Powering the grid: there's a model for that

What can be done to get more renewables onto South Africa’s grid?

02 May 2024

Monique le Roux, Stellenbosch University.

Monique le Roux is Stellenbosch University’s chief engineer, a new position within the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies. Looking at the country’s ongoing energy crisis, new technology surrounding renewable energy, Le Roux’s research is centred around how people are affected in their day-to-day lives. To do this, she does her research in conjunction with the South African government, Eskom and entities like the Presidential Climate Commission, among others. “We look at issues surrounding energy and electricity in South Africa, with a particular focus on renewable energy and how we can transition to a system where we get our energy more cleanly and sustainably,” she says.

For Eskom, Le Roux is looking at the grid to see what can be done to get more renewables onto it. “How can the system run better?” she asks. At the centre, Le Roux and her team are running two models. The first is an energy model that looks at all the energy used in the country and how it can be generated and supplied. “This model looks at the energy needs in the country and how you can balance that so you don’t have too much or too little energy,” she says. The second is a grid model. “Every line, transformer and piece of equipment on the national grid is modelled and we can see exactly what would happen to the grid if, for example, you add new wind generators or if one of the coalfired stations goes out of service.”

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