Eskom and Électricité de France (EDFsigned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) yesterday, 31 March, to extend peer cooperation in the fields of transmission and distribution of electricity.
This agreement follows constructive interactions initiated in November 2015 with a grant amounting to €450 000 (~R 6,100,000) provided by the French Development Agency (AFD). This funding facilitated a transfer of experience and expertise on various areas specific to power utilities activities, ranging from smart grids to renewable energy integration, including transformer asset management. It also generated key recommendations to improve Eskom performance in terms of system efficiency and reliability. The knowledge exchange was between EDF and Eskom.
This FEXTE (Fund for Technical Expertise and Experience Transfers) partnership spanned over a year from November 2015 to December 2016 and comprised thirteen sessions – consisting of seminars, workshops and study tours – organized in France and in South Africa. The purpose of the FEXTE partnership was to initiate an in-depth and sustainable dialogue between both utilities on the topics of transmission and distribution business; and it emphasized the role of AFD as a partner in energy efficiency, performance enhancement, and climate-change oriented projects.
Eskom revealed that the MoU between Eskom and EDF significantly strengthens the long-standing relationship between the two peers, which dates back 40 years ago with the construction of the Koeberg nuclear power plant in the Western Cape Province. “Eskom is pleased that the FEXTE grant funding opportunity has deepened the technical skills of our engineers in various areas of electricity transmission and distribution. The bilateral field visits were an eye-opener,” Eskom’s acting Group Executive for Generation, Willy Majola, said . “We have observed that our French partners also learnt a few things about how we design and manage electrical networks in South Africa.”
AFD Regional Director Martha Stein-Sochas said: “AFD is proud to have funded the technical expertise exchange partnership between EDF and ESKOM. Both the utilities have benefited from this exchange – as evidenced by the execution of the MoU. The expertise exchange is one of the numerous mechanisms that we employ to support SOCs in meeting some of the challenges they are facing and fulfilling their public service mission.”
EDF Southern Africa General Manager Mario Bernardo said: “From an exclusive nuclear partnership that started with the construction of Koeberg station, the EDF Group and Eskom have diversified their peer to peer collaboration with the electrification of Khayelitsha in the 90s, thermal generation and associated skills development since 2007. We are proud to enlarge our scope of work with network related activities in order to encompass the entire value chain. EDF is looking forward to new exciting path with its long term partner Eskom.”