CSIR Energy Centre
The CSIR’s research in energy aims to help the country achieve an energy-secure and low-carbon national economy. The CSIR Energy Centre plays a central role in shaping and implementing the organisation’s energy research agenda.
The centre provides a knowledge base for the South African energy transition – the move towards a more sustainable and cleaner energy system in which energy is used more efficiently and primary energy is supplied by a significant share from renewable sources. The centre also leverages the learning from this energy transition to support the creation of sustainable energy systems for other African countries.
The centre provides thought leadership in energy research for the country and region in order to inform business decisions, investments into new technologies, and policymaking. Its activities are guided by the desire to help develop a sustainable energy system.
The five research priorities of the centre focus on challenges associated with a large uptake of fluctuating renewables from the supply side, and the need for more efficient use of energy from the demand side. They are: energy efficiency and demand forecasting, renewable energies, energy-system technologies, energy-system planning and operation and energy markets and policy.
Research undertaken by the CSIR Energy Centre
Studying the benefits of renewable energy from a cost perspective
The centre has undertaken studies to determine the benefits of renewable energy from South Africa’s first wind and solar (photovoltaic) projects. In the first part of the study, covering 2014, researchers found that renewable energy from wind and solar projects created R0.8 billion more financial benefits to the country than they cost during 2014.
Fuel saver study
Response to questions around the CSIR methodology to quantify the fuel-saver effect of new power generators in the South African power system.
Wind-solar aggregation study 2015
The CSIR did a study to quantify the combined effect of wind and solar energy resources in South Africa. The organisation found that the potential to produce electricity from wind turbines in South Africa is significantly greater and more widely spread than initially thought.
Real-time digital simulator
Real-time digital simulations help in the design of complex system by using a concept called model-based design. It utilises models to design the actual system, and system behaviour is analysed in real-time as part of the design process. The software models are also linked with hardware using a concept called hardware-in-the-loop, and therefore actual hardware (wide area control and protection systems) can be designed and tested and proper settings/calibration done in a safe laboratory environment. The real-time digital simulator is also used to perform real-time transient stability behaviour of a power system.
An energy-autonomous CSIR campus
The CSIR Energy Centre is showcasing in real-world, and on a significant size, how future energy systems based on renewables will be designed and operated. To date, two hectares of land covered in single-axis 558kW ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant, and 203kW dual-axis tracking solar PV plant have been constructed on the CSIR Pretoria campus. Furthermore, a 250kW-rooftop PV system is under construction.
IRP 2016 analyses
- Comparison of IRP cost assumptions with IPP tariffs
- CSIR Input to IRP 2016 Public Consultation submitted to DoE on 31 March 2017