“Energy Vaults” could save South Africa from load-shedding
InovaSure recently partnered with the Kannaland municipality to construct a R1.2-billion solar farm in the region, which will deliver reserves of renewable energy to combat load-shedding.
During off-peak periods, the solar farm system will be able to draw energy from Eskom and store it for release later, and the power can be used to supplement shortages during peak hours or sent to nearby municipalities such as Mossel Bay.
“This will ease pressure on the grid, thereby protecting residents against load shedding – and also generate an income for the Municipality,” InovaSure said.
This solution is named the InovaSure Energy Vault, and it has been implemented successfully in various other countries over the past 10 to 40 years.
This is just the beginning of InovaSure’s strategy to deliver power reserve systems across South Africa, however, as it plans to install its Energy Vaults across the country.
“The ultimate goal is for InovaSure to eventually roll out this technology to the rest of South Africa and, ultimately, the entire continent,” InovaSure said.
The Energy Vault project is supported by key stakeholders in Government such as the Central Energy Fund, the National Treasury and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. It is also supported by international partners in the BRICS alliance and various collaborating organisations.
“The documents for the project are currently being processed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the National Treasury and is expected to start construction in the Kannaland Local Municipality within the next couple of months,” InovaSure said.
InovaSure said it has invested a significant amount of effort and money into finding a solution for the electricity supply issues in South Africa.
The Energy Vault solution could help to reduce peak demand on the national power grid by rebalancing off-peak usage and reserving it for demand relief during peak usage times.
Through a national public-private partnership, InovaSure aims to provide energy security in South Africa by providing more municipalities with this technology.
The plan to install 120 Energy Vaults
InovaSure has posited a strategy for rolling out 120 InovaSure Energy Vaults across 20 different municipalities.
It stated that this level of energy security could help to mitigate the sensitivity of the national grid by reducing peak demand by 4,000MW per day.
As the first municipality to receive one of these Energy Vaults, Kannaland will be able to provide businesses with a far more reliable supply of energy.
“On top of this, InovaSure will set up a Public Benefit Organisation into which a significant portion of the proceeds of the Energy Vault will be paid. This money will then be used to uplift the local community, mostly through the provision of free educational media,” said Kannaland municipal manager Reynold Stevens.
The Energy Vault project will be funded by InovaSure on a “build, own, operate, and transfer” basis and will be handed over to the Municipality over a 25-year period using the money generated from the distribution devices.
Initiatives like InovaSure’s Energy Vault and a renewed push for private power generation point to a potential solution for South Africa’s load-shedding problem originating from the private sector.
This follows after Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter voiced his support for the unbundling of Eskom and the plan to allow independent power producers (IPPs) to generate their own electricity.