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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Wind energy OEMs call to boost procurement gap; promise to boost localisation

Major manufacturers and suppliers of wind energy turbines and equipment to South Africa are relieved that the wind industry is on a roll again, but have called on the government to close the procurement gap in the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The current draft IRP has a gap in the years 2022, 2023 and 2024, when no wind energy will be procured.

Lazard says ‘inflection point’ reached making new renewables cheaper than existing coal

A new US study comparing the costs of energy from various generation technologies indicates that an “inflection point” has been reached where, in some cases, it is more cost effective to build and operate new renewable-energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants. The finding is contained in Lazard’s latest ‘Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) Analysis’, which the financial advisory firm compiles yearly. The report has been released together with the company’s latest ‘Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis’, which points to significant cost declines across most use cases and technologies.

Nordex to install more turbines at four South African wind farms

Wind turbine designer and manufacturer Nordex will double the number of local employees and install another 174 wind turbines on four wind farm sites in South Africa. Nordex South Africa MD Anne Henschel said the investment followed the signing of Round 4 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), in which Nordex was awarded four projects and an additional 547 MW of wind capacity.

Wind energy industry commits to investing in South Africa

South Africa’s wind energy industry has adopted a charter, which commits to long-term investment in the development of the country. A commitment statement drafted by members of the industry was adopted at an annual general meeting of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in Cape Town. It comes in the wake of a transition to an energy mix that will reflect a greater inclusion of renewables.

Wind energy set to play important role in diversifying the energy mix

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe says wind power can play a pivotal role in driving South Africa’s transition to a low-carbon economy.  Its competitive prices are also a drawcard and should be capitalised on.

Wartsila wins contract to build two Kenyan solar-power farms

Wartsila Oyj’s East African unit won two engineering, procurement and construction contracts to develop grid-connected solar farms in Kenya, each with a capacity of 40 megawatts. Construction is expected to begin next year, according to George Oywer, a business development manager at Wartsila Eastern Africa.

Africa poised to be global renewable-energy leader – AfDB president

African Development Bank (AfDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina says Africa is poised to become the leading region for renewable-energy globally and has reaffirmed the bank’s support for the ambitious ‘Desert to Power’ programme in the Sahel region. Speaking in Johannesburg at the inaugural Africa Investment Forum on Thursday, Adesina said that Africa’s growth could be accelerated if there was universal access to electricity, but that yearly investments of about $30-billion would be required to address the continent’s electricity backlogs.

Global body forecasts continued growth in wind energy generation capacity

China, the US, Germany, India and Spain are the top five markets for wind energy in the world, with 19.6 GW of installed capacity in 2017, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). GWEC senior policy adviser Steve Sawyer said the figure was slightly down on the previous year, but was expected to rise again this year.

Massmart top renewable energy user in South African retail

JSE-listed consumer goods distributor Massmart Holdings has become the biggest producer of renewable energy in the South African retail sector, with a total 4.4-million kilowatt-hours generated from solar photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of six stores nationally. Massmart corporate affairs head Brian Lerone tells Engineering News Online that the company will generate 5.5-million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy by the end of November.

Prices for renewable energy likely to drop further, suggests energy expert

Prices for renewable energy are likely to continue to drop, while the next utility-scale renewable energy procurements will probably come sooner rather than later, suggests energy expert, Professor Anton Eberhard. “I have no doubt that we will see prices coming down further,” Eberhard told delegates attending the Windaba, in Cape Town, on Wednesday.

Wind energy powers up in South Africa

After two years of uncertainty, the wind energy industry is pumping again, with R50-billion of investment realised this year, says South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) chairperson Tebogo Movundlela. He told delegates at the opening of the 2018 Windaba, in Cape Town, on Wednesday, that this aligned with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to mobilise investment in South Africa.

Radebe hints at possible Saudi investment to boost South Africa's oil refining capacity

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has called for a collaborative approach to attract investment in oil refining hubs throughout the continent and has hinted that Saudi Arabian investment in refining capacity in South Africa may soon become a reality. “In South Africa we believe the time has come for an expansion of refining capacity in addition to the modernization of existing ones. We are working very hard to entice investment into the energy sector. We want to attract investment into a new refinery in South Africa so that we are able to ensure that we are semi self-sufficient,” Radebe told Africa Oil Week in Cape Town.

