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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Radebe willing to use his legislative powers to unlock short-term private power projects

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe signalled his willingness on Tuesday to use his legislative powers to facilitate the introduction of private electricity supply alternatives that could reduce the threat of load-shedding by Eskom in the in the short- to medium-term. Addressing DLO Africa Power Roundtable Conference in Johannesburg, Radebe said he would consider attaching a short-term action plan to the longer-term generation blueprint that would be provided by the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is currently under consideration by the social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).   

Global emissions hit record as energy demand boosts fuel use

Carbon emissions from fossil-fuel use hit a record last year after energy demand grew at its fastest pace in a decade, reflecting higher oil consumption in the US and more coal burning in China and India. Those findings from the International Energy Agency mark a setback for the effort to rein in the pollution blamed for global warming just three years after a landmark deal in Paris where all nations committed to cut emissions.

DA mayors to ask minister permission to bypass Eskom

Democratic Alliance (DA) mayors will petition Energy Minister Jeff Radebe under Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act for permission to procure electricity directly from independent power producers (IPPs), DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Tuesday. Maimane said it would allow councils run by his party to bypass Eskom and ensure stable electricity supply while the national utility suffers capacity constraints, which led to Stage 4 load-shedding in the last fortnight.

Master Drilling’s full year performance underpinned by Americas, Europe success

JSE-listed Master Drilling expanded its operations to Canada, Turkey, Ghana and Italy and saw growth in Brazil and Mexico during the financial year ended December 31, 2018. This helped to offset headline earnings decreases in a tough African market.

Opinion: If investment is the goal, what should SA’s electricity game plan be?

South Africa has correctly identified the lack of investment as a serious constraint to economic growth and job creation. President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved to address the problem by reaching out to domestic and foreign investors both informally and through the inaugural Investment Conference, which took place in Johannesburg in October 2018. Without question, affordable and reliable electricity is a prerequisite for many investors, particularly in areas such as mining and mineral processing where South Africa has a relative advantage, owing to its natural resources as well as its well-developed capabilities in extracting, processing and exporting the mineral products. Likewise, the country’s reindustrialisation aspirations, as well as its plans to expand the agricultural and agro-processing sectors could well turn not only on security of electricity supply, but also on the pricing of that energy.

Greenpeace opposes Eskom’s application to postpone air quality legislation compliance

Nonprofit organisation Greenpeace Africa on Tuesday reaffirmed its opposition to State-owned Eskom’s application for further postponements and/or suspensions from air quality legislation. The organisation explained that, in the interests of realising the Constitutional right to a healthy environment, no further postponements should be given to the cash-strapped utility or any other entity, when cleaner and safer options are available.

Public-Private Growth Initiative identifies 18 ‘priority projects’ to unlock growth

The Public-Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), an evolving sector-based collaboration between government and business, has earmarked 18 projects across various sectors of the South African economy for priority implementation in the coming months. Minister in the Presidency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reported on Monday that the projects were identified during recent meetings held under the aegis of the PPGI, which currently comprises business representatives from 24 sectors.

Emira on track to achieve environmental sustainability targets – CEO

Diversified real estate investment trust (Reit) Emira Property Fund is continuing its positive impact on environmental sustainability by increasing its use of renewable energy resources, expanding its water efficiency initiatives and phasing out the use of ozone depleting R22 refrigerant gas. The company said in a statement issued this week that it was the first in Africa to have its carbon reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, or SBTi.

PEWA to focus on women and youth participation in energy

The Power & Electricity World Africa (PEWA) conference will focus on innovation, investment, and women and youth participation in energy as it welcomes forty African countries for its twenty-second edition this year.

Solar microleasing platform in deal with clean-energy fund manager

Solar-generation microleasing platform Sun Exchange announced last month that it had signed an agreement with Johannesburg-based boutique clean energy fund manager Decentral Energy, says Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abe Cambridge. The agreement gives Decentral’s Grovest Energy, an Income Tax Act Section 12J fund, first right of refusal to fund 51% to 100% of selected Sun Exchange offtaker projects, as well as to fund any balances after Sun Exchange solar cell crowd-sales are completed.

Equipment supplier to spread its wings outside South Africa

Industrial equipment supplier Vermeer will attend The Solar Show Africa 2019 which is combined with the 2019 Power and Electricity World Africa (PEWA) conference at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 26 and 27, 2019.

PV solar energy the solution to power woes

The energy sector in Africa is under pressure, considering its inability to supply sufficient power for end-users, says photovoltaic (PV) solar industry supplier Valsa Trading MD Svilen Voychev.

