Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with National Grid Saudi Arabia, the entity solely responsible for the transmission of reliable and cost effective electricity in the country.
Under the three-year agreement, National Grid and Schneider Electric will cooperate in developing and advancing electricity infrastructure in the country.
The MoU, inked between Fréderic Abbal, executive vice-president, energy business of Schneider Electric and Mohammed Al Rafaa, vice-president, engineering of National Grid in Paris, France, will facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experience, best practices and technology between the two organisations through periodic technical forums hosted interchangeably at their premises.
The companies will also collaborate as partners for decision-making on standards and specifications, engineering and design, and maintenance and operation. Additionally, Schneider Electric will provide Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and National Grid with training on mutually agreed focus areas, particularly environmental issues and regulations impacting the industry.
The MoU comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is witnessing huge investments in the power transmission and distribution sector. According to Business Monitor International (BMI), the $80-billion (excluding nuclear power) 10-year investment plan for electricity infrastructure 2008-2018 is driving significant activity in the energy sector.
BMI also predicts an additional 30 GW to be added to the current estimated capacity of 51.6 GW by 2020.
Abbal said: “As part of this agreement, we will work towards developing standards and specifications that are specially tailored for the Saudi market. We will collaborate with Saudi National Electro-technical Committee (SNEC) in the fields of protection, substation design and automation, smart grid, maintenance and asset management.
“We are working to evolve standardisation in engineering and design of equipment according to the specifications and requirements of SEC/National Grid.”
Al Rafaa said: “We believe the MoU will reiterate nationalisation and localisation of our resources in this key industry that is poised for tremendous growth in Saudi Arabia. Schneider Electric will help us bring global expertise with a local perspective to the field and enhance our existing knowledge and technical knowledge.”