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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Enel starts conversion to new PV panel manufacturing technology at Italy factory

Multinational renewable-energy corporation Enel Green Power has started a technology conversion project at its 3SUN factory, in Catania, Italy, to enable the facility to become the exclusive manufacturer of heterojunction technology (HJT) bifacial photovoltaic (PV) panels. The HJT bifacial PV panels feature the junction of two different kinds of silicon - amorphous and crystalline - allowing for particularly high yields.

15 MW Essakane hybrid plant inaugurated in Burkina Faso

The 15 MW Essakane solar plant, in northern Burkina Faso, has been officially opened. The photovoltaic (PV) plant will supply electricity to Iamgold's Essakane gold mine.

AfDB teams up with international organisation to drive solar development in Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a joint declaration with the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to promote the development of solar energy in Africa. The joint declaration recognises the bank's leadership in working with several parties, including governments, the private sector and bilateral and multilateral energy sector initiatives to develop the Transformative Partnership on Energy for Africa.

Wind body dismisses as ‘false’ link between IPPs and tariffs surge

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has dismissed as a “falsehood” claims by the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) and Transform RSA that the 27 renewable-energy projects, which the two organisations are seeking to block through a court challenge, will raise the cost of electricity in South Africa. Earlier this week, the Department of Energy refrained from overseeing the signing of 27 renewable energy projects as planned, owing to the legal challenge, which will be heard on March 27.

Namibian PV solar plant to start operating in September

Solar developer Alten Africa has achieved financial closure of what will be the biggest photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in Namibia and one of the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Renewables advisory firm still bullish on South African prospects despite setbacks

International renewable-energy advisory firm K2 Management remains convinced that, despite recent setbacks, the role of wind and solar will continue to rise in the South African electricity mix. Therefore, the company is preparing to expand its presence in the country, as well as the rest of Africa. Headquartered in Denmark, K2 Management has 15 global offices, from where its 170 employees have been directly involved in more than 1 400 wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in over 40 countries.

Eaton launches Wadeville microgrid using second-hand car batteries for storage

Power management multinational Eaton has launched a microgrid that powers its factory and campus in Wadeville, Gauteng, using second-hand lithium-ion electric car batteries for its storage component. The batteries come from Nissan Leaf electric vehicles driven in Europe, and have about 4.5 years of operational life left. The batteries are converted and integrated into Eaton’s energy storage system xStorage, which also manages the variability of the power sources.

PEWA to set stage for African energy investment once again

With 600-million people in Africa not having access to electricity, the onus is on Power & Electricity World Africa (PEWA) to provide the platform that will encourage investment in infrastructure and grid connection across Africa.

PV monitoring solutions cater for increasing solar use

Leading Germany-based solar monitoring, smart energy and feed-in management company Solar-Log will showcase its professional solution for qualified photovoltaic (PV) system monitoring and energy management at the Power & Electricity World Africa (PEWA) event on March 27 and 28, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Gauteng.

Waste-to-energy significant to Africa’s energy mix

Integrated infrastructure delivery company AECOM says waste-to-energy (WtE) electricity conversion can play a significant role in the future of Africa’s energy mix, providing extra support to fossil-fuel baseload power stations.

Numsa supports renewable energy, wants job security

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Thursday said its opposition to Eskom’s power purchase agreements with independent power producers (IPPs) was because the State had not consulted workers on the impact of the deal. Numsa and Transform RSA used the courts to block the long-awaited signing of agreements with 27 renewable IPPs on Monday night.

NUM welcomes delay in signing of agreements with IPPs

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Wednesday welcomed government’s decision, on Tuesday, to hold off on the signing of power purchase agreements with 27 independent power producers (IPPs).

Legal challenge not end of the road for renewables

Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about the latest delay in the signing of power purchase agreements with 27 independent power producers and how this impacts on the electricity debate in South Africa.

China's EximBank approves $1.3bn for Guinea hydro plant

China's EximBank has approved $1.3-billion in financing for a 450 MW hydroelectric plant in Guinea that the West African country's government hopes will allow it to export electricity to neighbouring countries. State-owned EximBank first agreed to fund construction of the Souapiti dam, about 50 km (31 miles) outside the capital Conakry, in 2007 but the project did not get off the ground as Guinea experienced a period of political instability.

