Wärtsilä Masterclass: Hybrid solutions a competitive option for South Africa’s renewables growth

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As part of the Digital Energy Festival, Wärtsilä presented a focused masterclass exploring why hybrid projects are found to be a highly competitive solution, especially within the South African context.

The context of the discussion was the South African government’s RMIPPP or Risk Management IPP Procurement Programme.

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Michael Ball, an analyst from Wärtsilä, talked listeners through an analysis of the South African government’s new round of requests for proposals (RFP), as part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP). The latest Government determination was issued in July 2020 as South Africa is beginning to undertake a 2GW new build project, designed to boost the country’s energy security.

All power will be produced from independent power producers (IPPs) and sold to state-owned utility Eskom, under a power purchase agreement.

The RFP is technology agnostic with minimum specifications and is designed to increase dispatchable and flexible capacity, driving renewables uptake and the use of colocated and virtual hybrid solutions.

Ball talked through the analysis of various dispatch profiles and requirements, as well as reserve requirements to manage variability caused by renewables penetration.

A tariff analysis was presented based on reserve requirements and energy availability:

  • A modular engine solution combined with solar PV and batteries for spinning reserves provides the lowest LCOE.
  • The highest tariff and energy availability was achieved with a battery + renewable combination.

Key takeaways:

  • The RMIPPP promotes creative and innovative solutions designed to meet South Africa’s energy needs.
  • A Battery Energy Storage System + Variable Renewable Energy (BESS + VRE) solution is found to be competitive although entails inherent risk which needs to be understood and managed.
  • A high degree of flexibility is needed in hybrid projects to provide ancillary services to the grid while balancing the renewable component of the hybrid.
  • Hybrid assessment should be undertaken on a case by case basis.

Digital Energy Festival
The following sessions are still available to watch on demand as part of the Digital Energy Festival for Africa:

   ” African Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa sessions, (now Enlit Africa) click here ” FREE access
   ” ESI Africa sessions, click here ” FREE access
   ” Oil & Gas Council sessionsclick here

The Digital Energy Festival for Africa in 2020 was hosted jointly by four of Clarion Events’ leading energy brands Africa Energy ForumAfrican Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa (now Enlit Africa) and the Oil & Gas Council’s Africa Assembly and the leading energy journal ESI Africa and sister publication of Power Engineering International, providing six weeks of compelling content.

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