Guest post by Walter
Czarnecki, President and COO of OmniMetrix, an Acorn Energy division.
On behalf of Acorn Energy, Inc., I am honored and excited to join US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on her upcoming West Africa Energy Business Development Trade Mission to Ghana and Nigeria. Acorn Energy is an energy technology investment group and holding company focused on M2M/Internet of Things remote monitoring technologies and includes four divisions: OmniMetrix, GridSense, DSIT and US Seismic Systems. Our technologies are deployed globally, including sites in Kenya, South Africa, Turkey and elsewhere, and we see West Africa as an important international market in which to expand and serve.
We have been following the vast potential for market growth in Ghana and Nigeria for each Acorn technology. Last month Nigeria surpassed South Africa to become Africa’s largest economy, yet Nigeria experiences near-daily blackouts and plans to invest $3.5 billion this year to improve its energy and electricity infrastructure. Likewise, grid failures are common and have persisted for decades. GridSense, our transformer and distribution network monitoring division, works with utilities globally to specifically address this problem, and we look forward to exploring how GridSense can help West African utilities make their networks more reliable.
When utility power is lost, backup generators come online, and Nigeria has nearly 60 million backup generators. OmniMetrix, the Acorn division that provides M2M remote monitoring and control for backup generators, is well positioned to increase the reliability and reduce failures across Nigeria’s backup generator fleet. Backup generators globally fail 10-15% of the time when called upon. It is now possible to diagnose and predict common problems that prevent backup generators from running when needed. We look forward to exploring how we can eliminate this problem in Ghana and Nigeria.
As West Africa is a global hub for oil & gas, Acorn’s US Seismic Systems and DSIT both have relevant offerings to help this market. With its fiber-optic sensing system that is currently deployed on US Virginia Class Submarines, US Seismic works with oilfield services companies to help them improve the efficiency of drilling. Similarly, DSIT’s active sonar system for marine-based energy hubs and offshore drilling rigs ensures the safety of those critical installments.
I look forward to developing relationships with distributors and customers next week to assist in improving the energy infrastructure in Ghana and Nigeria. The Department of Commerce has given Acorn Energy a unique opportunity to learn about and access West Africa, and we feel there is potential to improve the region’s energy infrastructure while expanding our business and accelerating job growth at home.