A sustainable energy landscape in South Africa is dependent on a diverse energy mix that supports the decarbonisation of the electricity grid in line with the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.

This is according to group executive for transmission Thava Govender, who addressed an audience at the recently held seminar organised by the United Nations University’s Advanced Study of Sustainability in Tokyo.

A sustainable roadmap

Govender, who is also the Vice President of the GO15, an international organisation that represents the world’s largest power grid operators, said that energy supply for South Africa’s sustainable development must be cognisant of local socio-economic issues, Eskom said in a company statement.

“In particular, if you consider South Africa’s unique situation of being a developing country with high unemployment, it is imperative that energy solutions are leveraged to address these challenges”, he said.

Speaking at a seminar which was opened by Eskom Chairperson Dr Baldwin Ngubane, Govender reiterated that energy security is essential to unlocking sustained economic growth through embracing diverse energy mix. Read more…

“In other words, no one technology choice is more important than the other, but that all technologies could integrate into a system that ideally minimises the risk of failure or redundancy while addressing current and future challenges such as climate change and economic empowerment in the South African context”, said Govender.

He added that another dynamic of sustainability is innovation. He said South Africa’s sustainable energy solutions therefore need to incorporate all technological options in a way that’s not destructive to sustainable development.

Eskom supports development goals

“Eskom’s commitment to the sustainable development goals goes beyond the borders of South Africa.  An integrated grid in the region is key to unlocking economic growth and social upliftment across the continent.

“To this end we already actively involved in trading electricity in the SADC region through our participation in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).  The SAPP platform allows for collaboration among utilities in the region which enables optimisation of capital and better infrastructure utilisation – practical application of sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production,” Govender said.

GO15 comprises 19 of the largest Grid Operators around the world.  These include grid operators from the BRICS countries, USA, Asia, Middle East, Australia, Mexico, and the European Union.

These operators collectively deliver electricity to over half of the world’s population, accounting for more than two-thirds of global the electricity consumption, representing the backbone connecting electricity producers and consumers.

Eskom has been a member of the GO15 for several years and is signatory to a declaration of the group’s commitment to invest in transmission infrastructure and to leverage advanced technology solutions for a reliable and sustainable power grid for South Africa. Read more…

At the two-day Tokyo GO15 Board Steering Meeting held on 30 – 31 March 2017, members discussed ways of finding solution to challenges facing different member utilities including the integration of distributed energy resources, demand stagnation, smart grid, technology adoption, and cyber security.

Australian grid operator AEMO presented lessons from the recent blackouts in South Australia, while Eskom shared its experiences on managing the grid with excess capacity.

Featured image: 123rf

Source: ESI Africa

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