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South Africa needs over 28 GW of flexibility to reach 100% renewables at lowest cost

Technology group Wärtsilä has highlighted a striking need to scale up flexibility in South Africa, in the form of energy storage and flexible gas technology, to enable a 100% renewable energy future.

28 GW of flexible assets are needed for South Africa’s energy systems to run on 100% renewable energy at the lowest cost. The capacity needed to balance South Africa’s switch to grids powered by intermittent renewables must come from two key technologies: over 21 GW of energy storage and over 6.8 GW of flexible gas power capacity, capable of running on future fuels. Future fuels can be produced during periods when renewables produce more electricity than is needed.

Wayne Glossop, South Africa Business Development Manager, Wärtsilä Energy, said: “Last month’s UN climate report gives a clear message for South Africa: to decarbonise at the lowest cost, high levels of renewable energy must be scaled up by 2030. What we have learned from modelling over 145 countries and regions in our Atlas of 100% Renewable Energy is that power systems with high levels of renewables need a significant amount of flexibility, through energy storage and gas balancing technology, to achieve the transition to 100% renewable energy future.

“By building high shares of renewables, we can create the conditions to produce carbon-neutral Future Fuels that can decarbonise all energy intensive sectors, from power to mobility. To solve this final piece of the net-zero puzzle, the answer once again is to urgently build more renewables, supported by future-proof flexibility solutions.”

South Africa’s need for 28GW of agile flexible solutions reflects the country’s exceptionally high potential to meet its demand almost exclusively with wind and solar energy, and the requirement for significant power storage capacity when wind and solar is no longer generating.

To meet South Africa’s clear need for grid flexibility, Wärtsilä has today launched grid balancing technology – capable of ramping up to 10+ MW in two minutes – to bridge utilities to a 100% renewable energy future at the lowest cost.

Source: Further Africa

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