Twilight of an Industry: The Growing Pains of South Africa’s Energy Sector


INSIGHT


  • SOUTH AFRICA HAS GREAT POTENTIAL FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY. AT THE SAME TIME, SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT IN ITS POWER GRID.
  • ENERGY GENERATION FROM WASTE IS AN EXCELLENT TECHNOLOGY THAT ADDRESSES THE PROBLEMS OF WASTE MANAGEMENT AND ENERGY PRODUCTION. THIS IS ALSO RELEVANT TO SOUTH AFRICA BECAUSE OF ITS POPULATION DENSITY. WASTE-TO-ENERGY PLANTS MAKE A LOT OF SENSE IN LOCATIONS WITH LITTLE AVAILABLE LAND AND HIGH DISPOSAL PRICES.
  • DECENTRALIZED ENERGY SOLUTIONS REMAIN THE KEY TO ENSURING SUPPLY IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.


1. SOUTH AFRICAN ENERGY COMPANIES MAY NEED TO INVEST IN ELECTRICITY TRANSMISSION


One would have to divide this question into two parts. One part would have to deal with power generation and/or power production in general. The other part of the question deals with power transmission and/or midstream, as it is called in the parlance of the hydrocarbon industry.

Regarding the first part of the question, a relatively quick solution to South Africa’s energy crisis could be the construction of small nuclear reactors with improved safety designs, since South Africa has significant uranium reserves at home.

Given South Africa’s size, it could make a lot of sense to further expand photovoltaic plants throughout the country to provide a wider range of utilities.

We have previously written about this issue in a broader context. In that, we looked at the opportunities in the African energy sector to see what the opportunities are.

This brings me to the second part of the question: a medium-term strategy would be to create BESS to ensure that electricity can be made available locally even during power outages. This also helps with the storage of electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

If you would like to explore this topic in a broader context of the solutions available in Africa, please review the energy policies that some African countries have adopted to expand their power grids


2. CONCLUSION


      • The South African power system will have to become more resilient to power outages. Balancing the grid will become more difficult unless there is significantly more investment.

      • Decentralizing the energy supply would be one way to solve this problem. This will also require significant investment in building regional capacity, such as photovoltaics. 


Many thanks for the shared interest in the energy world!



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