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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa


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GE Power expects to build a renewables ‘ecosystem’ in South Africa as electricity mix ...

The global head of GE Power says the group anticipates that South Africa’s future electricity mix will incorporate higher contributions from wind and solar and that its South African unit, which currently has a strong coal focus, will “pivot and adjust” its skills and localisation strategies accordingly. Speaking in Pretoria at the tail-end of a four-country tour of sub-Saharan Africa, GE Power president and CEO Russell Stokes said the South African business would, in time, build a full “ecosystem” around renewables technologies, much as it had done in the coal sector.

Innovation and blockchain tech high on agenda at energy event

Leading figures within the African energy scene will convene at the tenth Africa Energy Indaba (AEI), including at the World Energy Council's (WEC’s) annual Africa meeting, to discuss the importance of innovation and regional integration at a time when the energy sector is undergoing a major transition.

Event to add value to African energy sector

To bolster the socioeconomic development of the African energy sector, Africa Energy Indaba (AEI) chairperson Brian Statham says thinking within the sector needs to be expanded.

Company first-time exhibitor at event

South African electrical engineering company Power Plant Electrical Technologies (PPE Technologies) will exhibit at the African Energy Indaba (AEI) for the first time this year.

Conference to foster entrepreneurial opportunities for women

To assist women in being successful renewable-energy entrepreneurs, the African Energy Sector: Scope and Opportunity discussion topic at this year’s Women in Energy Conference will focus on the entrepreneurial opportunities in the energy sector and how women can maximise their participation.

Senegal utility awards €197-million grid expansion contract

Electrical transmission, engineering and maintenance provider Omexom, a subsidiary of Italian energy company VINCI Energies, has won the Société d’Electricité du Sénégal (Senelec) contract to install five new extra-high voltage (EHV) transformer stations, nearly 200 km of overhead and underground EHV transmission lines, over 100 distribution substations in various parts of the country as well as a regional load dispatch centre. The project is part of Senelec’s transmission and distribution grid expansion, reinforcement and reliability enhancement programme, which forms part of the entities’ 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

Nuclear energy future imminent, despite delays in updated IRP

South Africa-based engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company Lesedi Nuclear Services (Lesedi) business development executive Shane Pereira believes that there is a future for nuclear power globally, although it is being hindered locally by the delay in passing the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). Nuclear power can provide a stable, cost-effective and green source of baseload power, but it is the updated IRP that will give an indication as to the future prospects of nuclear in the country, he explains.

Framework continues to form sector foundation

The economic opportunity represented by the continent’s need for energy makes the African energy industry an attractive prospect for foreign investment, says law firm Norton Rose Fulbright director Lizel Oberholzer.

Robust energy base key to industrialisation

Public-private partnership South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC) CEO Chiboni Evans states that Africa's industrialisation can occur only if countries have a robust energy base.

Growing need to fuel power demand in Africa

Energy transformation in Africa is necessary to ensure that the 600-million people on the continent who do not have access to energy gain access, says regional event Africa Energy Indaba (AEI) MD Liz Hart, who adds that the growing population and need for African industrialisation will continue to fuel the demand for power.

Contract duration key to hybrid-power-for-mines investment case

Alignment between a mine’s life and the tenor of a power purchase agreement (PPA) has been held up as the main consideration for those mining operations considering investments into hybrid power solutions, which combine renewable energy and battery storage with gas or diesel generators. Speaking during a webinar on Thursday, juwi head of global initiatives Amiram Roth-Deblon said the business case for hybrid power systems was already compelling and would continue to improve as the cost of wind, solar and batteries declined.

Global wind energy installations remain above 50 GW - GWEC

Installations in the global wind energy market remained above 50 GW in 2017, with Europe, India and the offshore sector having had record years. The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) on Wednesday released its 2017 market statistics, which highlighted a decrease to 19.5 GW for Chinese installations. The rest of the global market made up the balance of 30.5 GW.

VEHS presents opportunity to change energy landscape

With South Africa's electricity largely still generated from fossil fuels and the lengthy processes involved in commissioning renewable-energy, civil engineering company Epitome Consulting GM Clement Mokoenene says transferring high volumes of traffic energy into electricity could significantly change the electricity landscape in Africa. Owing to this, he enthuses that the company's Vehicle Energy Harvesting System (VEHS) was developed after having seen the impact of an Airbus A380 landing in 2011.

Wind energy installations continue to grow – WWEA

The overall capacity of all wind turbines installed worldwide by the end of 2017 reached 539 291 MW, preliminary statistics published by World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) has shown. A WWEA report, released on Monday, further showed that 52 552 MW of wind energy capacity were added last year, slightly more than in 2016 when 51 402 MW went online.