Oil, gas outlook positive amid tough conditions, says PwC review

The outlook for Africa’s oil and gas industry is positive, despite tough economic conditions and far fewer discoveries over the past year, PwC’s yearly 'Africa Oil & Gas Review' shows. The review indicates how the industry has responded in the wake of the recovery of the oil price to close to pre-collapse levels. The price had plummeted to $28/bl in 2013 before making its way up to its current level above $80/bl.

New oil, gas opportunities emerge in Sudan, Niger

Some countries in Africa are emerging as potentially exciting players in the oil and gas space – from Sudan, which has emerged out of the clutches of civil war, to Niger, which is rising up as a new producer of petroleum products. Sudanese Petroleum and Gas Minister Azhari Abdalla Abdelgader on Tuesday explained to delegates attending Africa Oil Week, in Cape Town, how Sudan’s oil production had peaked at 500 000 bbl/d in 2011.

South Africa joins the IEA as an association country

South Africa has joined the International Energy Agency (IEA) as an association country in a move it believes will bring it closer to the cutting-edge of technology and global energy governance. It is the first country in Africa to be afforded this status.

Renergen to list on ASX, continue expansion work on Virginia gas project

JSE-listed integrated alternative energy business Renergen plans to undertake a dual listing on the ASX on completion of a fully underwritten R125-million rights issue to shareholders. Commenting on the proposed upcoming ASX listing, which is scheduled for early 2019, depending on market conditions, CEO Stefano Marani says the listing, if successful, will give Renergen the international exposure it requires and will also act as a global showcase for foreign investors on the prospects for natural gas in South Africa.

South African wind farm yield forecasts in line with global norms – study

South African wind farm yield predictions, which represent key inputs for the calculation of a project’s revenue and for the valuation of a potential investment, are as accurate as those from other established wind markets in Europe and North America, a new study shows. Conducted by Lloyd’s Register, the analysis is based on data provided by six wind of the eight farms constructed following the first bid window of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

Eskom launches microgrid pilot plant in Free State

State-owned power utility Eskom has launched a pilot solar-powered microgrid at Wilhelmina farm, in Fickburg, in the Free State. The microgrid demo plant is capable of providing electricity to 14 households with 81 family members, making up the Wilhelmina community.

New dawn, and possible expansion, for trailblazing wind farm

Independent energy company ENERTRAG South Africa, which acquired the iconic 5.2 MW Darling wind farm in mid-October, has confirmed that it intends studying the feasibility of expanding the Western Cape facility. The wind farm was South Africa’s first-ever renewable-energy independent power producer (IPP) and its establishment has been attributed largely to the determined efforts of Hermann Oelsner, the pioneering first CEO of Darling Wind Power.

Zambia power system glitch cuts electricity supply to some mines

Power supply to some mines in Africa's second-biggest copper producer was cut due to a technical fault, Zambian state power firm Zesco said on Friday. "We had a system disturbance which led to loss of power on the Copperbelt, including the mines," the utility's spokesman Henry Kapata said.

Egypt signs $2.3bn power plant deal with Saudi ACWA Power – Minister

Egypt signed a deal with Saudi Arabian utility developer ACWA Power on Thursday to build a $2.3-billion power plant in the country's south, the Egyptian electricity minister said. The plant, which will have a capacity of 2 250 MW, will be built in Luxor province, the minister, Mohamed Shaker, told a news conference.

Small thermal plants hold promise for regions without grid electricity

Small-scale power generation plants driven by hydrocarbon sources and biomass are still likely to play a valuable part in rolling out electricity in regions of Africa unserved by grid power and where renewable resources are insufficient to sustain a reliable energy supply, according to SRK Consulting partner and principal environmental consultant Chris Dalgliesh. In a press release last month, Dalgliesh stated that the lack of a secure baseload energy supply in certain areas could be a key inhibitor of local or regional investment and economic development – and many countries were looking beyond the traditional large-grid model to create broader access to electricity.

Digitisation set to shake up the energy sector

Energy experts believe there are great opportunities to save money and boost efficiency with a move towards more digitisation in the energy sector. They are preparing for a shake-up, spurred on by a move away from conventional generation systems, a surge in renewable energy and the introduction of more micro-grids.

Offgrid firm BBOXX targets two new African markets with EDF – CEO

UK-based off-grid power company BBOXX is looking to enter two new African markets in partnership with France's EDF Group next year as it capitalises on growing interest in the sector from large energy companies, its chief executive said on Monday. The two companies announced last week that the French power utility had taken a 50% stake in BBOXX's operation in Togo, where it won a tender to bring electricity to 300,000 households without access to the national grid.

