Watts in Store

Part 1: Explainer on how energy storage can help South Africa's electricity crisis

South Africa has an electricity crisis where national supply is often unable to meet demand, leading to regular, planned power cuts. This report aims to explain how energy storage can provide a wide range of benefits to a constrained power system, and why grid-located batteries emerge as a strategic priority in the short term.

  • The declining performance of South Africa's coal fleet and grid constraints to adding new power plants reinforce the need for measures like energy storage that can maximize the use of existing infrastructure.

  • Energy storage—and particularly batteries in the short term—can help balance electricity supply and demand, improve grid stability, and boost energy providers' financial returns.

  • South Africa needs national and municipal grid storage strategies that will provide a positive signal to the energy storage industry that it can develop local supply chains.

Watts in Store Part 1 is the first in a two-part series about energy storage in South Africa. It explores how energy storage can contribute to solving the electricity crisis in South Africa, summarizes seven key benefits for the country, and gives the status quo of current plans and projects. International trends point to the rapid growth in grid-located batteries, and Part 2 of this series will take a deeper look at grid-located batteries in South Africa: how to maximize benefits, minimize risks, and create a more enabling environment for deployment.

Report details

Climate Change Mitigation
Just Transition
Technology and Innovation
South Africa
Focus area
IISD, 2023