On Friday, Eskom introduced one of its inaugural microgrids at Swartkopdam, located roughly 150km from Upington in the Northern Cape.
This development is part of a broader initiative aimed at achieving universal electricity access across South Africa.
“Microgrids offer an effective, reliable, and easily implementable solution for electrifying geographically challenging areas. They are ideal for locations that are difficult to access or require considerable capital expenditure," said Monde Bala, Eskom's Group Executive for Distribution.
"The microgrid technology at Swartkopdam will provide electricity to 39 households who did not have access to electricity prior to this project.”
Swartkopdam's microgrid project follows the successful installation of similar systems at Lynedoch in the Western Cape and Ficksburg in the Free State.
Eskom's Distribution identified Swartkopdam as a high-priority community in need due to its remoteness and critical facilities embedded in the grid. The microgrid, with its battery energy storage capability developed by Eskom Research, Testing, and Development (RT&D), was deemed the most suitable solution.
“The deployment of microgrids at Swartkopdam serves as proof of concept for installing these systems in remote areas, which are difficult to reach or expensive to electrify through conventional means. Eskom plans to roll out about 100 microgrids across the country by the end of March 2024 as part of the Distribution business strategy,” Bala added.
Microgrids also utilize renewable energy sources, thus reducing carbon emissions.
This, combined with their cost-effectiveness, makes them a highly desirable option.
Mpho Makwana, Eskom Board Chairman, stated, “Through innovation and collaborative partnerships, Eskom is able to provide clean and reliable electricity to the people of Swartkopdam.
This project reaffirms Eskom’s commitment to assisting the South African government in ensuring that every South African has access to electricity.”
As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, Eskom will be donating two mobile containers and recreational equipment to the Swartkopdam Primary School, further affirming its dedication to impacting the lives of South Africans positively.