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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Collaboration gives rise to advanced automation

UK industrial technology group Rolls Royce Power Systems and automation technology group ABB are in a global partnership on microgrid technology with advanced automation. Together, the two companies will offer an innovative, energy efficient microgrid solution for utilities, islands, as well as commercial and industrial establishments. 

Pioneering system holds huge potential for microgrids

A sharper focus on renewable energy has led to increased opportunities for microgrids in rural areas, industrial and commercial parks and residential developments in African countries. “Technology is progressing very fast on alternative energies and systems. An increased focus on renewable energy is widening the playing field and opening up more opportunities for modern technology,” Siemens East Africa hub and Kenrya country manager Johan Helberg told Engineering News Online in a recent interview.

University of Nottingham academics patent gravitational energy storage using soil batteries

Academics have patented new concepts on electric power energy storage using gravity, with the concept of gravity energy storage using soil batteries being promoted by two University of Nottingham academics – European Academy of Sciences fellow and World Society of Sustainable Technologies president Professor Saffa Riffat and Marie Curie research fellow Professor Yijun Yuan. The academics filed a patent application in May for a gravity energy storage technology based on drums filled with soil.

Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa announces IPO

Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the Mozambican concessionaire of the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant, has announced the launch of its initial public offering (IPO) for up to 7.5% of its shares to individual Mozambican nationals and collective national investors. The IPO will see a first tranche of 2.5% of its shares becoming available on the Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique.  

Court date set for Cape Metro's bid to buy power directly from IPPs

The City of Cape Town on Tuesday welcomed the high court in Pretoria setting a date for its petition to buy electricity directly from independent power producers (IPPs). The City wants the Energy Minister and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to allow it to purchase power from IPPs. Under the current regime, the national power utility Eskom buys power from IPPs which is then sold on.

Transport of wind turbine components for two projects under way

Turbine tower sections for the Kangnas Wind Farm and Perdekraal East Wind Farm are being transported from the Port of Saldanha Bay and from Atlantis to the project sites. The two wind projects, which form part of Bid Window 4 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programmes, will be connected to the country’s national grid by August 2020.

Company uses macadamia nut shells to purify water

Kusini Water has developed a locally designed solar-powered water purification system that uses an activated carbon filter made from locally sourced macadamia nut shells and that is being used to meet the water needs of schools and communities in South Africa.   The system was developed by Limpopo social entrepreneur Murendeni Mafumo, who plans to use the entity to build a network of locally owned franchise water purification businesses in South Africa.

Nordic countries strengthen partnerships with sub-Saharan Africa

The Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are strengthening their partnerships with sub-Saharan African countries to increase green electrification and water security. The four countries are known for their expertise in developing viable and innovative energy systems, with a focus on effective system integration, grid stability and sustainable energy solutions. Delegates and ministerial delegations from the Nordic countries gathered together with their African counterparts during the Nordic Utility Days conference, held concurrently with the African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa conference, in Cape Town, this week.

Greenpeace welcomes move to license SSEG projects

Greenpeace Africa political adviser Happy Khambule says rooftop solar is a “no-brainer” and has welcomed the move by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe “to finally make sure that the country can go ahead with the installation of rooftop solar”. The Minister earlier this week instructed the National Energy Regulator of South Africa to consider granting licences to small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) projects with a combined capacity of 500 MW, without having to seek permission from the Minister for a deviation from the Integrated Resource Plan.

Pioneers and projects that shone at African Power, Energy & Water Industry Awards

A dynamic South African leader in renewable energy, a former influential government minister in Ethiopia, the Ghana Grid Company and a range of renewable energy projects were among the winners at the annual African Power, Energy & Water Industry Awards announced in Cape Town this week. The prestigious awards ceremony honours the leading utilities, projects and people in the water and energy industries on the continent and forms part of the African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa conference and exhibition.

Eskom unbundling will allow for efficient and effective management

The challenges facing State-owned power utility Eskom can be mitigated through proper, efficient and effective management, which is possible with the company’s unbundling, says Stellenbosch University Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) director Professor Sampson Mamphweli.

Nuclear is a solution to Eskom’s woes

The success of all the countries that have undertaken large nuclear programmes shows that nuclear energy is a credible solution to State-owned power utility Eskom’s power challenges, says retired Eskom chief nuclear officer David Nicholls.

Eaton acquires controlling interest in Turkish company

Power management company Eaton has acquired a controlling interest in Ulusoy Elektrik, a manufacturer of medium-voltage electrical equipment based in Ankara, Turkey. The acquisition will help Eaton develop innovative power solutions for the African market. “The acquisition of Ulusoy Elektrik complements Eaton’s International Electrotechnical Commission standard (IEC) portfolio and strengthens our ability to provide tailored medium-voltage solutions,” said Eaton Electric Africa MD Seydou Kane.

