by Novani Ganess-Johnson, Eaton
The rapid advancement of energy technology paves the way for new energy providers to compete and decentralise with existing energy providers. Likewise, consumers can consider off-grid solutions and become energy self-sufficient. This creates the opportunity for a major shift, with the possibility that the electricity network and grid will evolve in such a way that individuals or companies will be able to receive or resend energy to the grid, in return for payment.
Opening the power industry for diversification in South Africa will not pose a threat to Eskom. In fact, it can only strengthen the utility’s role as the base load supplier, as it will offer the company the much-needed margin to conduct thorough maintenance and ensure that any new build programmes are conducted steadily and strategically, with the best interests of all South Africans at heart.
The key question for the future is how will utilities like Eskom survive if industries and homeowners are able to go off grid – and even sell their surplus energy to one another? A utility’s success is based on its ability to plan its generation to meet demand – so how will they evolve once energy consumers are able to do as they please?
Power is fundamental to create jobs, for a country to develop, to grow – access to power is one of the key requirements for any economy to progress. If a community cannot access power, it’s first response is going to be trying to identify an alternative means of generating that power.
We are agnostic as to where power comes from, but remain intrigued by the different sources of energy, different types of energy storage solutions, and the technology required to manage them. It is indeed an exciting time to play a role in Africa’s energy future.
African leaders need to focus on economic growth, the stability of societies and climate change. Independent Power Producers (IPPs), renewables and prosumers will all contribute to and help with this. But it will require a mind-set change from governments and leaders alike.