Report Fraud at:
0860 565 758

About Energy Secretariat

Energy Secretariat is responsible for ensuring effective monitoring of energy policy specific to the energy landscape and DSI flagship programmes. The four flagship programmes comprise the Coal CO2-X; Energy Storage; Hydrogen South Africa (HySA); and Renewable Sustainable Energy (RSE) Hub and Spokes. Flagship programmes are housed and implemented with local Universities and Science Councils where centres of excellence have been established.

These programmes support the uptake of low carbon technologies and commercialisation of publicly funded Intellectual Property (IP). Large scale deployments in partnership with public, private and academia in support of the Presidential District Model take centre stage, for example the roll out of the hydrogen Platinum Valley. Various oversight committees have been established to promote and ensure effective programme governance.

The Energy Secretariat further monitors the implementation of the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Plan, which is part of department’s Decadal Plan.  The STI considers and builds on the HySA Strategy, Energy Storage RDI, Solar Energy Technology Roadmap, CoalCO2 to X RDI Roadmap, and the Hydrogen Society Roadmap (HSRM). It also monitors the implementation of innovation policies specific to the energy landscape by way of the four flagships.

Large scale deployments in partnership with public, private and academia supportive of the Presidential District Development Model (PDDM) are similarly monitored. For example, the hydrogen Platinum Valley, clean energy deployments in partnership with local and district municipalities, along with other government departments.

It also coordinates training of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and University of Technology (UoT) graduates, focusing on emerging technologies for example fuel cells, batteries, and renewables technologies take centre stage. These initiatives are done in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and Energy Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA).

During the 2018/19 financial year, the NRF review of the Renewable Energy Hub and Spokes was conducted. As part of the management of the Renewable Energy Hub and Spokes Programme, the NRF undertook an independent review to assess the successful implementation of the programme and put in place corrective measures prior to the programme receiving the next phase of funding support.

The outcomes of the NRF review were presented to the DSI. One of the action items from an EXCO meeting included an analysis of how the recommendations of the study could be applied across the broader Energy Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Flagship Programmes, resident within the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) to improve overall performance.

The Ten Year Innovation Plan included an Energy Grand Challenge which focused on advancement towards a knowledge-based economy, using the four elements of increased knowledge generation and exploitation, human capital development, knowledge infrastructure, and enablers to addressing the “innovation chasm” to address the energy trilemma (energy access, environmental sustainability, energy security).

With regard to knowledge generation, South Africa ranks 38th worldwide in the generation of energy publications. However, a different perspective unfolds if one also considers the size of the Research and Development (R&D) workforce. South Africa has higher levels of productivity when compared to the USA (3.28 per 100 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) research workforce; with Japan at 2.99 and 5.75 for the energy component of the National System of Innovation. However, when it comes to the movement of technologies from lab to market by overcoming the innovation chasm, there are challenges in the system such that the conversion into commercial products happens at a rate lower than global averages .

Our Objective

The objective of establishing the Energy Secretariat is to support the successful commercialisation and upscaling of knowledge outputs from the broader energy RDI portfolio and ensuring systemic impact in the National System of Innovation.

Our Scope

The Secretariat is an administrative office that carries out the substantive and administrative work, in this case of the DSI as directed by the Chief Director Hydrogen Energy. The scope of the Secretariat will cover the following DSI energy-related programmes;

  • Hydrogen South Africa;
  • Energy Storage RDI Initiative;
  • Renewable Energy Hub and Spokes;
  • Coal CO2 to X RDI Programme;
  • SAR Chairs programme ;
  • Centres of Competencies

Roles And Responsibilities

The following roles and responsibilities are applicable:

  • Monitoring the implementation of the Energy Science, Technology and Innovation Plan
  • Monitoring the implementation of innovation policies relevant to the energy space
  • Monitoring the role of alternative and emerging technologies within the implementation of relevant policies at both the national, regional and international level
  • Manage and monitor large scale deployments in partnership with Public, private and academia in support of the Presidential District
  • Assist with coordinating the training of TVET graduates and University of Technology (UoT) graduates on emerging technologies (i.e. fuel cells, batteries
  • Advocate on behalf of emerging and young researchers, as well as RDI programmes with key stakeholders so that knowledge outputs can be assisted towards commercialisation
  • Assist consortiums in applying for and leveraging national and international funding to speed up the process of commercialisation

The Energy Research Development and Implementation Flagship program CoalCO2-X aims to demonstrate technology that can capture CO2 from the flue gas of coal fired power plants and convert together with (green) energy to commercially relevant products. This is a renewable energy carrier for both local demand and emerging global renewables trade. Associated products are produced using international and locally developed Intellectual Property (IP). The project supports government’s goal to increase mineral beneficiation of Platinum Group Metal (PGM) ores, by creating a local hydrogen consumption industry. It similarly seeks to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plant in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Energy Storage programme supports research and development of energy storage technologies. Technologies include lithium-ion batteries which support stationary and mobile applications. The abundance of high-quality manganese ore and other relevant battery minerals like lithium, nickel, and cobalt in neighbouring countries. The objective of this research is to develop value-added precursor materials, like lithium manganese oxide and lithium nickel manganese cobalt. Such research involves computational modelling, precursor material development, cell manufacturing, and battery testing through a consortium of universities and science councils. These institutions include the University of Limpopo, the University of the Western Cape, the University of the Witwatersrand, Nelson Mandela University, the CSIR and NECSA.

The Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) programme originated from the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies (HFCT): – Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) Strategy. Cabinet approved this strategy in May 2007. The 15-year Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) programme was subsequently launched and located at various Universities and Science Councils. Initial efforts focused on local beneficiation of Platinum Group Metal (PGM) resources. This programme contributes actively to energy security, and is linked to renewable energy resources, like solar and wind. It further supports South Africa’s ambition to be a global exporter of green hydrogen. The programme develops components along the HFCT value chain. For example, platinum-based catalysts and membrane electrode assemblies.

The Renewable and Sustainable Energy (RSE) Hub and Spokes programme was established in the 2006/07 Financial Year (FY). The programme supports research and technological innovation which advances Renewable Energy (RE) technologies and skills development at a postgraduate level, thus increasing the knowledge base. Stellenbosch University (SU) hosts the RSE Hub. SU represents the hub, while spokes are located at various local universities. The Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Spoke is located at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and University of Fort Hare (UFH). The Solar Thermal (ST) Spoke is co-hosted by the University of Pretoria (UP) and SU. The Wind Energy Spoke on the other hand, is located at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and SU. The programme stimulates new science, technology, and innovation-based industries in support of government policies and plans.

See more