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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa


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Global Energy Talent Index 2019 survey closes soon

The third annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) survey is underway and open for responses. The survey is an industry-leading workforce project led by top energy recruitment firm, Airswift, and Energy Jobline, the world’s largest energy job site. The survey results will explore the opinions of energy professionals across the Power, Oil and Gas, Renewables, Nuclear and Petrochemicals sectors. This year’s theme will look at the impact of skills shortages. The results will highlight the professional view on how each market should adapt. Janette Marx, Chief Executive at Airswift says: “We are excited about the 3rd annual GETI survey opening, as we look forward to sharing the insightful data and trends from the responses collected. The report is used by some of the biggest names in the energy industry and highlights the macroeconomic employment trends around the world.” “The GETI report investigates what matters to professionals and their predictions for the future.”

DST bolsters biomass industry with new consortium

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has established a biorefinery research consortium (BRC) to create new value chains from waste biomass. The consortium is a partnership between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Tshwane University of Technology, the University of the Witwatersrand and rural-based bioenterprise Sekolong Sa Dimelana.

Perdekraal East wind farm preparing for construction activity to start

The Perdekraal East wind farm, which is situated within the Witzenberg local municipality, in the Western Cape, is preparing for the start of major construction activity. Once complete, the 110 MW Perdekraal wind farm, which spans 3 055 ha, will comprise 48, 115-m-high wind turbines.

PIC foresees great opportunity in investing in early stage tech-driven companies

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has outlined its vision for its recently launched R2-billion fund aimed at early-stage tech-driven companies. PIC executive head of research Sholto Dolamo told a Frost & Sullivan CEO Think Tank, in Cape Town, that the PIC was venturing beyond its traditional investments on the JSE. It aims to invest in unlisted companies through its new fund.

South Africa’s nuclear industry disappointed with the new IRP

The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa is not happy at the exclusion of further nuclear power (over and above that already provided by the existing Koeberg nuclear power plant) from the Government’s recently released Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2018-2030. Although he described the release of the document as bringing “a big sigh of relief after a long delay,” because “South Africa and the world now know what the policy is,” Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa MD Knox Msebenzi highlighted that the “nuclear industry is not in a celebratory mood for obvious reasons.”

Renewable-energy guide offers insight into maturing African markets

Global law firm DLA Piper has characterised the regulatory environments for renewable-energy projects in 12 African countries in response to developing markets on the continent, says DLA Piper Global co-chair of energy sector Natasha Luther-Jones. Renewable energy projects are becoming increasingly attractive investments and more generation projects are being planned or in development. The guide details some of the key policy objectives for national governments and provides insight into current market conditions and notes some of the projects anticipated to deliver these goals.

Nordex to supply 80 wind turbines to two South African wind farm projects

Wind turbine manufacturer Nordex Group has been awarded contracts in South Africa to install 80 AW125/3150 turbines for the Garob and Copperton projects, in the Northern Cape. The turbines have a combined capacity of 252 MW.

Cape vulture provides inspiration for homegrown vertical-axis wind turbine

A South African start-up has developed a vertical-axis wind-turbine that employs a groundbreaking morphing wing design, which seeks to mimic the movements of the Cape vulture. A prototype of the turbine, developed by Brayfoil Technologies in collaboration with WorleyParsons, is currently being tested at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) campus, in Pretoria.

Shift to renewables to become a growing trend in the mining sector

Owing to a reduction in renewable energy costs, the prospect of a more reliable power supply and an increasingly favourable regulatory environment in key mining markets, renewable energy is anticipated to play an increasingly important role in powering mining operations worldwide over the coming years. Fitch Solutions Macro Research’s ‘Outlook for Renewable Energy Use in the Mining Sector’ report, published on September 7, stated that price will be the main motive for mining companies to shift to renewable energy sources in the short term.

Hydrogen from renewables may be energy transition’s ‘missing link’

Producing hydrogen from variable renewable electricity (VRE) could be the ‘missing link’ in the unfolding transition to a decarbonised global energy system, a newly released report argues. Published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), the study explores the production of hydrogen from renewables using electrolysers – devices that split water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity.

Philip Lloyd – a passionate educator and energy thought leader

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Energy Institute researcher, South African Academy of Engineering (SAAE) Fellow, energy expert and passionate educator professor Philip Lloyd passed away last month. He championed the role of science and how one needs to learn the language of science: mathematics.

Brenmiller Energy markets thermal generation, storage solution into African countries

Solar power company Brenmiller Energy is focusing on African countries to fill its project pipeline, where it sees strong growth for renewable energy and energy storage solutions. Brenmiller in 2012 developed a thermal energy storage-based generation unit, which can function either as thermal storage unit or heat exchanger unit using various heat sources, such as electricity from wind, solar power or traditionally-generated coal power, as well as heat collected from exhausts, smelters and biomass energy.

