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The GO15 (Grid Operators) elects Eskom’s Group Executive Transmission Thava Govender as Vice President for its Steering Board for 2017 and President designate for 2018.

On Tuesday, South African power utility, Eskom, declared its continued commitment to its investment in transmission infrastructure and to leverage advanced technology solutions for a reliable and sustainable power grid.

Eskom is a member of the GO15, an initiative that consists of 19 of the world’s largest power grid operators.

These include grid operators from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), USA, Asia, Middle East, Australia, Mexico, and the European Union.

GO15 initiative

From left Ra’eesah Waja, Alain Steven, Dr Baldwin Ngubane, Thava Govender. Pic credit: ESI Africa

The organisation was founded in 2004 with a mission to ensure reliable and sustainable power grids.

“…We said the grids are getting very complicated and we need to do something about it, we have to put our heads together and see how we can better predict events like the one that happened in north America and predict, identify and mitigate the consequences,” GO15 secretary general Alain Steven stated during a media briefing in Cape Town.

Steven highlighted: “We [GO15] get together once a year to discuss strategies – the grids are changing very rapidly and consumer patterns are now changing very rapidly. We have a very ambitious penetration of renewable generation and these are big challenges.”

Upon conclusion of the 13th annual GO15 meeting in Cape Town each of the grid operators, co-signed the GO15’s Chief Executive Declaration.

Transmission infrastructure

Meanwhile, highlighting Eskom’s progress as the member of the initiative, Dr Baldwin Ngubane, Eskom Chairman, said the power company has invested about ZAR12 billon ($875 million) in transmission infrastructure.

Ngubane further noted that more than 6,000km of transmission lines and 32,000MVA of substation transformer capacity has been installed since 2005.

“South Africa’s power system has progressed to a position of surplus capacity, opening opportunities to extend regional interconnections and to accommodate a changing power generation mix to grow the economy of South Africa,” he said.

“Eskom’s partnership with the GO15 enhances access to global expertise in transmission and system operations and allows for the optimisation of mutual opportunities,” Ngubane stated.

Integrating renewables

Responding to a question by ESI Africa’s correspondent at the media briefing regarding the solutions that Eskom intends to implement through this initiative in efforts to integrating renewables into the grid.

Govender said: “We are in fortunate position in South Africa that we are busy integrating renewables into our energy mix, a lot of my colleagues on the GO15 have already been there. They’ve integrated renewables into their grids, they have experienced all those problems and what we are doing now is learning from those so that we make sure we don’t have all those issues where and instability due to a very diverse energy mix.”

With regards to the GO15’s plans for 2017, Steven told ESI Africa that,“our key focus is going to be on changing the rules between transmission and distribution system operators because more and more as generation is being imbedded in the distribution system, and our job is to balance the results in supply and demand.”