HomeIndustry SectorsBusiness and marketsEnergy storage: South Africa’s new ‘gold rush’

Energy storage: South Africa’s new ‘gold rush’

Is it bad to say that the pandemic has been good for the world? As we live through troubling economic and societal times as a result of COVID-19-related lockdowns there is also the spark of opportunity.

Originally published in the ESI Africa weekly newsletter on 09/09/2020

The past five months have been a good time to reflect. There are many intrepid minds who are now considering the possibilities of reshaping our world.

One group of such bold thinkers is at the South African National Energy Association (SANEA). In June the association launched its third Risk Report.

With the increased level of uncertainty in the country’s power market, the report highlights the uncertainties and whether those uncertainties can become positive or negative risks. 

According to SANEA’s secretary-general, Wendy Poulton, shifting South Africa’s energy transition trajectory will be the equivalent of finding gold in South Africa over a hundred years ago. As the report’s author, she argues that the opportunities associated with embracing the energy transition include:

  • increased beneficiation of minerals associated with the energy transition, such as battery minerals,
  • the localisation of energy value chains, including green hydrogen production, that leverage the country’s solar, wind and human capital resources, and
  • the repositioning of South Africa as a leader in new and emerging markets.

This new ‘gold rush’ will see positive risks emerging with one being the potential to develop storage solutions in South Africa, from battery to hydrogen and other clean molecules. 

To understand the potential of this market, we must understand how it will change the value chain and where opportunities will present themselves.

To explore this topic, SANEA is hosting an energy storage workshop today (9 September) to examine the opportunities and how these can be linked to the unique resources and mineral wealth in South Africa. Note that SANEA will develop a set of recommendations emanating from the energy storage workshop to help catalyse this change.

The session will present an overview of how energy and related value chains are changing because of the energy transition and what this means for South Africa’s energy and mining sectors.

It’s a good place to start the conversation, which ESI Africa will report on post-event.

Until next week.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
Nicolette is the Editor of ESI Africa print journal, ESI-Africa.com and the annual African Power & Energy Elites. She is passionate about placing African countries on the international stage and is driven by the motto "The only way to predict the future is to create it". Join her in creating a sustainable future through articles and multimedia content.