Coal-transition support should aid workers and communities, not Eskom – report

A new report into South Africa’s coal sector argues that any subsidies set aside for the country’s “inevitable” transition away from coal in electricity production should be tailored to protect workers, their dependants and communities, rather than Eskom, or the coal sector as a whole. Published by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre (ERC), the study warns that the domestic coal industry is in crisis, owing to environmental pressures, as well as a loss of competitiveness.

IPP designed to facilitate private sector investment – Radebe

Energy minister Jeff Radebe on Thursday said the independent power producer (IPP) programme had been designed to enlist the private sector to develop an impressive renewable energy generation network in the country.  "On the renewable sector, the independent power producer programme, as it is known is a competitive tender process that has been designed by our country to facilitate private sector investment into great connected renewable energy generation in South Africa," he said.

Feasibility study contractor selected for Mozambique energy project

US-based contractor HDR International has been selected to conduct a feasibility study for a solar energy project in Mozambique. The study will assess the viability of a photovoltaic plant of up to 100 MW, to be developed in increments of 20 MW to 40 MW.

Kenya 428 km power line complete, to add 310 MW to grid by December

A high-voltage power line to carry electricity from a 310 MW wind power plant to central Kenya from the north is complete and supply to the national grid will stabilise by December, the energy minister said, replacing diesel generation. The 428 km, 400 kV power line is critical for the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, to carry electricity from Loiyangalani in the north to Suswa in the centre of Kenya.

Site clearing, earthworks preparation starts at 25 MW Ngodwana biomass power project

Official site clearing and preparation for earthworks have started at Ngodwana Energy’s 25 MW biomass power project, in Mpumalanga. The ELB-KCC Consortium on Wednesday said the project will be erected at the Sappi Ngodwana site about 40 km from Nelspruit, next to the N4 highway and is part of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

China's TBEA to invest in €180m Gabon hydropower project – Gabon official

Chinese energy firm TBEA will invest in a €180-million ($209-million) hydropower project in Gabon alongside the West African country's sovereign wealth fund, a Gabonese official said on Saturday. Construction will begin "pretty soon" on the project, which will have a power generation capacity of 70MW in the first phase, Liban Soleman, general coordinator of the Bureau of Coordination and Planning for an Emerging Gabon, told Reuters in an interview in Beijing.

Montego expands Eastern Cape pet food factory

Local pet food manufacturer Montego Pet Nutrition increased production at its Graaff-Reinet facility, in the Eastern Cape, by 30%. The R70-million expansion, which will also create 30 more direct jobs, included a new 3 600 m2, R15-million depot, divided equally for use as a warehouse and treats production facility.

Carbon emissions reduced at hospitals

Gas suppliers CNG Holdings through its wholly owned subsidiary Virtual Gas Network (VGN) will start the installation of two natural gas boiler systems – the final phase of the Gauteng Province Department of Infrastructure Development (GPDID) Greening Initiative – at provincial hospitals on the Far East Rand and in Pretoria next month. The project – which initially started in August 2015 in conjunction with the Department of Health – aims to reduce the carbon footprint of ten State-owned hospitals by March next year. Converting the hospitals’ heavy coal-burning boiler systems to cleaner natural gas systems will not only reduce carbon emissions but also allow for more economical maintenance of the systems.

What’s in the draft IRP?

Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about the contents of the draft Integrated Resources Plan, which was released this week; what comments are likely to be received; and what process will be followed once the public comment period ends.

Ring-fence Eskom’s ‘bad bank’ generation assets, says energy expert

A leading electricity expert is warning that there is little or no prospect that Eskom can trade itself out of its current financial difficulties and that restructuring – including a vertical separation of its cash-guzzling generation assets from its transmission, system operator and distribution units – is now both urgent and practically implementable. Likening the generation business to a ‘bad bank’, University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business’ Professor Anton Eberhard argued this week that the power stations should be “ring-fenced” to prevent ongoing financial contamination of the “heart of the system”; the grid and the system operator.

US Trade and Development Agency grants $1.2m funding for Mozambique solar project

Investment bank Fieldstone has assisted WHN Solar to raise grant funding of almost $1.2-million for a solar energy project in Mozambique. The funding was conferred by the US Trade and Development Agency for a feasibility study to assess the viability of a photovoltaic plant of up to 100 MW to be developed in increments of 20 MW to 40 MW.

Solar body raises concern over procurement gap, as lobby group slams inclusion of IPP coal

The South Africa Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) has added its voice to concerns being expressed over the three-year gap outlined in the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) during which no allocations have been made for new renewable-energy capacity additions. In a statement, which broadly welcomes the draft document released for public comment by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe on August 27, SAPVIA cautioned that the lag period from 2022 to 2025 could undermine the consistent growth required for the solar PV industry to support job creation and local participation.

