South African state-run power utility, Eskom, has established its long-standing investment in renewables research, which has been supported by the CSIR and Stellenbosch University.
Eskom divisional executive for corporate affairs, Chose Choeu, gave emphasis to that these joint ventures are long-standing and are essential to make sure that a sustainable legacy for the people of South Africa is secured.
“Eskom’s distinctive role in driving the socio-economic growth needs us to work closely with academic institutions to expand path-breaking knowledge base in the science environment,” Choeu said.
According to Choeu, Eskom’s Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI) has a renewable energy specialization centre as part of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) based at Stellenbosch University.
Echoing Eskom’s contribution in the renewable space, Choeu pointed out that CRSES received US $227,000) in 2016, from Eskom’s EPPEI, and planned funding for 2017 is projected at around US $302,693).
They also receive financial support from the Research, Testing and Development (R,T&D) business unit for a two year renewable photovoltaic penetration study valued at US $227,00).
Choeu emphasized Eskom’s joint venture with CRSES, which finished its tenth academic year in 2016. “Over the period of its tenth academic year, the centre was involved in the graduation of 3 doctoral, 22 masters and a number of postgraduate diploma students. The centre has also been very victorious in drawing further financial support from industry and government,” said Choeu.
In 2012 EPPEI identified Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and Wind Energy as the two focal regions for Eskom in the field of renewable energy and, consequently, Solar Photovoltaics (PV) was added.
“Stellenbosch University has ascertained itself as one of the leading universities in CSP research, in the world, and has developed a number of distinctive tentative facilities and technology. Eskom is proud to have made its considerable contribution to this journey,” Choeu said.
He affirmed that Eskom has a US $2 million multi-year collaborative project with CSIR, presently in progress, of which Eskom’s contribution is US $1.7 million.
Choeu said they also have another US $13 million in joint projects actively under consideration, presently.
“As Eskom, we have a deeply-rooted positive reception of academic independence. We promote this by investing, in science research, without any contingent conditions that have a potential to remotely obstruct this canonized independence,” Choeu said.