According to energy expert Ted Blom, South Africa is not in a unique space when it comes to the challenges of moving away from a predominant fossil fuel base to renewable energies.
In an interview with ESI Africa, Blom points out that the main problem is that renewable energy suppliers are not yet ready for the transition.
Even though wind and solar resources are adding to the generation mix “we don’t see any storage and you cannot run an economy on energy that is not dispatchable”.
Not having certainty in the availability of renewable energy resources requires power utilities to have adequate backup storage on hand at all times. “At the moment energy storage is very expensive,” stressed Blom, adding that the cost of backup storage is higher than the current cost of producing the energy.
“So that doesn’t make sense to force the transition faster than what the technology allows for. That’s why I’m calling for a balanced input into energy generation,” said Blom.
Watch the full video interview with Ted Blom above.
“You need to look at [the energy mix] on a granular level,” states Blom explaining that the market needs to assess each customer’s needs.
Blom concludes that the national grid needs to be open where everyone can supply the cheapest power and have access to the grid, “otherwise you are disadvantaging the South African economy by forcing the most expensive power on people.”
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