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Danish-South African Energy Partnership Program

The DK-SA Energy Partnership Programme took off in April 2013 with the signing of a bilateral agreement for the programme by the South African Minister of Energy and the Danish Ambassador on behalf of the Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Buildings. The Danish partner in the programme is the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) and on the South African side the main partner is the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), together with Eskom and the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) in the first phase, and the Independent Power Producer (IPP) Office in the third phase.

The development objective of the programme is to decouple economic growth in the Republic of South Africa from the growth in the overall Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The intermediate objective is to increase the deployment of low carbon technologies in the energy sector.

The programme is currently running phase 3.


Phase 1 of the SA-DK Energy Partnership Programme

The three year programme focused at ensuring the transfer of Danish expertise in the field of renewable energy, wind energy, energy efficiency and climate change. The programme was divided into three components:

Component 1: Technical assistance to the Department of Energy

The objective of the component was to assist the Department of Energy (DoE) to develop comprehensive policies and strategies that contribute to the efficient introduction of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

The technical assistance to the Department of Energy was divided into three subcomponents on energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change:

  • The Energy Efficiency (EE) component entailed drafting of the National Energy Efficiency Strategy (NEES) and Action Plan, the Energy Efficiency awareness campaign which was launched in May 2016 at the African Utility Week, development of a centralized smart metering management and monitoring system, and a study to identify, assess and design a market based economic incentive(s) for energy efficiency appliances in South Africa.


  • The component on renewable Energy (RE) aimed to develop and support the Renewable Energy Data and Information Service (REDIS) which collected and processed data from renewable generators for input and assumptions related to renewable energy development and informing decision making on long-term energy planning, improving capacity building and competency on grid codes, as well as integrating renewable energy within municipal utilities. Furthermore, to support the establishment of the South African Renewable Energy Training Centre (SARETEC) in training industrial players, educators and trainers in the correct use and interpretation of the Wind Atlas of South Africa data; providing financial support to wind turbine service technicians and supporting the inaugural WindAc Africa conference.


  • Climate Change (CC) activities were centred on an energy efficiency schools pilot project  intervention in public schools and a carbon tax offset program with training of officials.


Component 2: Further development of the Wind Atlas for South Africa

The activity to further develop the Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA 2) aimed to geographically expand the mapping of the South African wind resources, while feeding the resulting data into decisions on introducing wind energy into the national electricity supply.

The activities produced the following outputs:

  • A wind atlas including new measuring masts covering remaining areas of Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Free State Provinces
  • Continued metering from existing measuring masts established under WASA1 of SAWEP Phase 1
  • Mapping of potential as input to DoE for strategic energy planning purpose
  • Collaboration with Eskom on data for day-ahead and in-hour forecasts


The WASA activities have been hugely successful in documenting and making publicly available documentation for the potential for wind energy in South Africa.


Component 3: Technical assistance to ESKOM for renewable energy integration into electricity supply

The technical assistance to Eskom, the South African electricity supplier, aims at enhancing the internal capacity to address the challenges involved with integration of renewable energy in power supply.

The activities were centred on the distribution and transmission level. On the distribution level, assistance is provided through technical advisory services to engage with Eskom distribution operating units on actual status of network operation performance and SCADA system in general and in relation to operation of renewable power plants embedded in the distribution network. Furthermore, conducting a review of distribution network manuals and training of distribution network operators in renewable and network operation.

With regard to integration of renewables into the electricity grid at the transmission level, the program focuses on the requirements for Eskom ancillary services/reserves with increasing levels of renewable energy penetration into the power system.

The Danish support to ESKOM also yielded positive results. Through its SISYFOS model, DEA supported the development of a strategy on system adequacy and reserve margin assessing the effect of increasing levels of renewables. In workshops with DoE and ESKOM participation it showcased that the likelihood for reduced system adequacy and need for reserve margin with high Renewable Energy penetration is not as significant as previously anticipated. Denmark further supported ESKOM in assessing large-scale renewable energy penetration on the dynamic stability of the ESKOM power system and with capacity building and training on network operation and control of distribution systems in ESKOM and selected municipalities.


Phase 2 of the SA-DK Energy Partnership Programme:

As the Energy Partnership Programme moved into its second phase, the three year partnership was re-designed with a more narrow focus. The development objective of the program was that South Africa is in transition to a less carbon-intensive electricity production including through expansion of Renewable Energy generation in alignment with the targets in the National Development Plan 2030 aiming at procuring at least 20,000 MW of renewable electricity by 2030. The program aimed to indirectly support two key documents for long range policy and planning by the Government of South Africa: the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) 2010-50), that forms the basis of South Africa’s generation capacity expansion.

The Phase 2 was divided into two development engagements (DEDs) with the Department of Energy and ESKOM respectively.

DE 1: Capacity Development for Energy Sector Planning with the DoE

The objective of this Development Engagement was to facilitate the development of a less carbon intensive electricity sector in line with the IEP and IRP by working with the DoE to develop more comprehensive energy planning capabilities that include the efficient deployment and integration of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies within the context of the energy mix.

DE2: Renewable Energy Integration into the National Power System with ESKOM

The objective of this Development Engagement was to facilitate the development of a less carbon intensive power sector by assisting ESKOM to integrate a larger share of RE into the electricity grid. ESKOM is the state owned, vertically integrated power company and the key partner for any development related to RE grid-integration.


The focus of the programme was on four main outputs including some of the key results:


  • Operational flexibility of the national electricity system: energy modelling analysis on the role of enhanced thermal power flexibility in the future South African power system, training for engineers and thermal power operators on advanced thermal power flexibility, and study tours and workshops on ancillary services and measures for enhancing flexibility provision in South Africa, based on Danish experience.
  • Renewable energy generation forecasting: training in Denmark for national control centre operators for increasing exposure to forecasting and dispatching tools and procedures used by the Danish TSO Energinet.
  • Integration of renewable energy generation at distribution level: Training of grid planners on probabilistic analysis and planning in view of high shares of RE into the electricity mix, and training at distribution operation units on operational issues in relation to renewable energy integration in distribution networks.
  • Capacity to progress grid codes: co-development and inputs for the creation of   the Eskom Battery Energy Storage Facility (BESF) grid code, and review of Eskom’s system operational code and scheduling and dispatching rules.



    Phase 3 of the SA-DK Energy Partnership Programme:

    The current phase of the programme is five years from 2020 – 2025, and its strategic objective is to continue to support the energy sector in South Africa to contribute to a transformation to a low carbon intensive energy system. The programme is split into three Development Engagements:

  • DE1: Capacity Development on Renewable Energy Resource Assessment and procurement of Independent Power Production with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and the Independent Power Producer (IPP) Office
  • DE2: Capacity Development on Strategy and Planning with Eskom
  • DE3: Renewable Energy Integration into the Power System with Eskom


Furthermore, the program is closely interlinked with engagement in South African policy development and dialogue with various South African government institutions on the framework conditions for a Just Energy Transition.

For more information on the Danish-South African Energy Partnership, please contact Morten Holm van Donk ([email protected]) or Maleepile Felicity Moseki ([email protected])