Calls to even out procurement for wind energy

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has called for energy planners to even out the procurement of wind energy allocations between 2021 and 2030 to prevent a "stop-start" scenario.  The current draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has a gap in the years, 2022, 2023 and 2024, when no wind energy will be procured.

Business concerned about coal sector job losses

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Black Business Council (BBC) have called for amendments to the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2018, telling Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Energy, on Friday, that the draft plan, with its emphasis on renewable energy rather than coal, would lead to job losses and reverse empowerment gains.  “Black people are the face of unemployment in South Africa. Some of our members who are engineers are unemployed. We can’t destroy jobs in coal mines and in power stations. We have to create them,” said Seponono Kekana, on behalf of the NSBE.

NGOs criticise IRP public hearings process

Energy Governance South Africa (EGSA) has expressed concern about the way the public hearings process into the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has been conducted in Parliament, saying it had been a "one-way flow of information, without interrogation and interaction". The organization has penned a joint letter to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Energy, Fikile Majola, on behalf of a host of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), some of which presented to Parliament during the hearings.

CSIR points to 30 000 net jobs gain in electricity to 2030, despite fall in coal jobs

An analysis of the Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) recommended plan in the draft Integrated Resource Plan 2018 (IRP 2018) shows that there will be a 30 000 net increase in employment in the electricity industry to 2030, despite a 100 000 fall in coal jobs over the period. In its formal response to the draft document, the comment period for which closes today, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said the plan would result in reduction in coal jobs even with the contested inclusion of two new coal-fired independent power producer (IPP) projects with a combined capacity of 1 000 MW.

South Africa prepares for an electrified future

Amid the conclusion of this year’s Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC), founder and director Winstone Jordaan tells Engineering News that South Africa is poised to adopt electrified transport. “Without any doubt in my mind, we are heading for an electric future. This means we must find better, cleaner and more efficient ways of creating electricity and, in this respect, solar photovoltaic systems will play a pivotal role.”

Klawer awaits PPA signature, while Roggeveld surges ahead

Having received preferred bidder status three years ago, Cape Town-based wind farm developer G7 Renewable Energies’ Klawer wind farm project awaits a power purchase agreement (PPA) signature before undertaking the 18 months of construction needed to add 5 MW of electricity to the national grid.

Wind farm to power local development

The R3.1-billion Perdekraal East Wind Farm, in the Western Cape’s Witzenberg local municipality, has started work on its electrical distribution network, edging closer to not only making an impact on the national grid but also on the economies of surrounding communities.

Wind energy investors watching S Africa closely

For the last several years, from the wind industry’s perspective, the South African government has done everything it can to discourage investor confidence; however, that has changed with the new government, states Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

SAWEA CEO bullish about SA wind energy outlook

As forecast, 2018 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the South African energy sector, South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) CEO Brenda Martin tells Engineering News. Bolstering South Africa’s energy sector is much-improved policy certainty, transparent decision-making and public participation under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, she says.

Industry growth demands maintenance skills

With the growth in wind energy utilities, the demand to install, repair and maintain such facilities in Africa, including South Africa, is on the rise, says Knowledge Pele (KP) Academy head Richard Setati. He tells Engineering News that many reports and commentators attest to the overall growth of the renewable energy sector, referencing South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as a source.

South32 foresees short-term volatility, but long-term growth, sustainability

Diversified mining and metals company South32 on Thursday forecast short-term price volatility for the commodities it produces, but also highlighted its strong cash position and its work to further optimise its global portfolio of assets. In a speech delivered at the company’s 2018 annual general meeting, CEO Graham Kerr said the company’s overall financial performance benefited from stronger commodity prices and its efforts remained focused on mitigating inflationary pressure.

Siemens launches distributed energy system as solution to Africa’s energy transition

German electronics manufacturer Siemens on Wednesday launched, at its headquarters in Midrand, its end-to-end distributed energy system (DES) as a solution to assist the African continent in its energy transition. The DES provides for the targeted use of renewable energy, combined heating and power stations, as well as the provision of storage solutions.

Mali's first independent power project to start up next week

Mali's first independent power project – a €122-million ($139.06-million), 90 MW diesel plant – will go online next week in the country's gold-rich southwest, a board member of the operator said on Wednesday. The new plant could spur more of the foreign investment Mali has struggled to attract since Islamist militants seized the desert north in 2012.