BP outlines the prospects for global energy demand

India is rapidly emerging as the world’s largest growth market for energy, says BP West Africa head of origination John Goodridge. He told the annual African Refiners & Distributors (ARA) conference, in Cape Town, that while growth in energy demand in China was tapering off, demand in India would continue to rise rapidly.

Pro-Zuma group blocks energy deals in blow to Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa was dealt a political blow on Tuesday, after a last-minute legal challenge by a group loyal to ousted leader Jacob Zuma blocked the signing of $4.7-billion in renewable energy deals. The North Gauteng High Court agreed to hold a full hearing on the challenge on March 27 after the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) and Transform RSA, a group which has lobbied for Zuma in the past, on Monday argued the deals would lead to coal-sector job losses and should be scrapped.

Legal challenge a hurdle, but 'not end of the road' for renewables

The excitement associated with Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s move to end two years of confidence-sapping uncertainty in South Africa’s independent power producer (IPP) market, turned to frustration on Tuesday when the signing of agreements for 27 renewable-energy projects was voluntarily delayed by government following a legal challenge. The legal objection arose from an unlikely partnership between National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Transform RSA, which approached the court to prevent power utility Eskom from concluding power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the IPPs on March 13 as planned. Hitherto, Numsa and Transform RSA have been on opposing ends of the political spectrum, with Numsa participating in calls for the removal of President Jacob Zuma and Transform RSA stongly supporting the former President.

South African court grants union interdict blocking renewable energy deal

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa said it had obtained an urgent court interdict preventing power utility Eskom from signing renewable energy contracts on Tuesday with 27 independent power producers (IPPs). The move will be a blow for independent producers who say the deals would provide cheaper and more sustainable forms of electricity for the country.

Himoinsa sees demand growth in construction, mining in Africa

Power equipment manufacturer Himoinsa has expanded its local African teams and partners to meet the growing demand for custom-designed power systems and generators in the construction and mining sectors, Himoinsa Europe, Middle East and Africa director Guillermo Elum said on Monday. The demand for efficiency and reliability of power systems used by mining and construction companies on the continent mirrors the global emphasis on hybrid power systems that can use a range of power sources, including renewable energy, storage and grid power, as the needs of the application dictate, he noted.

New energy, environment partnership to further continental economy

A new Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP) trust fund, covering Southern and East Africa was launched on Monday, with a combined commitment of €25-million from Finland and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). The EEP is a multidonor fund providing early-stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models.

Conference to shed light on CO2-based production technologies

The sixth edition of the international Carbon Dioxide as Feedstock for Fuels, Chemicals and Polymers conference will take place in Cologne, Germany in mid-March. More than 200 industry and research experts are expected to attend the symposium. Organiser, independent institute Nova-Institute, has once more managed to attract leading international speakers, who will discuss the latest developments in this future-oriented field.

Fund invests in Africa-focused renewables IPP

Clean energy infrastructure and resource efficiency investment company Inspired Evolution has signed a deal to invest up to $36-million in independent power producer (IPP) Alten Renewable Energy Developments Africa, which is the sub-Saharan Africa-focused subsidiary of Netherlands-based solar photovoltaic (PV) developer Alten Energias Renovables.

NPC engages stakeholders on South Africa’s future energy mix

The National Planning Commission (NPC) on Thursday hosted a roundtable discussion on its energy paper, which was released in February. The discussion covered mainly coal and carbon pricing, the end-state of the electricity industry, nuclear energy, the integration of renewables into the national grid and whether or not the lifespan of existing coal-fired power stations should be extended.

Radebe ends years of IPP uncertainty, unlocks R56bn in renewables investment

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe moved decisively on Thursday to end the confidence-sapping uncertainty that has hung over South Africa’s independent power producer (IPP) programmes for more than two years, announcing that project agreements for 27 stalled renewable-energy projects would be signed on March 13. The solar and wind projects, valued at R56-billion, were procured in 2015 under bid windows 3.5 and 4 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme ...

New rules needed to facilitate transition to decentralised electricity system – Tau

South African Local Government Association (Salga) president Parks Tau has called for an overhaul of the policy and regulations governing electricity supply in South Africa to facilitate a transition towards a more decentralised electricity system. Addressing a well-attended Salga Energy Summit in Sandton, Tau said the shift from a centralised supply model could not be avoided, nor could a fundamental restructuring of the “unsustainable” large-scale utility business model.

