses in the T&D market, Lucy Electric too has seen the implementation of investment projects slow down over the last couple of years as a direct result of the oil price drop. Also, certain investments are not happening consistently across the region due to the ongoing political uncertainties and the company expects this to affect certain parts of the region for some time.
In spite of these factors, Lucy Electric is continuing to grow throughout the MENA region as its business is exclusively long- term supply contracts rather than project-based.
With the company’s next big trade show focus set for Middle East Electricity in Dubai from 1-3 March 2016, Griffiths says that the company is now looking to support more regional events.