Localised electricity networks, which typically harness power from renewables to supply communities, towns or rural areas, could be the answer to SA’s energy supply crisis, experts say. These networks, which are usually referred to as mini-grids, have become increasingly important on the continent and are being built at a rapid rate with more than 2,000 such grids across Africa. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has projected that the mini-grids and stand-alone off-grid systems will be crucial in the drive to improve electricity supply to many rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa countries that are unable to tap into national grids. “Whole communities and towns can become 100% energy independent,” said Dr Sam Duby, Africa director for TFE Energy and mini-grid expert. “Mini grids could very quickly sort out a lot of the biggest challenges that SA is having with its energy supply at the moment,” he said.

Eskom, the troubled state-owned power utility that supplies virtually all ...

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