Power Africa moves towards its goal of bringing more energy to the continent

Power Africa, which was launched by former US President Barack Obama six years ago, is working towards its target of providing energy access to an additional 60-million new homes and businesses and adding 30 000 MW of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity on the African continent. So far, the programme, which brings together technical and legal experts, private sector and governments around the world to increase the numbers of people with access to energy, has helped 121 power generation projects that provide a combined capacity of more than 10 000 MW, reach financial close.

Energy in focus following elections

Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s focus on Eskom and South Africa’s energy sector as he considers the appointment of a new Cabinet, as well as the changes on the regulatory front with regard to small-scale embedded generation projects.

Mozambique power utility begins the long process of recovery following cyclones

Mozambique’s energy sector is trying to get back on track following the devastation wreaked on its power system by Cyclone Idai in March and cyclone Kenneth in April.   Electricity Company of Mozambique chairperson and CEO Aly Impija told delegates attending the African Utility Week, in Cape Town, on Wednesday, that the cyclones wiped out 103 km of transmission lines and caused the loss of 45 MW of generation from its Mavuzi and Chicamba hydropower plants.

Sanedi launches two solar heating system projects

South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) on Wednesday launched the first solar district heating system in South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand’s (Wits’) Junction Campus, as well as the largest solar process heat system in sub-Saharan Africa at the Klein Karoo International (KKI) tannery.   These two Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (Soltrain) projects, funded in part by the Austrian Development Corporation, will save the two buildings millions of rands in energy costs.

Zimbabwe platinum mines to ride out power cuts, gold output less secure

Power imports are cushioning platinum mining companies against Zimbabwe's worst blackouts in three years, but gold mines could face production cuts as they continue to rely on an unstable national grid, industry officials said. State utility ZETDC this week started indefinite rolling power cuts lasting up to ten hours per day, blaming low water levels at the dam that supplies the biggest hydro plant and creaking infrastructure at ageing coal-fired generators.

Swedish Foreign Minister outlines goal to be 100% reliant on renewables

The Nordic countries have brought their renewable energy expertise to South Africa for African Utility Week and shown how serious they are about reducing carbon emissions. Sweden’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Niklas Johansson, on Tuesday said the European country had the most stringent renewable energy targets in the industrialised world, with plans for 100% renewable energy by 2040.

Release of updated IRP imminent, says Radebe, as he allays coal producers' fears

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has promised that the update of the Integrated Resource Plan, which reflects the government’s policy blueprint for the power sector, will be concluded "very shortly". He told delegates attending the African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa forum, in Cape Town, on Tuesday, that the government was still in the process of engaging with its social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, but emphasised that the update was imminent. “Cabinet's approval of the IRP for South Africa will define a tangible plan for energy security that also enables the participation of independent power producers side by side with Eskom and municipalities,” said Radebe. He also pointed out that there was a room for coal-fired power in the future, but placed an emphasis on the need for clean coal technologies.

CER urges Ramaphosa to appoint environment-focussed Cabinet

In anticipation of next week’s Cabinet announcement, law clinic the Centre for Environmental Rights has requested that President Cyril Ramaphosa make environmental governance a priority and appoint committed Ministers to lead institutional reform. The CER has written to Ramaphosa with recommendations for the Presidency to create a Climate Change portfolio and a new Department of Energy and Climate, and has also advised that the Department of Water and Sanitation not merge with another department. With climate change severely threatening the planet, the CER wants the new Cabinet to prioritise climate considerations across all spheres of government and to be proactive in dealing with the threat, which the CER says the government has done very little to address, thus far.

Release of IRP 'imminent' – Energy Minister

South Africa's Integrated Resource Plan, which will set out South Africa's future energy mix, would be "concluded imminently", Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday. Speaking at African Utility Week taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Radebe said the IRP was still the subject of engagement with government's social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council. "Cabinet approval for the IRP for South Africa will define a tangible plan for energy security that also enables the participation of independent power producers side by side with Eskom," Radebe told delegates.

Global energy investment out of step with security of supply, climate needs

A new report on global energy investment in 2018 points to an ongoing misalignment between approved expenditure on new fuel and power projects and meeting the twin goals security of supply and decarbonisation. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) ‘World Energy Investment 2019’ report, released on Tuesday, states that global energy investment stabilised at $1.8-trillion in 2018, following three consecutive years of decline.

UCT GSB professor joins prestigious global initiative to end energy poverty

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business Professor Anton Eberhard has been appointed to the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty – a new initiative which aims to accelerate access to electricity to millions of under-serviced homes and businesses quickly and cost-effectively. The commission, which will be launched officially at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York in September, will operate under the joint chairpersonship of The Rockefeller Foundation President Dr Rajiv J Shah, former US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and African Development Bank president Dr Akinwumi Adisina.  

Davies approves Bojanala SEZ recommendation

Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies on Monday notified the public and interested parties of his intention to designate the Bojanala Special Economic Zone. The public and interested parties will have 30 days from the date of the publication of the notice in the Government Gazette to support or object to the intended designation.