Minigrids gradually becoming more connected in Africa

Emerging power generation networks, which are minigrids that are off the grid, are gradually becoming more connected and providing a directional generation of supply to the demand in Africa, where about 625-million people are still without access to power. At a media roundtable discussion on Wednesday, GIBB power and energy services GM Paul Fitzsimons explained that the industry is shifting away from the traditional centrally-driven and controlled power generation model, towards minigrids that are driven by the emergence of smaller scale off-grid embedded renewable generation technologies.

Commission approves Thebe Renewable Energy’s acquisition of four energy firms

The Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that Thebe Renewable Energy Holdings’s proposed acquisition of Phembani Solar Energy, Phembani Renewables, Shanduka Black Umbrellas Energy and Pulida Energy, be approved.

AfDB secures $52.5m to fund renewable energy projects in Zambia

The board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved the first funding proposal of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for Zambia’s renewable energy financing framework, providing a $50-million loan and a $2.5-million grant.

Renewable energy procurement programme notches up successes despite delays

A recent report has shown that 112 projects have been procured through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), with 62 of those having started commercial operations by December 31, 2017. The total infrastructure investment from 64 signed projects totals R142-billion, says the report that was compiled by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Independent Power Producers Office, the Department of Energy and the National Treasury.

DoE says renewable energy receiving ‘urgent attention’, Minister to brief the media on ...

The Department of Energy (DoE) has promised that the signing of the outstanding power purchase agreements with renewable energy independent power producers (IPP) is receiving “very urgent attention” and would happen soon. Director General of the DoE Thabane Zulu on Tuesday told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Energy that the Energy Minister Jeff Radebe was being briefed about the programme this week.

South Africa catching up with global energy transition – SAWEA

To grow its green economy industrial base and benefit from the continued decline in renewable prices achieved globally, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) suggests South Africa should urgently restart its large-scale renewables industry, which has been stalled over the past three years.

Cape Town launches two landfill gas projects, working towards more

The City of Cape Town’s Department of Solid Waste Management on Friday launched gas extraction and flaring systems at the Coastal Park and Bellville South landfills, while a similar system is under development at the Vissershok South landfill. Each system comprises a wellfield made up of a combination of vertical and horizontal wells, well heads, condensate traps, pipelines, gas blowers, measuring instrumentation and a gas flare, the Department of Solid Waste Management said in a statement.

Pros of on-site solar PV systems

On-site solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable-energy systems serve as effective and cost-effective ways for companies to become familiar with the correct application of renewable generation to reduce energy costs, says South African information and communication technology company Sizwe IT Group fibre and facility management executive Rudi Fourie. These systems allow for induction into mixed-energy models because they help to introduce and reinforce the correct behaviour to leverage renewable energy sources effectively. Solar PV systems are well suited to offset grid power used for a company’s baseload demand such as servers and other constant loads.

Bosch completes Hytec takeover, strengthens African operations

Industrial technology and equipment multinational Bosch has acquired the remaining 50% stake in Johannesburg-based industrial technology company Hytec. The company had acquired 50% of the Hytec shares in 2014.

New power generation exemption framework creates fresh hurdles for IPPs

A warning has been sounded that recent amendments to the Electricity Regulation Act relating to licence exemptions for generation plants could create further impediments to the deployment of private generation facilities. Titled ‘Licensing Exemption and Registration Notice’, the amendment was published in the Government Gazette of November 10, 2017, and signed by former Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, who occupied the position ahead of David Mahlobo, who himself has since been replaced by Jeff Radebe. In fact, the amendment was initiated during Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s stint at Energy Minister.

Eskom says will engage with ratings agencies following downgrade by S&P’s

Power utility Eskom will continue to engage with ratings agencies and various stakeholders on the implementation and progress of its turnaround strategy, the State-owned entity’s acting CFO said on Wednesday. This follows after Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) downgraded Eskom to CCC+.

Gabon accuses France's Veolia of polluting amid concession dispute

Gabon accused French environmental services group Veolia on Tuesday of widespread pollution at SEEG, the power and water utility it operates there, amid a growing dispute over the company's concession. Veolia, which has already threatened legal action after the government seized SEEG earlier this month and said it would cancel its concession, rejected the accusations.