The power utility has funded research work done by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Stellenbosch University, which has ostensibly benefitted research in the renewables space.
The power utility is required to work with academic institutions to develop a ground breaking knowledge base in the science environment, said Divisional Executive for Corporate Affairs, Chose Choeu, on Thursday.
Eskom’s Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI) has a renewable energy specialisation centre as part of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) based at Stellenbosch University.
CRSES received R2.6 million in 2016 from Eskom’s EPPEI and planned funding for 2017 is projected at about R4 million. CRSES also received funding from the Research, Testing and Development (R,T&D) business unit for a two-year renewable photovoltaic penetration study valued at R2.5 million.
In 2016, Eskom’s partnership with CRSES completed its 10th academic year.
“Over the period of its 10th academic year, the centre was involved in the graduation of three Doctoral, 22 Masters and a number of postgraduate diploma students. The centre has also been very successful in attracting additional funding from industry and government,” said Choeu.
In 2012, EPPEI identified concentrating solar power (CSP) and wind energy as the two focal areas for Eskom in the field of renewable energy and subsequently, solar photovoltaics (PV) was added.
“Stellenbosch University has established itself as one of the leading universities in CSP research in the world and has developed a number of unique experimental facilities and technology. Eskom is proud to have made its substantial contribution to this journey,” Choeu said.
Eskom is involved in R30.8 million multi-year, collaborative projects with the CSIR currently. Eskom’s contribution to this amount is R23.4 million. Choeu said they also have another R17.5 million in collaborative projects actively under consideration.
“As Eskom, we have a deeply-rooted appreciation of academic independence. We encourage this by investing in science research without any contingent conditions that have a potential to remotely impede this canonised independence,” said Choeu.
He said Eskom is proud of its partnerships with the various academic institutions on scientific research and technical work.