Eskom’s ageing fleet of power stations has plagued the power utility and the country for years.
The sharp increase in the number of load-shedding days since 2018 (see figure 1) highlights the challenges that Eskom faces: a constrained power system with an old, unreliable and poorly maintained generation fleet as well as the need for new generation capacity.
As a result, the risk of load-shedding — and unplanned power outages — will remain until substantial new power capacity is invested in.
These risks are compounded by the steep increases in electricity tariffs by Eskom and municipalities.
Absa has also seen a growing trend of businesses looking at investing in battery energy storage systems (BESS) to complement such systems.
The decline in prices of the batteries required to run these systems, in this case lithium-ion, as well as their benefits in times of load-shedding, have made for a stronger business case.
As a power storage system, BESS are practical because they can be used in many different applications independent of location in contrast to, for example, pumped hydro storage.
The main uses for BESS are grouped into two categories. First, they can be used in stationary applications such as providing backup power when there is an outage. Second, they can be used in mobile applications such as in portable machinery, electric vehicles and cellphones.
The type of BESS application needs to be aligned with the right BESS technology to maximise value for business owners.