Feasibility Study of Hydrokinetic Power for Energy Access in Rural South Africa

Kanzumba Kusakana and Herman Vermaak


Hydrokinetic power, renewable energy, rural electrification, South Africa


Renewable energy advocates, the South African Government and investors are more and more becoming aware of stream, river currents and their enormous associated energy potential. Since hydrokinetic power generation (HKP) relies basically on the extraction of energy from the natural velocity of free lowing water, this power system can be categorised as sources of flowing water with minimal civil infrastructure, environmental impacts and costs. This study investigates the possibility of using and developing hydrokinetic power to extend the reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies for rural, remote and isolated loads in rural South Africa where reasonable water resource is available. Simulations are performed using the Hybrid Optimisation Model for Electric Renewable (HOMER) and the results are compared to those from other supply options such as standalone Photovoltaic system (PV), diesel generator (DG) and grid extension. Finally the paper points out some major challenges that are facing the development of this technology in South Africa.

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