- Philipp Theis, University of Exeter (UK)
- Mohammad Abusara, University of Exeter (UK)
- Morwesi Ramonyai, Borena Energy (South Africa)
- Caswel Pokwane, Doornkop Community Property Association (South Africa)
UN Sustainable Development Goal addressed
- Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Affordable and clean energy is a key prerequisite for sustainable social and economic development. This project will leverage current energy developments in rural communities in South Africa by incorporating social complexities and modern grid control technologies in the design, implementation and operational phase of solar energy generation and rural grid connection projects. Whilst many rural communities still have no connection to the main electricity networks, those that have experience an instable and unreliable supply with regular power outages, dramatically reducing the economic benefit.
This project brings together researchers and practitioners in the disciplines of reliability and power network engineering, solar energy and social development planning. The aim is to apply and demonstrate the benefits of a social-technical assessment, enhancing the social planning and economic inclusion of communities for rural energy projects. This will be achieved through an energy project planning tool, power network measurements and subsequent technical and social Due Diligence Assessments to support the energy and network infrastructure development driven by local (Doornkop community, Steve Tshwete Municipality) and national stakeholders (Eskom, South Africa’s public electricity utility).
The programme of activities includes stakeholder workshops to carry out the social risk assessment methodology in Doornkop, as well as field measurement campaigns to determine the grid performance measures, working closely with Borena Energy as PV project developers. Strategies and benefits of enhanced development planning and modern grid control algorithms will be quantified.
A successful pilot project will enable the implementation of modern grid control technologies and social Due Diligence to leverage and sustain renewable energy and grid reinforcement projects, benefitting rural communities and project developers in South Africa.
Project lead, Prof Philipp Thies, said, “STARENA is an exciting project that will allow us to apply the techno-economic and network engineering expertise at Exeter to inform the development of sustainable energy in South Africa. Working with Borena Energy, the local community and South Africa’s utility ESKOM, the work will help to make the network more resilient and support rural communities with much needed access to sustainable energy.”
For more information about this project, see: