Eskom and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have signed a partnership that is aimed at aligning and enhancing interaction between the two bodies in support of national goals.
The partnership signed on Monday seeks to synergise the research capabilities of the two organisations in support of Eskom’s strategic and operational needs.
The overall accountability to manage the agreement will reside within Eskom’s Research, Testing and Development business unit.
Speaking at the signing of the five year agreement, Eskom Group Chief Executive, Brian Molefe, said the partnership will strengthen the relationship between the CSIR and Eskom.
“The partnership will further strengthen our collaborative relationship and, accordingly, provides a long term platform to perform scientific and operational research and evaluation tasks and provide scientific decision support towards the realisation of Eskom’s strategic and operational needs,” said Molefe.
He further added that Eskom is looking forward to its collaboration with the CSIR as it forges ahead with ensuring reliable power to stimulate economic growth for the country as well as to address the socio-economic challenges faced by South Africans.
“We will prioritise projects that will ensure our operational and financial sustainability as we refurbish our current plant and deliver on new infrastructural projects to provide much-needed electricity,” explained Molefe.
CSIR Chief Executive Officer Sibusiso Sibisi said energy is one of the CSIR’s area of focus.
“Together Eskom and the CSIR can come up with innovative solutions for current and future energy issues, determine what the new electricity system will look like and what the plans and responses should be that need to be put in place to build the future South African energy system,” said Sibisi.
Short term challenges
To address its short term requirements, Eskom has identified three imperatives that have been expanded to identify new and existing technologies and capabilities that can address specific challenges.
The first imperative relates to the availability and reliability of the existing asset base. The organisations will work together on extending the transmission component’s lifespan through predictive maintenance; real-time grid monitoring using the Advanced Fire Information System and laser-based refurbishment of high-value components, among others.
The second imperative is aimed at safely delivering on the new build programme and capacity management. Research and development will focus on the reduction of water consumption; development of advanced emission control technologies and the development of components for use in advanced high-temperature gas reactors and modelling of associated technologies, among others.
The third imperative focuses on financial sustainability. Aspects to be jointly investigated include security risk management solutions to prevent theft and safeguard high-value assets and cable and infrastructure theft detection and prevention.
Long term challenges
In the long term, Eskom is also facing significant challenges from fundamental shifts in the electricity and energy system that is becoming more distributed and flexible due to the increasing contribution of renewable technologies as well as the future focus on new build.
The two entities have jointly approved the elevation of the current partnership to a strategic partnership that can support both strategic decision-making and assist with operational issues so as to address both the short and long term challenges of Eskom and the country’s electricity system.