Eskom has signed phase 2 of the Eskom Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI) funding agreement, in collaboration with the Universities of Cape Town, Witwatersrand, North-West, Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal and Stellenbosch, in partnership with a further seven other universities. The signing ceremony was held on 19 July 2016 at the POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa 2016 Conference.
During the first five-years of the EPPEI programme, which started in 2012, Eskom invested R129-million, to fund eight Specialisation Centres at the six universities, which resulted in 134 publications been published and 44 Eskom Employees graduating with Master’s Degrees.
Over and above the EPPEI investment, Eskom has invested R 75 million of Research and Testing funds in South African universities since 2012. Furthermore, Eskom is currently sponsoring a learner pipeline of 1 537 artisans, 864 engineers, 373 plant operators and 472 technicians, at a cost of R123-million. Eskom has also supported 908 employees performing engineering work through further studies at a cost of R 32-million over the last five years. This investment in skills development demonstrates Eskom’s commitment and the key role that Eskom plays in supporting the sustainability of the power industry within South Africa.
Phase 2 of the EPPEI programme aims to produce 300 Masters and PhD graduates. Furthermore, EPPEI Phase 2 will also focus on upskilling 1 000 students with B-Tech qualifications and artisanal skills. EPPEI Phase 2 will run from 2017 to 2021, committing R155 million over five years.
Starting in January 2017, EPPEI Phase 2 will execute and enhance eight inter-university programmes that will integrate research efforts. This will create synergy between academic research and practical application, on inter-disciplinary technical challenges at Eskom. The programme primarily targets Eskom engineers and seeks to enhance the utility’s niche engineering skills within nine specialisation centres focused on:
- Energy Efficiency at the University of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
- Combustion Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg
- Emissions Control at North-West University, Vaal University of Technology, University of Venda
- Materials Science and Mechanics at the University of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
- Asset Management at the University of Pretoria, Tswane University of Technology
- High Voltage Engineering (AC) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Vaal University of Technology
- High Voltage Engineering (DC) and Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban University of Technology
- Renewable Energy at Stellenbosch University, Cape Peninsula University
- Nuclear Engineering – host University to be decided during phase 2
The launch of EPPEI phase 2 will be a flagship initiative in ensuring an all-inclusive development of engineering skills and specialisation within the energy sector. Mr Matshela Koko, Group Executive of Generation and Technology stated “we as Eskom are excited and gearing ourselves for positioning Eskom as one of the Top 5 performing utilities globally, and we envisage ourselves as having the most versatile and robust engineering capabilities on the African continent. Specialised skills developed through the EPPEI programme will continue to help Eskom deal with the challenges of managing ageing power stations, while delivering on our new build projects. With the synergies between the various Universities, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Eskom, EPPEI phase 2 is destined for outstanding results.”