As the government considers the restructuring of Eskom, energy minister Jeff Radebe has acknowledged the importance of including modular, flexible and lower-cost technologies such as battery storage in the planning process. Eskom’s existing generation fleet is largely ageing, carbon-dependent and inflexible, and even the new power stations are unreliable. It is burdened with debt it cannot service. In restructuring the utility, the government needs to go further than merely splitting it into three parts of generation, transmission and distribution. The minister told the recent SA Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Systems Conference in Cape Town that the large-scale uptake of battery energy storage would “accelerate the stable implementation of cost-effective renewable energy technologies, permit the decentralisation, modernisation and digitalisation of the electric grid and enable improved electrical power system flexibility, security and affordability”.

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