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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Tanzania to sign deal this week for $3bn power plant – President

Tanzania will sign a deal this week for the construction of a $3-billion hydroelectric power plant, the president said in remarks broadcast on state television on Tuesday. President John Magufuli did not name the company awarded the contract for the power plant and dam to be built in the Selous Game Reserve, a UN-designated world heritage site in southern Tanzania. Government sources told Reuters the contract would be signed with Egypt's Arab Contractors.

15 on Orange’s PVT energy system now fully operational

The newly installed Solarus energy system on the roof of the 15 on Orange Hotel, in Cape Town, is now fully operational. According to a statement issued on Tuesday, the hybrid photovoltaic and thermal (PVT) project is currently the largest in Cape Town and is a system that provides the luxury hotel with both heat and electricity.

DLO Energy Resources invests in 30 MW solar plant in Nigeria

South African clean energy development company DLO Energy Resources Group is investing in a solar farm project in Nigeria’s Kaduna state to power its green industrial zone. DLO MD and founder Linda Mabhena-Olagunju and Kaduna state Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai this week signed a memorandum of understanding to build lower-cost, utility-scale solar-electric generating facilities.

Attracting investors to green technology in the Atlantis SEZ

The Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which has been launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa, has already attracted R680-million in investment and created 312 jobs.  A large slice of the investment was contributed by wind tower manufacturer Gestamp Renewable Industries.

Ventilation key to genset safety

Gensets that are stored indoors should be stationed in a well ventilated area to avoid the temperature of the genset rising too high, says fire risk management and support company ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk.

Sugar dumping remains a crisis for industry

While national government has shown a willingness to protect the sugar industry against corrosive trade-dumping practices, nonprofit anti-dumping organisation FairPlay founder Francois Baird emphasises that government’s ineffective administrative processes have made its previous attempts at intervention inadequate. “The South African sugar industry has been in decline and under serious threat, owing to an onslaught of subsidised and dumped imports, which are taking a rapidly increasing share of the local market.”

Local manufacturer supplies backup power to new Sandton development

Local manufacturer Zest WEG Group’s Cape Town-based generator set (genset) division is in the process of commissioning two 11 kV, 2 000 kVA gensets for a mixed-use property development in Sandton, Gauteng. The full scope of work includes the design, manufacture, complete installation and testing of the units, as well as commissioning. The gensets will be installed in a dedicated plant room. Zest WEG Group COO Louis Kotze says the company is well placed to offer improved access to locally manufactured fit-for-purpose generator sets. “Standard off-the-shelf diesel generator sets as well as custom-built application specific units are readily available, in either stationary or mobile configurations from 10 kVA prime power up to 3 350 kVA emergency standby power and can be increased upwards with multiple synchronised sets.”

TwinPower generator doubles the power, flexibility of containerised gensets

Sustainable productivity solutions provider Atlas Copco Power Technique’s new prime power TwinPower containerised generators, the QAC 1100 and QAC 1450, are a well-suited power solution for applications requiring variable power needs. “The economic viability of the two models means that end-users receive twice the power and double the flexibility on a single compact platform,” says Atlas Copco Power Technique business line manager for portable products David Stanford.

Eskom to increase OCGT use at certain power stations

Although the risk of rotational load-shedding during the festive season is high, State-owned power utility Eskom will resort to increasingly using open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) at certain power stations to minimise the risk of load-shedding.

South Africa should not be over-reliant on renewable energy for its future electricity needs

The proposal of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2018 that wind, solar and gas generation account for a combined total of 42% of South Africa’s total installed electricity capacity by 2030 was most unwise, AFRA-NEST Regional Coordinator Dr Anthonie Cilliers has warned. (AFRA stands for the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology, while NEST is the acronym for Network for Education in Nuclear Science and Technology.) He stressed that renewables had a place in the country’s energy mix, but that South Africa should not overestimate the contribution they would make. Under IRP 2018, by 2030 solar energy power stations using photovoltaic panels would account for 10% of the country’s total installed electricity generation capacity, with concentrated solar power adding another 1%, while wind power stations would account for 15%. Gas power plants would provide 16%. The problem was that, worldwide, the actual contribution of renewables to daily electricity generation was much lower than their installed capacity, meaning that, in practice, South Africa would be heavily dependent on gas-generated electricity. And South Africa had, as yet, no domestic source of gas (it was not yet known if the country had any commercially viable shale gas reserves). Nor could anyone forecast what the gas price would be in the future.

EVs to become main driver of battery storage deployment over next decade, says Fitch Solutions

The electric vehicle (EV) market is set to become the main driver of surging battery storage deployment over the next decade, following increasing ambitions by developed and emerging markets to decarbonise their transport sectors, and will have a substantial disruptive effect on how energy is generated and consumed, while becoming a vast source of demand for metals. This is according to analysis and consultancy company Fitch Solutions, which, on Tuesday, held a webinar focused on discussing the quantifying impact of EVs across sectors.

