Much has been made of the way energy is produced and effectively used in South Africa in recent years, with the current power utility coming under fire for the way it has handled the national grid. While there is no cure-all for the country’s ailing energy issues, technology, and digital transformation in particular could hold an answer.

This problem is not limited to South Africa either, as economies throughout the sub-Saharan Africa region are focusing on how they can implement energy efficient operations.

Research from Schneider Electric adds credence to this, as the company has underlined the importance that digital transformations will have when it comes to energy efficiency, cost savings, and sustainability.

It is a topic that will form a key focus at the company’s annual Innovation Summit for Middle East and Africa, which is being held on 28th October.

In the lead up to the event, Barry Bredenkamp, general manager for energy efficiency at the South African National Energy Development Institute (SAEDI) has provided some insight.

“Energy efficiency is a key enabler of economic growth, and will create jobs, get the economy moving faster, and reduce costs. Long term, it’ll help create a greener, more sustainable climate,” he says.

“Digital technologies have the potential to optimise the energy usage for many activities; from constructing an industrial product, to cooling a home. This represents an increase in energy efficiency. Increasing end-use efficiency continues to be a critical ingredient in energy transitions in South Africa and globally, with benefits in both developed and emerging economies,” adds Bredenkamp.

Building on research that it has been collated over the past five years from 41 countries, Schneider Electric notes that there are four key factors to ensure business continuity during unprecedented times – energy efficiency, sustainability, remote everything, and resilience.

“The pandemic is transforming every business, and this year is a reminder of why agility, efficiency, and resiliency matter so much,” points out Taru Madangombe, VP for energy business at Schneider Electric Anglophone Africa.

“Organisations are looking to save costs whilst working towards becoming more responsive to customer needs. The one solution we have found to both is digitisation. Those organisations who have been digital pioneers have had a substantial edge over the competition. COVID-19 has accelerated digital, and every organisation that has invested in this transformation is now benefiting from increased resiliency, efficiency, and sustainability whilst also being able to operate remotely,” the VP continues.

It is these elements that Schneider Electric hopes to expand on during its aforementioned MEA Innovation Summit, and hopefully find local partners to collaborate with.