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Siemens boosts search for sustainable energy

- Buhle Zuma

Wits and Siemens enter in a partnership to establish a microgrid laboratory.

The training of young people in real-world settings helps to bridge the gap between theory and industry requirements.

Having laboratories fitted with the latest equipment is one way of ensuring that students come face-to-face with real-life problems that will better prepare them for the professional world.

Students from the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, with an interest in finding sources of renewable energy, will benefit from the partnership between Wits University and Siemens South Africa that saw a second tranche of equipment being delivered to the School.

The delivery consists of Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) equipment, both hardware and software, that will work with Siemens Simatic power electronic converters, that were donated two years ago, and can be used to control the speed of electrical machines.

The PLC’s are important for the automation and control when studying the dynamic interactions between solar photovoltaics, energy loads and storage. “What we have received now is state-of-the-art control equipment that is currently used in industry.

Thanks to the Siemens, we are getting closer to our dream of having a microgrid laboratory in our school,” says Prof. Willie Cronje, Head of the School. Microgrids are currently a worldwide phenomenon closely associated with the introduction of renewable energy sources into power systems.

Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens South Africa, was present at the event on 2 December 2015. Dall’Omo said the company is committed to skills development and being a valuable good corporate citizen. The company invests in various skills development and education programmes that are well aligned with the country’s skills development needs and jobs creation.