Sener advocates for IRP policy adjustment to cater for ‘reliable, carbon-free’ CSP

Spanish technology group Sener, which has overseen the construction of three concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in South Africa and 29 in total internationally, is urging the South African government to reconsider CSP’s exclusion from the final version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). Sener Southern Africa regional MD Siyabonga Mbanjwa believes a specific policy adjustment should be made to the IRP to cater for the carbon-free technology, despite the fact that CSP plants, which can operate even when the sun sets, currently generate electricity at tariffs higher than those outlined in the least-cost mix favoured in the draft IRP 2018.

Kenya starts construction of 83 MW geothermal plant

Kenya has started building a geothermal power plant to add 83 MW of capacity to the national grid, the state-owned power generation utility said on Tuesday.  Geothermal power is Kenya's second largest source of electricity after hydroelectric power. The country has total installed power capacity of about 2 336 MW.

Pollutec covers full spectrum of environmental industry

Environmental trade show Pollutec concluded a successful fortieth anniversary, in Lyon, France, last week. This year’s event saw an increase in the number of international exhibitors and also hosted three new pavilions – Korea, Hungary and Italy.

DST hosts hydrogen fuel cell technology conference

Global stakeholders in the multibillion-dollar fuel cell industry will meet in Pretoria this week for the thirtieth Steering Committee Meeting of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE). The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will host the meeting from December 4 to 7, as it looks to develop the local fuel cells market.

African renewables IPP to list on Mauritian Stock Exchange

Independent power producer (IPP) Africa Clean Energy Solutions (Aces) will list on the Mauritian Stock Exchange on December 14. The company will issue up to 600 000 new shares prior to the initial listing date.

100 MW Karoshoek Solar One CSP project commissioned in Northern Cape

The 100 MW Karoshoek Solar One project was commissioned on November 30 – the latest success in government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Karoshoek is a concentrated solar project (CSP) that harvests the sun’s energy through a series of concave mirrors. Using this energy to heat high temperature fluid, the plant then drives a steam turbine to convert the energy into electricity.

100 MW CSP project, developed by black-owned IPP, enters commercial operation

A new 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, developed by black-owned independent power producer (IPP) Emvelo, officially entered into commercial operation this week, providing Eskom with a new dispatchable generation option at a time of severe supply-side constraints. Located in Upington, in the Northern Cape, the R11-billion Ilanga CSP1 plant employs parabolic-trough technology and incorporates five hours of storage, which enables the power station to dispatch electricity during the evening peak and long after the sun sets.

First institutional anaerobic digester launched at NPO’s Johannesburg premises

To promote renewable energy as a cost-effective technology in a world facing the impact of climate change and global warming, the University of South Africa, diversified miner Exxaro Resources and the South African National Energy Development Institution on Wednesday launched its first institutional anaerobic digester at nonprofit organisation EARTH Centre’s premises, in Johannesburg. Making use of a sustainable water supply, including grey water, these anaerobic digesters will be used as a source of fuel for cooking in households, schools and community organisations, and will not only vastly improve people’s standard of living but will also help the environment by minimising organic waste.

Zambia targets 200 MW of solar power to reduce hydro dependency

Zambia is seeking proposals from potential developers of solar power projects with a combined 200 MW capacity as it tries to diversify its energy mix away from hydroelectric power. Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa said in a statement at an investment conference on Tuesday that the 200 MW would be split into small projects, each with a maximum size of 20 MW.

Eurasian Resources Group secures electricity supply for DRC copper mine

Diversified natural resources group Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) has concluded an agreement with electricity company Société Nationale d’Électricité (SNEL) for the supply of 41 MW of electricity for its Frontier mine, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). SNEL will source the electricity from Zambia's State-owned electricity company Zesco.   The Frontier mine, situated on the DRC–Zambia border, is an opencast copper mine with processing facilities capable of treating more than ten-million tonnes a year of copper sulphide.

Resolute procures 40 MW solar hybrid power plant for Syama

ASX-listed Resolute Mining has signed a joint development agreement with power project financier, developer and operator Ignite Energy Projects for the development of a 40 MW independent solar hybrid power plant at its Syama gold mine, in Mali. The power plant, which will be operational by the end of 2020, will combine solar, battery and heavy fuel oil technologies and will replace the existing 28 MW diesel-fired power station at the mine.

100 MW Kathu CSP to enter commercial operation in early 2019

The 100 MW Kathu Solar Park concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, in the Northern Cape, has been synchronised to the national grid and the power station is expected to enter into full commercial operation in early 2019. Construction of the parabolic-trough CSP plant began in May 2016, following the project’s selection, in December 2014, as a preferred bidder during Bid Window 3.5 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

Study under way to help shape policy needed to transition from coal-based to renewable energy ...

