Johannesburg – Decisions about Africa’s power generation should be based not on feelings but on research to ensure that the correct choices are made, according to Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe.
He was speaking at the signing ceremony of Phase 2 of the Eskom Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI) funding agreement on Tuesday at the POWER-GEN and DistribuTECH Africa 2016 conference in Sandton. The programme is in collaboration with six South African universities - the Universities of Cape Town, the Witwatersrand, North-West, Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal and Stellenbosch - each of whom was represented at conference.
“We should be using the intellectual capital of our country,” said Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown. The programme will focus on research in the nuclear field, said Brown in her address at the conference. Research will also address fears around nuclear energy, which would lead to “acceleration” of the continent's electrification, said Molefe.
The research will also look at the continent's renewable energy sources, added Molefe. There are hopes to expand the project beyond the six universities, said Brown.
Over the past five years, Eskom has invested R129m into the EPPEI programme. It resulted in 134 publications and 44 Eskom employees graduating with master’s degrees. Phase 2 of the EPPEI programme aims to produce 300 masters and Phd graduates. It will run from 2017 to 2021, with a R155m commitment over five years.
The collaboration with universities will make South Africa globally competitive, said Professor Danie Visser of the University of Cape Town. The partnership is vital to push South Africa’s power generation expertise and will lead to sustainable energy generation, he said.
EPPEI will strengthen research and development for inclusive economic growth, added Eskom chairperson Baldwin Ngubane.
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