RES4Africa Foundation launches new study

RES4Africa Foundation launches new study and discusses key issues of South Africa’s energy security in a dedicated event

Sponsored by Nedbank, the event offered the chance to launch RES4Africa’s new study, and for an in-depth debate to understand the key issues and solutions towards greater energy security in the country.

Cape Town, March 14, 2023 – On the 13th of March 2023, RES4Africa Foundation hosted the Energy Security in South Africa Conference, sponsored by Nedbank CIB. The event, attended by 100 representatives from institutional entities and renewable industry players, comprised a structured debate about key issues of South Africa’s energy landscape, discussing solutions and next steps. It was also the occasion to present RES4Africa’s new study Integration of Non-Programmable Renewable Energy in the National Electric System of South Africa, developed in collaboration with CESI and Eskom.  

This February, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa proclaimed a state of calamity in light of the country's severe electricity crisis. As a consequence, vital infrastructure like hospitals and water treatment facilities would be excluded from rolling blackouts, while generators and solar panels would be installed more quickly to ensure uninterrupted supply to businesses. The state of disaster allows the government to avoid long procurement processes and to purchase emergency electricity from neighboring nations. This moment turns out to be crucial in the country's energy future.

The event aimed at discussing hot topics of aforementioned status quo, and it was divided into three sessions. The first one was devoted to the topic of energy security while transitioning, with a focus on the decisive actions needed to manage South Africa's energy crisis. The second session focused on enhancing investors’ confidence, highlighting the importance of regulation and procurement to keep alive the interest of investors in South Africa's energy sector; the panel also explored priorities and barriers to energy transformation. The third and final session focused on presenting RES4Africa’s new study Integration of Non-Programmable Renewable Energy in the National Electric System of South Africa, which identifies ideal areas for variable renewable energy projects through a 6-step methodology including GIS analysis,  LCOE calculation and grid modelling.

The conference also outlined some key takeaways, such as the need to find an equilibrium to recover energy security without compromising progress on sustainability goals. It was also stressed that maintaining investors’ interest and deploying investments effectively is crucial to meet similar energy security and sustainability goals. Finally, the participants acknowledged how grid investments and battery energy storage systems have a crucial and complementary role.

Complementary to the conference was a 3-days workshop which took place from the 15th to the 17th of March. Carried out by RES4Africa and CESI, the training follows months of close work between the two organisations, and it focused on geospatial analysis to explore the value of V-RES (i.e., solar and wind) at different locations in South Africa, and a deep dive into battery energy storage systems and their applications for the grid.

"Now more than ever, it is crucial to cooperate at public and private level, to act synergically among the different actors and to exit from the state of disaster" commented Salvatore Bernabei, President of RES4Africa Foundation and CEO of Enel Green Power and Thermal Generation " Unleashing renewables and BESS solutions is a priority in this direction. "

"South Africa is swiftly moving towards a more sustainable and secure energy future, but it is essential that it finds a balance between meeting the immediate energy needs of communities and achieving long-term sustainability goals” added Roberto Vigotti, RES4Africa’s Secretary General. "The conference has highlighted the importance of collaboration between industry players, investors, and governments, in order to create a resilient energy system that can withstand crises and support economic growth".

Amith Singh, Head of Energy Finance at Nedbank CIB, stated that "RES4Africa has now confirmed its status as a leading Foundation promoting Africa ‘s Energy transition as demonstrated by the success of the gathering.The depth of the discussions and ideas from all stakeholders clearly identified the barriers,  the opportunities, and successful path South Africa is on their Energy Transition. Peter Van Kerckhoven’s from Nedbank comment summed the event properly : South Africa’s energy security lies in our energy transition".

"Through the Government’s REIPPP Programme, we have successfully enabled the development of the IPP-driven, value chain-derived,  energy ecosystem. This has translated into the deepening of the local skills sets across various fields that form a part of this ecosystem. All of this will continue to serve as a catalyst for reforming energy while driving local economic growth. The focus on nurturing this energy ecosystem is critical to transforming our national energy crisis into an opportunity that will deliver inclusive and sustainable economic growth." said Bernard Magoro, Head of IPP Office.

"We are committed to accelerating our transition to a more secure, sustainable, and affordable energy future." Commented Prof. Raj Naidoo from the University of Pretoria. By diversifying our energy mix, increasing investment in infrastructure, promoting energy efficiency, and addressing energy poverty, we can create a more resilient and equitable energy system. We believe that this is not only good for our environment but also for our economy and our people.”

Participants and moderators:

  • First session: Salvatore Bernabei (CEO of Enel Green Power and Head of Enel Green Power and Thermal Generation), Roberto Vigotti (RES4Africa Secretary General); Rudi Dicks (Head of Project Management Office at The Presidency of Republic of South Africa); Peter Van Kerckhoven (Co-Head of Debt Funds at Nedbank); Monde Bala (Head of Distribution at Eskom); Vonjy Rakotondramanana (Senior Energy Specialist at World Bank); Amith Singh (Head of Energy Finance at Nedbank CIB).

  • Second session: Bernard Magoro (Head of IPP Office); Ziyad Cassim (South Africa Lead at GEAPP - Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet); Delphine Govender (Owner and Chief Investment Officer at Perpetua Investment Managers); Janek Winand (Managing Director at Siemens Gamesa South Africa); James Mackay (CEO, at Energy Council of South Africa; Sayuri Moodliar (Director Strategy & Purpose-Led Growth at PwC).

  • Third session: Prof. Raj Naidoo (Professor and Director of Smart Grid Research, (Head of Department Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, University of Pretoria); Ronald Marais (Strategic Grid Planning Manager at Eskom); Fabio Riva (Energy Engineer Consultant at CESI); Marcelo Castillo Agurto (Head of Business Development at Enel Grids); Louise Paulsen (Vice President Renewables at SASOL); Mark Tanton (Board Member at SAWEA and CEO at Red Cap Energy); Marianna Petrosillo (Programme Manager South Africa at RES4Africa).

Download the Study

Official Press Release

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Africa is a continent in continuous transformation, with a sustained economic and population growth, a fast-paced urbanization and a young generation of talents who is leading its business revolution. This transformation requires energy and will require it even more in the next decades.
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