As more renewable energy capacity is added globally, thermal coal-fired power stations are likely to, in future, operate only for short periods of time to balance the shortfall in electricity when renewable capacity is not available, University of Johannesburg professor Bilainu Oboirien said at the Fossil Fuel Foundation’s Clean Coal Technologies conference, on Wednesday. He noted, however, that the start-up costs of coal power stations during load cycling can be high and suggested that those costs can be reduced through the use of cheap alternative fuels.

Big plans afoot for training more young people in renewable energy

The South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec), which provides training for wind turbine service technicians and which has recently expanded into training solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, has been officially launched in Cape Town. The sophisticated and state-of-the-art training centre is based at the Bellville campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

South Africa’s coal output continues to decline

XMP Consulting senior coal analyst Xavier Prevost expects South Africa’s coal production to soon “drop drastically” as a result of low investment in new coal mining capacity and older mines reaching the end of their lives. Speaking to Mining Weekly Online on the sidelines of the Fossil Fuel Foundation’s conference on clean coal technologies, in Glenhove, on Tuesday, he said South Africa was at “a point of transition”.

The battery boom to attract $620bn in investment by 2040

The battery boom is coming to China, California and basically everywhere else – and it will be even bigger than previously thought. The global energy-storage market will surge to a cumulative 942 GW by 2040, according to a new forecast from Bloomberg NEF published on November 13, and that growth will necessitate $620-billion in investment.

Upcoming protest not the first amid talks of transition away from coal – SAWEA

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has defended the industry’s job creation potential. This comes ahead of a peaceful march by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which is planned for November 17, to protest potential job losses in the coal-fired power generation sector as a result of South Africa’s plans to increase its use of renewable energy sources.

Policy support needed for development of sustainable alternative energy sources – SAEEC

Although natural gas is about 60% cleaner than coal in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, it currently contributes only 1.5% of the country’s total primary energy needs. Even through the National Development Plan (NDP) aims to delink economic development from environmental decay and carbon-intensive energy, while promoting social advancement, there is still no natural gas-focused policy in place. Strategic Fuel Fund South Africa corporate services GM Marion de Wet on Wednesday discussed the causality between a supportive policy and regulatory framework and the sustainable development of a South African natural gas economy at the South African Energy Efficiency Confederation (SAEEC) conference.

Vanadium batteries the solution to meet growing energy storage demand – Bushveld

Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) are a front-runner technology for meeting the growing demand in the energy storage sector, says Bushveld Energy CEO Mikhail Nikomarov. During a webinar on energy storage this week, he noted that data by US-based multiservice professional firm Navigant shows that VRFB demand is expected to increase to over 18 000 MWh by 2027.

SA needs to consider oil underinvestment, variable renewables implications

Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about the possible implications for South Africa of a global underinvestment in oil production, as well as the growing need to introduce flexibility in power markets.

Flexibility to take on ‘unprecedented importance’ as renewables rise

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that higher shares of variable renewable energy in electricity systems will require a “step change” in the requirement for flexibility, which is the capability to balance electricity supply and demand at all times so as to keep the lights burning. The agency, which released its World Energy Outlook 2018 report this week, is forecasting that electricity will become the “fuel of choice” and is poised to play a greater role in transportation, through electric vehicles, as well as in heating and cooling.

Electrifying the world no panacea for global warming, IEA says

Driving electric cars and scrapping your natural gas-fired boiler won’t make a dent in global carbon emissions, and may even increase pollution levels. Higher electrification may lead to oil demand peaking by 2030, but any reduction in emissions from the likes of electric vehicles will be offset by the increased use of power plants to charge them, according to the International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook, which plots different scenarios of future energy use.

Wind energy OEMs call to boost procurement gap; promise to boost localisation

Major manufacturers and suppliers of wind energy turbines and equipment to South Africa are relieved that the wind industry is on a roll again, but have called on the government to close the procurement gap in the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The current draft IRP has a gap in the years 2022, 2023 and 2024, when no wind energy will be procured.

Lazard says ‘inflection point’ reached making new renewables cheaper than existing coal

A new US study comparing the costs of energy from various generation technologies indicates that an “inflection point” has been reached where, in some cases, it is more cost effective to build and operate new renewable-energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants. The finding is contained in Lazard’s latest ‘Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) Analysis’, which the financial advisory firm compiles yearly. The report has been released together with the company’s latest ‘Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis’, which points to significant cost declines across most use cases and technologies.

Nordex to install more turbines at four South African wind farms

Wind turbine designer and manufacturer Nordex will double the number of local employees and install another 174 wind turbines on four wind farm sites in South Africa. Nordex South Africa MD Anne Henschel said the investment followed the signing of Round 4 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), in which Nordex was awarded four projects and an additional 547 MW of wind capacity.

Wind energy industry commits to investing in South Africa

South Africa’s wind energy industry has adopted a charter, which commits to long-term investment in the development of the country. A commitment statement drafted by members of the industry was adopted at an annual general meeting of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in Cape Town. It comes in the wake of a transition to an energy mix that will reflect a greater inclusion of renewables.