Wind body praises IRP, but wants clarity on three-year gap in new additions

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has praised the emphasis placed in the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) on integrating the least-cost generation solutions of wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) and gas into the South African electricity mix between 2018 and 2030. However, the body has also questioned a three-year allocation gap in the plan for new wind capacity. The draft IRP 2018 makes no provision for wind capacity additions during 2022, 2023 and 2024 and has also left a two-year gap (2023 and 2024) in allocations for new solar PV capacity.

Ethiopia ousts State firm from Nile dam project after construction delays

Ethiopia has ousted State-run Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) from a $4-billion dam project on the River Nile due to numerous delays in completing the project. The Grand Renaissance Dam is the centrepiece of Ethiopia's bid to become Africa's biggest power exporter.

No new nuclear in IRP update as time horizon is trimmed to 2030

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe released the much-anticipated draft updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for public comment on Monday, offering stakeholders 60 days to provide written feedback.   The comment period was extended from the 30 days initially envisaged after a meeting of the National Economic Development and Labour Council on Friday, where business, labour and community representatives urged the Minister to provide more time for input.   Radebe expressed the hope that Cabinet would ...

Two solar plants opened in Namibia

Two solar plants, Ejuva One and Ejuva Two, were opened in Gobabis, Namibia, by Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Kornelia Shilunga, on Thursday. She said Ejuva will help to diversify Namibia’s energy mix, increase generation capacity and reduce carbon emissions. “We are particularly pleased about the strong local component and the positive impact during construction on local job creation and skills development.”

Eskom begins stakeholder interactions on ‘Strategy 2035’

South Africa’s electricity utility Eskom has initiated a series of interactions with stakeholders as part of a review process designed to deliver a new long-term strategy, dubbed ‘Strategy 2035’, for the beleaguered organisation. The new leadership at the State-owned company, together with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, have already formally acknowledged that the group’s business model is no longer sustainable, or fit for purpose, particularly in light of material technology changes in the electricity sector.

Cabinet approves gazetting of updated IRP for public comment

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane confirmed on Thursday that Cabinet has approved the publication of the updated Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) and that it will be gazetted for comment by no later than August 27. Briefing media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, she noted that the finalisation of the IRP would provide the necessary certainty to industry players, as well as consumers, regarding the security of electricity supply in the medium to long term.

South African govt to release long-term energy plan

Government will release the reviewed Integrated Resource Plan later this week, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday. Radebe told reporters the energy blueprint would be tabled to Cabinet on Wednesday and made public later in the week, "probably on Friday".

AfriForum launches petition against planned CSIR biogas plant

AfriForum has launched a petition against the planned new biogas plant that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) intends to build at its campus, in Pretoria. AfriForum, as well as residents, are concerned that the plant might be unsafe and pollute the area, which borders various residential areas.

Study initiated to assess conversion of Kelvin power station from coal to gas

A $1.3-million feasibility study has been initiated into the prospect of converting the coal-fired Kelvin power station, east of Johannesburg, into a 450 MW to 600 MW gas-fired power station. The study will also assess the potential for developing the Kelvin site into a gas distribution hub for Gauteng, South Africa’s industrial heartland. The 12-month study is being funded by way of a US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant, which has been awarded to NOVO Energy, a South African integrated natural gas company, owned by Harith General Partners.

Biofuels unviable alternative in South Africa – expert

Owing to biofuels being too expensive to manufacture, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Business School Energy Leadership Centre director Dr Rod Crompton says this makes them a commercially unviable energy source. He tells Engineering News that, despite the fact that global renewable-energy consumption rose to a new high last year – accounting for 3.6% of the world’s total energy consumption – renewables are still an insignificant player in the global energy market.

Biogas plant demonstrates potential using new tech

Renewable-energy and waste disposal solutions provider Global Energy has constructed a fully operational biogas demonstration plant using technology that has been designed to be more cost effective, manufactured locally and simpler to operate and maintain. The plant aims to showcase the potential for biogas in South Africa and demonstrate the capabilities of Global Energy’s new technology, which has been specifically developed for application in Africa.

Investors looking for viable infrastructure projects in Africa

There is investor appetite for well-structured infrastructure projects on the continent, but investors need clarity from governments on regulations and the various projects earmarked for development, says specialist banking company Investec Bank head of power and infrastructure finance sub-Saharan Africa Andre Wepener.   Governments in Africa have to create a conducive environment in terms of a clear regulatory framework, policy certainty and transparent processes without corruption to unlock opportunities for private investment in infrastructure projects, he adds.

Fund manager Vantage provides R2bn for six South African renewable energy projects

Fund manager Vantage said late on Monday it had, through its renewable energy fund Vantage GreenX Note II, provided R2.05-billion of funding to six solar and wind energy projects in South Africa with a combined capacity of 433 MW. The projects, which are part of South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, reached financial close in July.