“President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the cap on self-generation without a licence will be raised to 100MW is a bold, but necessary, move by the President and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy,” says Claire Volkwyn, the content director of Enlit Africa, which this week hosted a very successful online gathering of power industry experts to discuss Africa’s energy challenges and transition.

She adds: “The country is in the throes of an energy crisis and the importance of the discussions we had at Enlit Africa this week have been punctuated by loadshedding.”

According to Volkwyn, there are many opportunities for independent generators to take advantage of South Africa’s abundant solar resources. “This will be supported by battery storage, which has become more affordable over the past few years and this is a trend we fully expect to see continue as the technology matures and becomes more efficient.”

“So many of our sessions over the last few days have touched on the role of gas in Africa, opportunities for solar in the C&I market, and how we move forward as a country and a continent to supply clean, affordable and reliable power to all the people of Africa. We look forward to continuing these discussions in November, and again in June 2022, live in Cape Town.”

Have you read:
DAY ONE: Best of Enlit Africa digital event agenda
DAY TWO: Best of Enlit Africa digital event agenda
DAY THREE: Best of Enlit Africa digital event agenda

All the Enlit Africa sessions remain available on-demand on the event platform.

Generation focus and other highlights

Opening session: The 5Ds of the energy transition
South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe said energy security is at the centre of the country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, “with a requirement of reliable, affordable and clean energy sources, as well as long-term sustainable jobs.”

He said it was “critical for the country to fully understand the trade-off between the new investments needed in power generation and the reduction in coal mines’ production, as well as the eventual closure of some stations around 2040, as driven by different levels of emission targets.”

“If we look at decarbonisation, in particular, COVID-19 and the developments over the last 15 months have shown that the world can do this,” was the opinion of expert panellist Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens in South Africa.

“We have seen much less emissions of industrial applications and the output in 2020 was significantly lower. But what is important when it comes to decarbonisation is that if we don’t do anything about it, it would mean a significant impact on the global economy.”

Have you read?
Energy minister Mantashe: “Energy security at centre of recovery”

How the City of Cape Town is addressing climate change
Kadri Nassiep, executive director for energy and climate change at the City of Cape Town, discussed the City’s plans and challenges with regards to prosumers, peer-to-peer trading and how to deal with the increased number of distributed energy resources on the grid.

“Indications are that small-scale embedded generation in the City has been successful and will continue to be so. We have well over 50MVA connected already to the grid, and with those customers supplying excess capacity back into the grid. Along the way, we actually just introduced a new incentive tariff, which is 25-cents over and above the existing feed-in tariff, just to incentivise new customers to come on board the SSEG programme.”

Register on Enlit Africa-Connect to hear the full interview.

Successful minigrid business model in Nigeria
Successful deployment of Nigeria’s first rural commercial undergrid minigrid shows power developers need not be seen as competition to utilities when it comes to delivering reliable electricity to far-flung communities.

A case study presentation on the partnership between Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) and Nayo Tropical Technology on the second day of the Enlit Africa digital event showed how the three organisations joined forces to make sure all participants profited.

Have you read?
Minigrid business model shows utility & developer can collaborate

Discussion with Lucy Electric executives about utilities of the future
“Unless you’re living in South Africa, where you’re used to loadshedding,” says Phil Dingle, Marketing Director of Lucy Electric, “many of us have become accustomed to electricity that is available on demand. So, what we will see is that we will be more attuned to the use of electricity when it’s available. And in between, there is a bridge with lots of battery storage, energy storage, pumped hydro, whatever energy storage means, as that buffer between generation capacity and consumer demand. I think we’re going to see potentially lots of variable tariffs in terms of smart meter rates that will encourage us to use electricity when available.”

Register on Enlit Africa-Connect to hear the full interview.

Bracing for the gas revolution
Decarbonisation is non-negotiable, according to Dr Minnesh Bipath, Acting CIO and General Manager at the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI). In his opinion, flexible generation and storage will become essential. However, he believes, gas generation, as well as a blend of natural gas and hydrogen, is the solution to decarbonise the South African economy.

Hydrogen hubs to serve as springboards
The second day of the Enlit Africa online event also heard that there is an ever-increasing global demand for hydrogen and too little supply, and that Africa could play an important role in the future value chain. Furthermore, the continent’s existing infrastructure for liquid petroleum gas (LPG) could help it leapfrog the energy transition from fossil fuels to cleaner technologies.

Green Outcomes Fund update
The Green Outcomes Fund is a partnership formed in 2020 between the National Treasury and GreenCape. Megan van Vlaanderen, the CFO of GreenCape, is also an advisory committee member for the fund. “In quarter four of 2020, we had five new SMMEs onboarded, and then over the next quarter or two, we’re expecting another handful to come on board as well. When I look at the SMMEs within the pipeline already, it’s across the green economy spectrum. We’re looking at energy, waste, sustainable agri, and we’re looking at sustainable transport. So, it’s really exciting to see.”

TID rollover – The time is now
As with any data type, there is a point when the maximum value will be reached. On 24/11/2024 and any tokens generated after this date will be rejected by the meters as being old tokens. All STS compliant meters are affected by the TID rollover and it is therefore imperative that users of the technology begin to implement a TID Rollover program to ensure business continuity come 24/11/2024. 

Industry support
Eskom, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the City of Cape Town have been official hosting partners of the event for many years, and 2021 was no exception.

Global and local top technology and services suppliers to the industry, including Siemens, Landis + Gyr, Brady Corp, Oracle, IFS, G3-PLC, GE, Toshiba, Power Africa and Conlog also returned as sponsors at Enlit Africa. Other industry supporters were Prime Alliance, WESGRO, City of Cape Town, Ntiyiso Consulting and many more.

ESI Africa, the continent’s leading news provider for power and energy news, is the official host publication while the Enel Foundation was back as the knowledge partner.

Same inspiration, different look
Enlit Africa, which took place from 8 to 10 June,
is the new brand for the Cape Town-based African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa conference and exhibition, which for more than 20 years has been the flagship power and energy show for the continent’s energy sector. The event also had two very successful, interactive digital editions last year and rebranded in November 2020.

Enlit Africa dates and venues:
Next live, in-person conference and exhibition: 7 – 9 June 2022
Venue: CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa