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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa


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Congo sets deadline for plan on 11 000 MW hydropower plant

The Democratic Republic of Congo gave two groups of investors a four-week deadline to submit a joint proposal on the development of the multibillion-dollar Inga 3 hydropower plant. The government signed an accord with Chinese and Spanish consortia this week to advance the 11 000 MW facility, the first time it’s formally appointed entities to draw up plans to develop Inga 3 since the project was announced about a decade ago. The Chinese group includes China Three Gorges Corp. and State Grid International Development Ltd., while the Spanish partners comprise Actividades de Construccion y Servicios and AEE Power Holdings.

Breytenbach welcomes greater certainty for renewable energy projects

Participants in the renewable energy sector say they are encouraged by the dedicated infrastructure team that will be set up in the Presidency, as it will give investors more certainty and confidence to back projects. “We’ve seen what the last two years of delays in the signing of renewable projects did to us. I think the politicians have realised too. You need an infrastructure unit that takes ideas, conceptualises them, puts them out to market and makes sure they happen,” Department of Energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) Office CEO Karen Breytenbach said on Thursday.

Germany's Voith to supply more turbines for Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam

German mechanical engineering conglomerate Voith has signed an agreement to supply turbines for a $4-billion dam Ethiopia is building along the River Nile, state-affiliated media said on Wednesday. The 6 000 MW Grand Renaissance Dam is the centrepiece of the Horn of Africa country's bid to become the continent's biggest power exporter.

Renewable energy industry comments on draft IRP

The renewable energy sector in South Africa has welcomed the draft Integrated Resource Plant (IRP) 2018, but has also expressed concerns. “While the IRP forecasting is rational in its choices, it unfortunately requires us to accept some overly optimistic assumptions,” said the South African Renewable Energy Council (Sarec). This included the ability of the two new coal-fired independent power producer project to overcome legal and financing challenges in a bid to reach financial close.  

CSIR seeks municipal partners for energy master plan pilot project

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) aims to partner with a metropolitan council and a district municipality to compile pilot municipal energy master plans for electricity (MEMPs), which will provide the two councils with insight into the best electricity supply blends for their respective grids. CSIR Energy Centre head Dr Clinton Carter-Brown tells Engineering News Online that recent changes to the electricity supply industry globally and domestically are making it increasingly attractive for South African municipalities to procure electricity from local energy sources.

Roman’s Pizza head office kitted out with solar PV plant

Fast food franchise Roman’s Pizza’s head office in Centurion, Gauteng, has installed a 137 kW grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) solar plant, which is one of several actions the company is implementing to help conserve the environment. Other green initiatives by Roman’s include eliminating plastic straws and changing out all normal fluorescent lightbulbs to light-emitting diodes.

Renewable energy sector could provide jobs boost to SA

The renewable energy sector could provide an unexpected but much-needed jobs boost to South Africa’s employment levels, as the sector continues to mature, solar enery company SOLA Future Energy said on Monday. SOLA Future Energy is the company that replaced Robben Island’s diesel-powered electricity supply with a grid driven by solar energy.

South Africa’s synfuels know-how could give it edge as world mulls power fuels

The newly formed Global Alliance Power Fuels believes that South Africa is well positioned to become a leading site for the large-scale production of liquid fuels from renewable energy and has confirmed with Engineering News Online that the country is on its radar for possible future demonstration projects. The alliance was launched in Berlin, Germany, in September following several studies indicating that synthetic fuels produced using renewable electricity could be the “missing link” in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in sectors where it is difficult to employ clean electricity directly.

KenGen says new geothermal plant nearly ready

KenGen's new 165.4 MW capacity plant powered by geothermal steam is three quarters complete and on schedule for commissioning next July, Kenya's main electricity producer said on Friday. Geothermal steam, hot underground steam found in the Rift Valley which is used to drive turbines for electricity production, is the second biggest source of Kenya's annual power generation of 2 336 MW, accounting for 26.84% of the total.

Wind body to request smoothing of procurement profile in IRP submission

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) will appeal for a “smooth rolling procurement” of new wind-energy capacity in its response to the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) so as to close a three-year procurement gap in the current document. The Draft IRP 2018 was released on August 27 and is out for public comment until October 25.

Cape vulture provides inspiration for homegrown vertical-axis wind turbine

A South African inventor has developed a new flexible wing, which he believes could have application in everything from wind energy and sailing to aviation and motoring.

Govt urged to include IRP adjustment that steers renewables jobs the way of coal regions

South Africa should consider including a policy adjustment in its upcoming Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) directing developers of new renewable-energy infrastructure to build projects in regions currently geared towards coal mining and coal-fired electricity production. University of Johannesburg professor Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, who works for German renewable-energy group Enertrag, acknowledges that such an adjustment will represent a deviation from the least-cost IRP. However, he argues that the socioeconomic benefits are likely to outweigh the additional costs.