New CEO must position Eskom for ‘evolving energy markets and technologies’

The newspaper advertisement calling for applications for the positions of CEO and CFO at State-owned power utility Eskom includes definite signs of the reforms that the newly appointed board is aiming to implement at the beleaguered organisation. The advertisement calls on appropriately qualified and experienced individuals for the two positions to submit detailed curricula vitae to executive search company Woodburn Mann by February 23.

Solar-asset marketplace using cryptocurrency, blockchain to monetise solar energy

SUNEX, a new South African cryptocurrency representing the value of power produced and dispatched from the bearer's solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, helps to support and accelerate the rollout and use of PV solar renewable-energy technologies, says Sun Exchange co-founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge. The exponential reduction in costs of renewable energy technologies is changing the business models of electricity generation and supply worldwide.

Companies urged to ‘proactively’ reduce their carbon footprint as second Draft Carbon Tax ...

In light of National Treasury’s publishing the second Draft Carbon Tax Bill for public comment in December, systems integration specialists Jasco Group’s CEO Pete da Silva suggests that companies proactively determine their carbon footprint and implement measures to mitigate the eventual effects of the implementation of a carbon tax.

GE, Arenko collaborate on building energy storage systems

Digital industrial company GE and flexible energy storage systems operator Arenko Group have entered into a strategic alliance to build grid-scale energy storage systems in the UK. The companies will seek to leverage the advantages of combining GE's battery technology solutions, power electronics and advanced controls  with Arenko's leadership in operating batteries in the UK market and its proprietary energy trading software platform. GE Power global commercial and marketing executive Mirko Mollnari stated that energy storage would help balance supply and demand close to real time, avoiding frequency drifts and supporting the mid-term response to grid imbalances.

AfDB boosts ALBC Fund books with R140m loan

To further enhance the African Local Currency Bond Fund (ALCB Fund) portfolio and promote the development of domestic capital markets across the continent, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of R140-million. The senior loan, with a seven-year tenor including a two-year grace period, will support opportunities for local African corporate issuers to access and diversify their long-term funding sources in local currency and crowd in local institutional investors.

KfW, RMB create specialised debt fund vehicle for small-scale renewables projects

German government-owned KfW Development Bank and Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) on Thursday signed an agreement that establishes South Africa’s first specialised debt fund vehicle for small-scale renewables projects. Known as The Facility for Investment in Renewable Small Transactions (First), this independent, special purpose facility will make finance available for small-scale renewable energy projects that have found it challenging to access affordable funding from commercial investors.

Eskom given go ahead to sign stalled deals with renewables IPPs

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown announced on Friday that Eskom’s application to purchase additional renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs) had been approved, clearing the way for the signing of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 27 wind and solar projects procured by the Department of Energy in late 2015. The projects, which have a collective investment value of around R60-billion, had been left in limbo since 2016, when Eskom indicated that it was not willing to conclude further PPAs, owing to its return to a power generation surplus.

African expo and conference expanding

To cater for a growing interest in power generation and water, this year’s African Utility Week (AUW) will occupy the entire Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) as well as the new building, CTICC 2. The new 31 148 m2 building consists of 10 000 m2 conference and exhibition space and 3 000 m2 of formal and informal meeting space. AUW 2016 drew about 6 000 decision-makers, while more than 7 000 decision-makers from 40 countries attended last year’s conference. This year’s attendee numbers are expected to grow to 7 500, with attendees representing more than 80 countries this year.

AfDB renews commitment to connect 29.3m Africans to electricity grids

The African Development Bank (AfDB) plans to provide 29.3-million people on the continent with access to electricity by 2020. Speaking during meetings of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, in Addis Ababa, at the weekend, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina pledged support for the New Way of Working programme, which he described as "crucially important".

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan hope to break Nile dam talks deadlock in one month

The leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on Monday set a one-month deadline for laying out the ways to break a deadlock in talks over a mega dam Addis Ababa is building along its share of the Nile, an official said. Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, a $4-billion hydroelectric project that Cairo fears will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia's highlands and via Sudan.

Akuo secures €78m to build Mali solar plant

French independent power producer (IPP) Akuo Energy has secured €78-million in financing to build the 50 MW Akuo Kita Solar Photovoltaic (PV) power plant, in southern Mali. Private sector infrastructure funding organisation Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) reports that the plant will be the first solar PV power station in Mali owned and run by a private sector IPP. 