Zimbabwe starts rolling power cuts, hitting mines, industry

Zimbabwe has started rolling power cuts lasting up to eight hours that will also hit mines, a schedule from the State power utility showed on Monday, after reduced output at both the largest hydropower plant and ageing coal-fired generators. The power cuts will add to mounting public anger against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government as Zimbabweans grapple with an economic crisis that has seen shortages of US dollars, fuel, food and medicines, as well as soaring inflation that is eroding earnings and savings.

Zimbabwe starts load-shedding as drought hits Kariba Dam power station

Zimbabwe started implementing load-shedding on Monday, after the government announced it was facing critical power shortfalls and had to introduce rotational power cuts in order to "balance the power supply available and the demand". Power utility supplier the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission & Distribution Company last week said it had been forced to cut power generation at its Kariba Dam power plant due to low water levels. The dam, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, is only 34% full and cannot generate electricity at optimal capacity.

New products for the agriculture industry being launched

Engineering components supplier Bearing Man Group (BMG) will be exhibiting at Grain SA’s Nampo Harvest Day this year being held from May 14 to 17, near Bothaville in the Free State. The BMG stand will showcase the company’s range of agricultural components, which has been carefully selected for farmers, to ensure high productivity, low maintenance requirements and extended service life.

South Africa’s energy transition won’t be ‘just’ in absence of inclusive social dialogue

South African Federation of Trade Unions general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called for urgent social dialogue on South Africa’s “inevitable” energy transition from coal to renewable energy, warning that the country’s current framework will fail to deliver a just outcome for workers and poor communities. Speaking at a seminar in Johannesburg convened under the theme ‘Unlocking a Just Energy Transition for South Africa’, Vavi said not a single union failed to recognise that there would be a shift away from a carbon-based economy.

Eberhard calls for renewables to play a far greater role in South Africa

Energy expert Anton Eberhard has called for renewable energy to play a far greater role in South Africa, adding that solar and wind energy had saved the country from what could have been a far darker place during the recent spate of load-shedding. “Independent power producers have mitigated load-shedding. If we didn't have wind and solar, we wouldn't have had Stage 4 . . . we would have had Stage 5 and 6 [load-shedding]. South Africa would have been in darkness, so renewables are already proving their economic worth.”

Energy dept launches updated Wind Atlas for South Africa

Department of Energy (DoE) acting director-general has launched the Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA) High-Resolution Wind Resource Map, which has expanded its coverage to all nine provinces of the  country.   Addressing delegates at a seminar in East London, the acting director-general emphasised the importance of accurately determining the availability of wind resources.   “As we continue on our ambitious renewable energy path, wind energy remains an integral part of this goal. However, it ...

Sand mining 'mafias' destroying environment, livelihoods – UN

Sand mining is eroding the world's river deltas and coastlines, damaging the environment and hurting livelihoods from Cambodia to Colombia, as government regulation fails to keep pace with rising demand, the United Nations warned on Tuesday. Global demand for sand and gravel, used extensively in construction, is about 50-billion tonnes or an average of 18 kg (40 lb) per person per day, according to a report published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Jeka Energy completes solar PV power plant for Air Products

Jeka Energy has completed the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) roof-mounted power plant for Air Products’ Kempton Park facility.  

IEA says world cannot ‘press pause’ on renewables, as capacity growth stalls

The International Energy Agency has expressed concern over the “unexpected flattening” of renewable-energy capacity additions in 2018, which, at 180 GW, remained in line with additions recorded in 2017. It was the first time since 2001 that year-on-year additions of renewable energy failed to grow and coincided with a 1.7% rise in greenhouse-gas emissions to an historic high of 33 gigatonnes. The IEA said in a statement that the 2018 renewables additions represented only 60% of the 300 GW in net new additions needed yearly to 2030 to meet the long-term climate goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.

SABS hosts wind energy technical meeting

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is hosting 40 international delegates of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC’s) technical committee 88 (TC 88) at the SABS’s plenary meeting on May 6 and 7. The IEC’s Renewable Energy Conformity Assessment will then meet on May 9 and 10 at the Groenkloof campus, in Pretoria.

Agri SA says concerned by Nersa’s reluctance to register small-scale embedded generator projects

Agricultural industry association Agri SA said on Monday it was concerned about what it called the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's (Nersa) reluctance to register small-scale embedded generator (SSEG) projects.  In a statement, Agri SA said its members had the potential to supply the electricity needed to prevent future rolling blackouts, known as load shedding,  through small-scale solar photovoltaic installations.

Egypt expects giant solar park to be fully operational in 2019

Egypt expects the 1.6 GW solar park it is building in the south of the country to be operating at full capacity in 2019, the investment ministry said in a statement on Sunday. The $2-billion project, set to be the world's largest solar installation, has been partly funded by the World Bank, which invested $653-million through the International Finance Corporation.