By Malvin Naicker
THE government’s announcement of an increase in the threshold for generation licence exemptions for embedded generation projects from 1MW to 100MW is likely to result in an uptick of innovative new technologies in South Africa’s energy sector.
This effectively opens the door for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to ramp up their power generation capacity to alleviate the electricity supply constraints that continue to affect the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
In terms of IPPs that focus on renewable energy, microgrid solutions with battery energy storage systems (BESS) are ideal to ensure stable and sustainable power by harnessing solar energy and also a powerful model for a clean-energy future. Even though coal continues to play a dominant role in South Africa’s power generation, the country can still leverage the massive opportunity of distributed energy resources.
What this means, and we see it happening in South Africa at present, is the wholesale transformation of the energy system, encompassing generation, transmission, storage, monitoring and control. As renewables ultimately replace fossil fuels, power grids must remain resilient and become even more flexible to adapt to fast-changing demands.
While solar energy remains a relatively small portion of overall sustainable power generation, it is the world’s fastest-growing energy source. However, delivering on the potential of utility-scale solar energy presents significant challenges, from integration with the grid to deployment and utilisation of storage, to asset and operations management, generation and revenue forecasting and predictability, and the ever-increasing cost pressures and fast-track project cycles.
Hitachi ABB Power Grids has industry-leading expertise and an expansive portfolio of technologies, solutions, software and services designed to support every stage of renewable project development. With over 130 years’ engineering know-how in the power and industrial sector, we probably have the largest installed fleet of components and systems in the space of power systems for electric utilities and large industries.
Together with our customers and partners, we are committed to accelerating South Africa’s energy transition towards a carbon-neutral future. We have placed sustainability at the heart of our business because clean energy generation, network infrastructure and electrification of end-user sectors are crucial to decarbonisation strategies.
Sustainability 2030 is our strategic plan for sustainability, which draws from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and is focused on: Planet, People, Peace and Partnerships. As the partner of choice for a sustainable energy future, we are pioneering digital and energy platforms to help customers to overcome complexity, increase efficiency and accelerate the shift towards a carbon-neutral energy future.
Malvin Naicker is MD, Hitachi ABB Power Grids