‘Any nuclear new build a poor choice for South Africa’, not just a Russian build

Not just Russian but any nuclear new build is a poor choice for South Africa, Rocky Mountain Institute chief scientist Amory Lovins and University of Cape Town (UCT) emeritus professor Anton Eberhard argue in a newly release occasional paper published by the UCT Graduate School of Business. Titled ‘South Africa’s Electricity Choice’, the paper warns that, owing to the inherent complexity of nuclear procurement, financing and construction, no new nuclear-generated electricity could flow for at least a decade, even if procurement were to begin immediately.

Emerging markets using latest energy technologies to improve competitiveness

With the advent of new energy generation, storage and management technologies, developing country companies are using the capabilities of new integrated microgrid systems to improve their efficiency and lower costs, says electrical equipment and services multinational ABB Asia, Middle East and Africa president Dr Chunyuan Gu. The use of integrated renewable energy systems creates new demand for and consumption of electricity, which is also changing the way electricity is consumed within companies and industries.

Investments accumulated to catalyse off-grid energy development

Multilateral development bank African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) board approved a $30-million investment in the Facility for Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI OGEF) last month.

Rosatom competition winners tour nuclear facility

Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom’s African subsidiary Rosatom Africa sponsored an all expenses paid trip to Russia for winners of the yearly student competition, held for the third time last year. The students visited the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant (NPP), as well as its training facility, in December. The plant is considered a pioneering facility, having been the first NPP to launch and operate each generation of water-to-water energetic reactor technology. The students were also treated to a cultural tour of Moscow, which included the Red Square and the Museum of Cosmonautics.

Microgrids using solar energy to meet energy demands

Communities and producers in Africa are struggling with energy deficits caused by a lack of infrastructure access in some cases and poor energy quality and high-power costs in others, explains procurement and construction services provider Black & Veatch. As a result, Black & Veatch has successfully demonstrated the efficiency of integrating distributed energy resources (DER) using a microgrid approach that uses both direct current and alternating current with a battery storage system to manage intermittent renewable energy sources, while maintaining a balance between supply and demand.

Need for more energy increases demand for solar power

With electricity demand in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region increasing, Stellenbosch University Faculty of Engineering’s Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies senior researcher Karin Kritzinger believes that solar water heaters can be one of the major technologies used to reduce the demand for electricity. “The average cost of electricity is increasing by more than 10% per annum in the SADC, adding a major burden not only to the energy bills of households and social institutions but also . . . small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”

Solar energy can reduce tariff hike strain on consumers

With the ruling of the Constitutional Court having allowed power utility Eskom to retrospectively ask the National Energy Regulator of South Africa to claw back additional tariffs from consumers, solar energy equipment supplier Energy Partners Home Solutions believes that this could lead to further hikes in the price of electricity for South Africans. Energy Partners Home Solutions marketing and sales head Cala van der Westhuizen says solar energy can reduce the impact of future tariff hikes as a solar photovoltaic (PV) system can provide up to 30% of an average home’s energy.

Three-year project reaches completion

Technology solutions provider Jasco has completed its three-year solar farm project, which has reduced its maximum electricity demand by 27% and its reliance on State-owned power utility Eskom by 33%. “Phase 1 of the project – which started in April 2015 – resulted in the installation of 53 kWp of solar panels along with two 25 kW inverters that enabled the system to produce 50 kW of energy at peak performance times,” says Jasco power and energy consulting solutions architect Kevin Norris.

School installs solar system at boarding house

The South African College High School (SACS), in Cape Town, made a commitment to clean energy by installing a solar system at its Rosedale Boarding House. The solar system was installed in November by Energy Partners Home Solutions, part of the PSG group of companies. SACS deputy headmaster Barry van Selm explains that installing a solar system at the school was an easy choice.

Kenyan startup’s solar refrigeration solution wins energy prize

Kenyan startup SolarFreeze, which has developed an offgrid solar-powered refrigeration solution for smallholder farmers and traders, has been named the winner of the Africa Energy Prize. The award is a joint initiative between energy multinational Enel and Swiss-based Seedstars World, which facilitates startup competitions in more that 80 countries.

Pick n Pay Longmeadow benefits from completion of solar PV project

The installation of a photovoltaic system for South African retailer Pick n Pay’s Longmeadow distribution centre will be fully operational by the end of the month. The solar PV system, installed by Energy Partners Solar, is believed to be the largest solar PV installation in South Africa. Nadine James has the story.

Ethiopia leader rejects call for World Bank arbitration in dam dispute

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has rejected a call by Egypt for World Bank arbitration in a dispute over a hydroelectric dam Addis Ababa is building along its share of the Nile. The two countries are at odds over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, with Cairo fearing the project would restrict waters flowing down from Ethiopia's highlands and through the deserts of Sudan to its fields and reservoirs.