Setting up a monitoring system for mini-grids in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
December 2018 until June 2020
The Bund-Länder-Programm of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), a funding line that promotes cooperation between the federal and state governments; supported by the Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Climate Protection of Lower Saxony
Institute of Networked Energy Systems
Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Energie und Klimaschutz
Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT)
University of Fort Hare
Nelson Mandela University
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Raymond Mhlaba Economic Development Agency
Project Manager at the Institute of Networked Energy Systems:
Around 15% of all South African households are not yet connected to the power grid, putting them at a disadvantage both economically and socially. A number of projects have been carried out to get closer to the country’s goal of electrification, including the ENGINEER research project in cooperation with the Institute of Networked Energy Systems in 2017/2018. The project involved developing, analysing and reporting on a hybrid, local power distribution network, known as a mini-grid, in the pilot community of Upper Blinkwater in the Eastern Cape.
More experience in the setup, operation and maintenance of mini-grids is needed if the technology is to be used in other regions too. As part of the BLP programme in cooperation with GIZ, a monitoring and evaluation system for the distribution grid is to be developed in this follow-up project. This is intended to provide insights into some of the technical requirements of a sustainable, decentralised energy supply as well as the framework conditions required for other regions in the future.
The development of the monitoring system is being significantly shaped by the cooperation between the Institute of Networked Energy Systems and the universities of the Eastern Cape in order to combine data collection, exchange and analysis in the best possible way. The dialogue between the project partners is enabling all sides to gain an extensive knowledge of renewable energy sources, especially mini-grids. Data from the monitoring system also allow areas of potential and risks as well as the associated costs and income streams from these energy sources to be calculated more precisely.