Lithium and cobalt risks growing, World Energy Council survey finds

The tenth edition of the World Energy Council’s (WEC’s) World Energy Issues Monitor 2019 highlights that lithium and cobalt will play an increasing role in commodity market risks, which are traditionally dominated by oil and gas price fluctuations. According to the survey, this is one of the four key strategic priorities for energy leaders to consider this year, says WEC secretary general Dr Christoph Frei.

Concurrent events to unfold at PEWA

The Power & Electricity World Africa (PEWA) event brings innovators, disrupters and change agents together to talk and engage in business pertaining to power and electricity.

Lesedi exploring opportunities in Africa at PEWA

Engineering, procurement, project management and maintenance solutions house Lesedi Nuclear Services will, for the second time, attend the Power and Electricity World Africa (PEWA) conference taking place on March 26 to 27.

Africa needs to embrace all forms of energy, says Van Loggerenberg

There is huge demand for electricity in Africa, with about 600-million people on the continent who have no access to electricity.

World Bank, others continue investment in African offgrid projects

While progress has been made in increasing access to electricity in Africa, population growth has also increased considerably and, therefore, more needs to be done to meet the needs of the millions of people on the continent who are still without access to electricity, says Pinsent Masons partner John Woolley. Speaking at the Africa Infrastructure Conference, in Johannesburg, this week, he highlighted that there were a number of substantial World Bank-led offgrid projects in the process of procurement.

Turkey, Romania operations bolster Metair’s operating profit growth in FY18

JSE-listed energy storage solutions and automotive components manufacturer Metair saw a strong contribution from its overseas acquisitions in the energy storage vertical, while also being supported by good volume throughput from the automotive components vertical in the year ended December 31, 2018,. MD Theo Loock said the energy storage vertical was particularly supported by Mutlu Akü, in Turkey, which managed to outperform the Turkish lira currency weakness for a fifth year in a row, and Rombat, in Romania, which operated at full capacity in the second half of the year.

Better planning needed to ensure jobs for skilled persons in water, energy sectors

About 300 000 graduates in the energy and water sectors in South Africa are seeking employment, some of whom even re-enter into learnerships to stay in the economically active loop, says Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority acting CEO Mpho Mookapele. Speaking at the Skills Development Summit, on Tuesday, she questioned where these sectors were going wrong in terms of employing those have received training and skills development. She also suggested that there was something wrong with the skills development system at a national level, with a lack of proper skills planning.

Eskom struggles and tariff hikes strengthen case for distributed generation – SAWEA study

Commissioned against the backdrop of volatility and uncertainty in the electricity landscape, a new study by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has highlighted the role that distributed generation renewable energy (DG-RE) could play in the South African electricity market. The study, which was launched on Monday, examined 14 scenarios in five different South African municipalities.

Opinion: If there are more jobs in renewables, why are coal miners so unhappy?

As outlined previously, an electricity system made up of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, wind farms and flexible generators will employ at least 30% more people than a comparable energy-equivalent coal fleet (see the Transition Talk column in the February 22-28 edition of Engineering News). This net jobs advantage is, however, disguised by the geographically disbursed nature of renewable-energy investments. When juxtaposed against South Africa’s highly concentrated coal industry, which is ...

Energy outlook sees GDP doubling by 2040

With the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) likely to double by 2040 driven by increasing prosperity in fast-growing developing economies, multinational oil and gas company BP states that in the evolving energy transition scenario, this improvement in living standards causes energy demand to increase by around a third over the outlook, driven by India, China and the rest of Asia which together account for two-thirds of the increase.  Despite this increase in energy demand, around two-thirds of the world’s population in 2040 will still live in countries where average energy consumption for every head is relatively low, highlighting the need for ‘more energy’.

Atlantis wind turbine tower manufacturing signals renewables industry’s recovery

Wind turbine tower sections for the 140 MW Kangnas Wind Farm, one of the Round 4 Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) projects, are being manufactured locally, at the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), in the Western Cape. Kangnas Wind Farm said in a statement this week that this signals the recovery of the SEZ that had been set up for green technologies, which according to Green Cape, has already attracted R680-million in green technology investments and has created over 300 jobs.

US’s OPIC provides $10m in finance for solar kit supply in Chad

The US government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), will loan $10-million to support the introduction of offgrid solar kits and appliances in Chad. The loan, extended to a company called FinLux Ellen, will help to distribute solar kits and appliances to individuals, schools, health clinics and small businesses in the African country, providing them with an affordable source of reliable electricity.

