On Sunday evening alone, demand exceeded Eskom’s capacity availability by at least 3,885MW. The deficit can reach more than 5,000MW during afternoon peaks.
Demand side management is seen as a tool that can help the power utility to potentially reduce load shedding.
“Eskom needs to focus on the supply in terms of our own plants, as well as getting the DMRE more capacity from an IPP [independent power producers] perspective. But while we are looking at supply, let’s not forget the importance of demand side management to close that gap in terms of that capacity shortfall.
“Eskom has launched its national demand management initiative. We are aiming to achieve a capacity from this initiative of just under 1,500MW… We think and we know that the potential is much greater.
“At the end of the day, there’s only one objective for South Africa - stop load shedding as quickly as possible. But we need to do it in a way that ensures that we don’t compromise the integrity of the grid,” Cassim said.
Delving deeper into the initiative, Eskom’s head of distribution Monde Bala said the power utility has identified several opportunities which may make the 1,500MW aim a reality.
“We believe that there are quite a significant footprint of the traditional geysers that present an opportunity for further savings at a residential level. We believe that in terms of public lighting and street lighting, there’s further opportunity to do public lighting in a manner that is energy efficient. The building and buildings codes…we are trying to press the process so that when…you do get approved, you get approved with energy efficiency in mind.
“Over and above that, we are aware that there’s a significant number of rooftop solar PVs that have already been installed which we could potentially tap into. So we’re looking at that as opportunity. We’ve got applications that we are currently processing totalling in excess of 100MW. That 100MW is one machine of the open cycle gas turbine so if we can get that, it would make a difference,” he said.
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