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Smart grid tech key to SA's energy mix

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The Department of Energy calls for intensified smart grid deployment.
The Department of Energy calls for intensified smart grid deployment.

South Africa needs to move with speed in deploying smart grid technologies if it is to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution.

This is the word from Mokgadi Modise, acting deputy director-general (DDG) for clean energy at the Department of Energy, calling on the sector to catch up with emerging technologies.

Modise was addressing the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) on behalf of energy minister Jeff Radebe.

Sanedi is an entity of the energy department and has been focused on helping address the country's rising energy demands through areas like energy-efficiency, green transport and advanced fossil fuels. It has also implemented smart grids in 10 municipalities over the past four years.

According to Modise, it will be crucial to carry out testing, technology improvements, consumer education, development of standards and regulations, and information-sharing between projects during the transition period to smart grid technologies.

This, she notes, will ensure SA reaps the benefits of the technology of Industry 4.0. "The smart grid represents an unprecedented opportunity to move the energy industry into a new era of reliability, availability and efficiency that will contribute to our economic and environmental health."

The acting DDG's comments also seem to support the department's transition towards a diverse and clean energy landscape in SA.

Referencing the latest International Partnership on Climate Change report, Modise pointed out that renewable sources are at the core of the transition to a sustainable energy future.

"Renewable energy and energy-efficiency are the main pillars of the energy transition. Together they can provide over 90% of the energy-related CO2 emission reductions that are required, using technologies that are safe, reliable, affordable and widely available."

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