Orion mulls solar, wind energy generation options for Prieska project

ASX-listed Orion Minerals on Tuesday announced that it had signed a renewable energy generation collaboration agreement with Juwi Renewable Energies South Africa to investigate the renewable energy generation potential at the Prieska zinc/copper project, in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. The preliminary scope of the collaboration is to assess the feasibility of a dedicated 35 MW solar and wind hybrid power plant for the project.

Togo to subsidise solar energy systems for citizens living in rural areas

Plug-and-play solar system manufacturer BBOXX’s customers in Togo will start receiving a subsidy from government to spend on solar energy. This is the first government subsidy for the purpose of solar energy payments in Africa.

Africa’s first solar-powered desalination plant passes 10 000 kl mark

Africa’s first solar-powered seawater desalination plant, the OSMOSUN plant, designed by Mascara and located in Witsand, in the Hessequa municipality, in the Western Cape, has produced more than 10  000 kl of drinkable water. The plant has been fully operational since December 20, 2018, providing the local population with a steady water supply, especially over the Christmas period.

DBSA granted $100m to establish embedded generation investment programme

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has extended funding of $100-million to the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to establish the Embedded Generation Investment Programme (EGIP). Embedded generation entails the production of electricity from generation facilities that are connected to the national grid, with or without wheeling arrangements.

Radebe sets the record straight on impact of IPP costs on Eskom

Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s statements that independent power producers are not the cause of power utility Eskom’s financial problems and how government intends to approach the expensive renewables plants for which PPAs were signed in 2011/12.

US government agency’s backing of Tetra4 takes project ‘to next level’ – Renergen CEO

Integrated alternative and renewable energy business Renergen on Wednesday announced that the US government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), had approved a $40-million loan facility in favour of Tetra4’s Virginia gasfield project. Tetra4 is a Renergen subsidiary.

Cape Town to petition court to allow electricity purchases from independent producers

The city of Cape Town said on Tuesday it was asking the North Gauteng high court to treat a pending court matter between itself, the energy minister and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa regarding electricity procurement as urgent. Cape Town wants itself and other municipalities across South Africa to purchase cleaner energy directly from independent power producers (IPPs).

SAIPPA welcomes Radebe’s statement on REIPPPP

The South African Independent Power Producer Association (SAIPPA) has welcomed Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s statement regarding the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). During a briefing on Sunday, the Minister discussed the context and chronology of events that shed light on the inclusion of independent power producers (IPPs) and of renewable energy in the South African energy mix.

KenGen gets contract with Ethiopian Electric Power for geothermal drilling

Kenya's KenGen on Monday said it secured a multimillion-shilling contract to provide geothermal drilling services to State-run Ethiopian Electric Power. The power producer's contract with East Africa's largest power producing company is being funded by the World Bank through a loan to the Ethiopian government for 7.6-billion shillings ($76.8-million), KenGen said in a statement.

Zambia, Zimbabwe cut Kariba Dam power generation

Zambia and Zimbabwe reduced power generation to around half capacity at their power stations at the Kariba Dam as water levels in the reservoir fell, Zambia’s State-owned Zesco said on Monday. Zesco spokesperson Henry Kapata said power generation on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides had been restricted to 500 MW each from total capacities of around 1 000 MW.

Radebe says South Africa has no intention of renegotiating renewables PPAs

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe says government has no intention of renegotiating the power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable-energy projects procured in 2011 and 2012, but has left the door open for a “refinancing” of the projects in the interest of lowering the cost of the plants to the consumer. Briefing the media in Pretoria on Sunday, Radebe also mounted a robust defence of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which had been lauded globally, but also singled out by some local stakeholders as posing a major financial risk to Eskom.

Zambia, Zimbabwe shortlist foreign firms to build hydro plant

Zambia and Zimbabwe have shortlisted American, European and Chinese companies to build the Batoka Gorge hydro power plant, the ministry of finance said in statement on Wednesday. Preparatory studies, including engineering feasibility, for the 2 400 MW power station will be completed by end of the first quarter, it said.

Africa still slow to take up EVs, energy storage solutions

Globally, there is a rise in the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) and battery storage systems, especially in regions where there is a lack of constant, reliable energy supply or more economically feasible solutions, Electric Vehicle Industry Association representative Carel Snyman said during a panel discussion on the second day of the Africa Energy Indaba, on Wednesday. Spurred by the adoption of cleaner, but intermittent energy sources, declining prices and regulatory subsidies, battery energy storage systems are being increasingly used across the electric system.