Renewable energy cuts two stages of load-shedding

Eskom’s evening peak electricity data for 23 June revealed that renewable generation contributed 1,988MW to the grid.

It means that renewable energy, mainly wind power, shaved nearly 2,000MW off the evening peak and avoided two stages of load-shedding.

Earlier this month, Eskom generation executive Eric Shunmagum said a series of winter storms helped reduce electricity load-shedding.

The storms have allowed renewable energy plants at the coast to boost their supply to the national grid.

“With cold fronts coming through, we see better wind resources,” Shunmagum told reporters at a media event two weeks ago.

It followed the 2023 South African Renewable Energy Grid Survey release by Eskom, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), and the South African Photovoltaic Association (SAPVIA).

The survey revealed that 66GW of wind and solar projects are in development in South Africa, which in some cases include battery storage.

The good news for load-shedding is that 19GW of solar PV and 7.5GW of wind projects include battery storage.

Around 18GW of renewable energy projects are at an advanced stage of development and can be ready within three years if grid connections are granted.

A benefit of the 2023 South African Renewable Energy Grid Survey is for the renewable energy industry to help influence grid planning.

Grid capacity is a constraint to renewable capacity, especially in the Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape.

These regions are South Africa’s primary sources of renewable energy generation, but there is not enough generation connection capacity to accommodate all the new projects.

The lack of generation connection capacity delays the approval, funding, and construction of many renewable energy projects.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa also recently said that the national grid is unprepared to receive large amounts of renewable energy.

Ramokgopa even warned that adding a lot of photovoltaic (PV) generation capacity to the grid at once could cause it to collapse.

Stellenbosch University researchers estimated that it could cost as much as R372 billion over the next 12 years to create sufficient grid capacity.

Last year, Eskom said it had raised R72.2 billion to expand the grid and increase capacity between 2023 and 2027.


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