Businesses are increasingly prioritising the procurement of renewable energy, and especially solar energy, owing to loadshedding, electricity cost increases and risks associated with high carbon footprints, but run the risk of increasing their total energy costs, including from variability challenges. Analysis by renewable energy for business platform Discovery Green shows that the solution to these challenges lies in diversification, both in terms of energy generation and consumption, in line with traditional insurance principles of risk pooling and diversification.
State-owned utility Eskom says that, to date, it has replaced 400 transformers damaged by network overloading since January. The entity points out that, as demand for electricity rises while temperatures fall with the onset of winter, the issue of network overloading has resurfaced in some areas owing to electricity theft.
A new benchmarking assessment of South Africa’s electricity grid access queueing mechanisms indicates that Eskom’s systems are slower and less transparent than those being implemented in developed and developing countries analysed as part of the study. Published by the RES4Africa Foundation, the report includes case studies of the grid management frameworks being implemented in Brazil, Chile, Italy and by PJM Interconnection in the US.
Repairs to South Africa’s coal-fired stations that have helped the State power utility avoid debilitating blackouts for three months straight is giving solar installers an unintended break. Until March, Eskom had inflicted power cuts for as many as 12 hours a day due to unreliable units prone to breakdowns. The outages have crimped the economy and inconvenienced residents who have burned candles, bought batteries and — for those who can afford it — put up solar panels.
South Africa should consider ways to replicate strategies employed in regions such as South Australia and California to facilitate an accelerated uptake of grid batteries, which a new International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report states can be introduced to support grid stability and bolster the flexibility required to support variable renewables generation. While stressing that solutions are “location specific”, the report, which is the second in a series by IISD, argues that some replicable strategies could include enabling battery operators to benefit from multiple revenue streams and offering specific financing mechanisms for initial projects.
Africa added over 2 GW of hydropower capacity in 2023 but 90% of the continent’s on-river hydropower potential remains untapped, a new report states. Published by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), the ‘2024 World Hydropower Outlook’ reports that Africa added more new capacity in 2023 than any region besides East Asia, where 8 586 MW was added.