Image credit: African Utility Week

Speaking with ESI Africa, Mishak Matla, executive director of sales, marketing and distribution, Abedare Cables, explores whether the South African transmission network is ready for the onslaught of renewable energy, expected from the countries IPPs. 

Renewable energy is a growing trend and Abedare Cables is excited about the signing of the IPPs at last, as its been a lengthy wait for all stakeholders.

This indicates progress however, we are no where near where we need to be in terms of the transmission network and the future energy mix that is required to drive the South African economy into the future.

We have depended on coal generation for many years and this is reflected in the current infrastructure. According to Mishak, the future outlook suggests further change in the energy mix with an increase in renewable energy.

Whether its wind or solar etc., we need the transmission infrastructure to ensure power can be sent where its needed, especially to areas where electrification is minimal.

Mishak further states that they are convinced more investment is necessary from the relevant entities, such as the Department of Energy and Eskom, to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place as soon as possible.

Own generation and embedded generation is increasing to such an extent that it’s becoming clear there needs to be a paradigm shift in terms of how South Africans approach the power supply question.

In the past Eskom has been sole supplier and distributor of power, however it’s becoming clear that in order to realise the levels of efficiency needed to support economic growth, we need to be more open to different options in terms of how we supply electricity. We can’t place all our hope in one method of delivery, expecting it to deliver what’s needed.

We are grappling with the challenge of in-optimal supply but also grappling with the challenge of the supply of energy, ensuring it’s environmentally friendly.

Taking care of the environment has become extremely important, hence the need for various green alternatives in the South African energy sector.

Watch the full interview here…