Power Electronics / Power Management


Energy independence – reliable solutions for ‘here and now’

26 February 2020 Power Electronics / Power Management

Energy is the lifeblood of the economy and it impacts all sectors of society, including individual citizens. There has been a great push towards an integrated energy plan that ensures current and future energy needs can be met in the most cost-effective, efficient and socially beneficial manner, while also taking into account environmental impacts.

Tomorrow’s solution is still today’s problem

According to the Department of Energy’s Integrated Energy Plan, “A lack of coordinated and integrated national planning for the energy sector has led to the underinvestment in much needed energy infrastructure. Electricity generation is constrained due to insufficient capacity and inadequate availability of existing infrastructure”.

Planning at individual organisational level has had to be commercially driven to ensure power is available to keep businesses operational and the economy running. However, plans are now underway for a more integrated solution driven from the top down.

Solar and wind energy get the green light to lead

At the forefront of government’s proposed generation system are wind energy and solar energy generation. In the initial draft version of the plan, wind was only supposed to deliver 13% of SA’s electricity by 2030– this has now been increased to more than 18%. It envisions an additional 14 400 megawatts of power being produced from wind, 6000 megawatts from solar plants, 3000 megawatts from gas and diesel, 2500 megawatts from hydropower and 1500 megawatts from coal by 2030. Under a previous draft of the plan, the nation would derive significantly more power from gas, but its contribution to the energy mix was reduced because it would have taken too long to bring plants online.

The recent SONA address by President Cyril Ramaposa and revisions of the Integrated Resource Plan were welcomed by all. The releasing of IPP (Independent Power Producers) has given new momentum to long-term solutions in line with leading countries in the renewables race.

Reliable batteries are the key to today’s solution

However, the key concern was and is the ‘here and now’ scenario. Businesses need solutions now. The good news is there are solutions today. Large manufacturing and mining companies are already submitting their plans for energy independence. For all players looking to be independent, the biggest factors are the storage of the generated energy so it’s available on demand.

The key to both wind and solar is reliable batteries for the ‘here and now’. Whilst other chemistries are jostling for position, lead acid batteries are still the clear winners when it comes to price. Within the lead acid family, it is important to pick quality batteries for solar and wind energy storage. A quality battery will give you maximum ROI over the long term.

Energy independence does not need to be ten years down the line anymore – the green light has been given to get it today.


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