Technology cost assumptions used to produce IRP explained

An experienced electricity system modeller has corrected a suggestion that the draft 2018 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) uses levelised cost assumptions for the various generation technologies tested, explaining that overnight capital cost assumptions for each technology are key inputs. The draft IRP 2018, which was published on August 27, is currently out for public comment until October 25.

Climate crisis spurs UN call for $2.4tn fossil fuel shift

The world must invest $2.4-trillion in clean energy every year through 2035 and cut the use of coal-fired power to almost nothing by 2050 to avoid catastrophic damage from climate change, according to scientists convened by the United Nations. Their report published Monday adds pressure on policymakers and businesses to step up their response to global warming, which is boosting sea levels, making storms more violent and exacerbating poverty. The atmosphere is already almost 1 °C hotter than it was at the start of the industrial revolution and on track to rise 3 °C by 2100, according to the report. That’s double the pace targeted under the 2015 Paris climate agreements endorsed by almost 200 nations.

Technologies listed in IRP may be used as ‘proxies’ for equivalent solutions

The Department of Energy (DoE) may consider using the generation technologies listed in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) as “proxies” for other technologies that are able to deliver an equivalent solution to the power system at the same cost. Speaking at a stakeholder workshop hosted by the South African Solar Photovoltaic Industry Association and EE Publications, DoE chief director for electricity Jacob Mbele said that the technologies listed in the draft IRP 2018 were selected for being the lowest cost.

Kenya on course to develop nuclear energy, official says

Kenya's ambition of having a nuclear power plant is still on course and it hopes to build its first such facility in the next 12 to 15 years, a senior Energy Ministry official said on Friday. Joseph Njoroge, principal secretary for electricity, told Reuters the East African nation plans to turn to nuclear when it has fully exploited other sources of energy.

South Africa’s changing energy mix requires more investment

Given the difficulties and challenges facing the energy generation model in South Africa, there is much scope for foreign direct investment into the country’s energy sector. This one of the ideas unpacked by various panelists at an energy sector-focused discussion held at the South African–French Business Forum, in Johannesburg, on Thursday.

LHDA holds workshops on Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase 2

The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) has started a series of workshops with registered construction companies in Gauteng and Free State to explain the procurement framework of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase 2 and to share lessons learned from previous tender submissions. The main purpose of the workshops is to improve compliance and participation in the LHWP Phase 2’s works.

Kibo, Sepco III extend due diligence deadline to end-November

Aim- and JSE-listed Kibo Energy on Monday announced that the due date by which potential equity investor Sepco III had to complete its internal investment process had been extended to November 30. This had initially been expected to be completed by September 30.

Mall of Africa to debut world first in integrated solar system

Mall of Africa is set to unveil a world first in integrated renewable energy systems, with the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system of its kind in the southern hemisphere and tenth worldwide. The 4 755 kW installation covers most of the available mall roof space, an area of about 45 000 m² and the energy generated will be used to power the mall’s daily operations.

ABB digital technology to help enhance Egypt’s power grid

Multinational automation company ABB has been selected by the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) to help upgrade and digitalise the electrical grid in the Port Said region, located along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. The area includes the landmark Suez Canal.

Total to roll out solar-powered service stations in Kruger National Park

Total South Africa (Total SA) on Wednesday revealed a demonstration model of its solar-powered service station at the Skukuza camp, in the Kruger National Park, in Mpumalanga, on the occasion of celebrating a 60-year partnership with South African National Parks (SANParks). The demonstration model is in line with Total’s project to install solar panels, supplied by Total Group subsidiary SunPower, at 5 000 of its 16 000 service stations globally by the end of 2021.

Three UCT lecturers participate in international Solar Decathlon competition

Thee lecturers from the University of Cape Town (UCT) are part of Team Mahali, the only team representing sub-Saharan Africa in the international Solar Decathlon competition, which will be held in Morocco next year. The Solar Decathlon is an international competition to design and build a fully functional, modular, net-zero-energy house that challenges teams to design and build a “green” house of between 55 m2 and 110 m2, powered only by solar energy and equipped with technically advanced building and energy technologies.

Link Solar launches portable solar panels suitable for outdoor, marine use

There is a lack of portable solar panels in the market, says specialised solar product manufacturer Link Solar, which has released of its own portable solar panel range for outdoor use and marine grade level use. These solar panels, the company explained, are specifically created to serve as an effective power source while providing convenience.

Wind body seeks right to contest Nersa report on delayed renewables projects

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) Tribunal has invited the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) to present its case this week as to why the tribunal should hear the association’s arguments in opposition to a 2017 Nersa panel report. The document in question concluded that Eskom had not breached its license conditions by delaying, for more than two years, the signing of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 27 renewable-energy projects procured by government in 2015.

New Eskom strategy to include pan-African expansion roadmap

State-owned electricity utility Eskom has confirmed that its new strategy, which will involve far-reaching changes to its business model, will seek to position the company for opportunities arising in the rest of Africa. “Growth opportunities for Eskom are not restricted to South Africa. To grow the business, Eskom will need to become a strong pan-African utility,” Eskom told Engineering News Online in response to questions on the scope of the strategic changes being contemplated.

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.