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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Study urges South Africa to find energy-storage niche

With energy storage considered to be the “new wave” in the energy sector and increasingly becoming a reality, South Africa needs to prepare itself if it wishes to take advantage of the energy storage growth opportunities within the energy storage stationary value chain and the mobility value chain, says State-owned development finance institution Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) senior project development manager Bertie Strydom. Presenting an overview of an energy storage techno-economic study, in Johannesburg, on Thursday, he stressed that South Africa should not try to “reinvent the wheel”, but “should understand its competitive advantages and the sustainable opportunities within the respective value chains, start exploiting opportunities and secure its position in collaboration with key international partnerships”.

AfDB’s sustainable energy fund to support first utility-scale solar PV project in Lesotho

The African Development Bank- (AfDB-) managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (Sefa) has approved a $695 500 grant to NEO I SPV, a subsidiary of independent power producer OnePower Lesotho, to support the preparation of a bankable business case for the development of the winning project of the 2016 Lesotho 20 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) tender. “The bank will support the structuring of the project and lead it to bankability. Our ambition is to turn it into a reference solar PV project for the Southern African Development Community region,” AfDB Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency director Ousseynou Nakoulima stated in a press release on Monday.

Balwin Properties partners with SolarAfrica

JSE-listed Balwin Properties has partnered with renewable energy provider SolarAfrica to incorporate solar energy at two of its upmarket developments. The Kikuyu development, in Midrand, and The Whisken development, in Johannesburg, are one of the first developments in South Africa to offer residents cheaper and cleaner energy, says Balwin.

Furnaces and kilns manufacturers are feeling the heat

Furnaces and kilns manufacturers are taking strain, as with many other industries, owing to financial difficulties amid the current economic climate, says furnaces and kilns manufacturer Van Tuyls director and owner Richard McCullough. McCullough indicates that the number of manufacturers in the industry has declined in the past few years, while the remaining survivors have managed to adapt to the environment by changing their products and services and diversifying into new markets and industries both locally and internationally.

Macozoma concerned South Africa may miss out on big electric-vehicle opportunity

Leading business personality Saki Macozoma has expressed concern that South Africa is not fully aligning its economic and industrialisation plans to areas of future demand, including in the area of electric vehicles (EVs). Speaking at the launch of a new book authored by political commentator Jakkie Cilliers, titled ‘Fate of the Nation: Three Scenarios for South Africa’s Future’, Macozoma lamented the low levels of investment currently being directed toward generic research, which he said would assist in ensuring the country’s economic policies were alive to “large questions” facing societies.

AfriBusiness supports renewable energy

Business rights watchdog AfriBusiness this week said it supports the stance of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille on renewable energy and welcomes possible court action against State-owned Eskom. This court action is being considered as a result of the refusal by Eskom and the national government to allow the Western Cape provincial government to source renewable energy from independent energy providers.   “Eskom and the national government, including Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, would rather politicise the production of renewable energy and increase electricity tariffs than to yield a single cent to independent electricity providers.

Rail is the future of Africa’s industrialisation

Rail infrastructure upgrades remain a core focus of the ongoing industrialisation of Africa, where the transportation of goods and commodities is often difficult and costly, owing to underinvestment in rail infrastructure, says multinational power and engine manufacturer and distributor Cummins.

DBSA committed to funding infrastructure projects throughout SADC

With low levels of electrification hindering economic growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa – where 78% of the population is reliant on biomass as their main energy source – $57-trillion will be required until 2030 to fund the continent’s infrastructure and energy projects, according to Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) strategy group executive Mohan Vivekanandan. “There has, however, been a lot of progress regarding energy in the region,” he said, addressing delegates on Tuesday at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Industrialisation Week, in Johannesburg.

SADC sees growth in electricity generation capacity

Mainland member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) plan to add 30 646 MW of new electricity generation capacity by 2022. Addressing delegates at the SADC Infrastructure Week, in Johannesburg, on Tuesday, SADC Secretariat transport senior programme officer Mapolao Mokoena pointed out that, as at the end of April, SADC mainland member States had an installed generation capacity of 59 539 MW and an operating capacity of 54 397 MW against a demand and reserve of 53 478 MW.

IDC reports strong rise in support for black industrialists as disbursements fall

South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has announced that its funding approvals have increased to a record R15.3-billion in 2017, but also confirmed that it would not meet a five-year target, set in 2015, of R100-billion in approvals by 2020. Presenting the financials in Polokwane, Limpopo, CEO Geoffrey Qhena also reported that actual disbursements decreased by 3% to R11-billion last year, partly owing to a delay in the conclusion of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for ...

AfDB in $2bn project finance pact

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) have signed a landmark agreement to strengthen their partnership at country level and jointly contribute to $2-billion over the next three years to finance projects in agriculture, food security, renewable energy, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as human development, such as health and education. The IsDB is a multilateral development financing institution in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It is among the largest contributors of cofinancing to AfDB, while the AfDB and IsDB have cofinanced projects valued at more than $2.5-billion from 2002 to 2016.

African countries embrace alternative energy sources

With African governments realising that long-term power solutions will not come in the form of one technology, South Africa’s Department of Energy is advocating advances in coal, renewable energy, gas and nuclear technologies, says global engineering, procurement, construction and consulting company Black & Veatch. “Africa is a hub of abundant energy resources that can be brought on line quickly and cost-effectively. A blended and balanced energy system, that includes traditional energy resources, small-scale systems and renewable energy sources, will provide adequate power output for cities and industries, as well as reaching consumers in more remote areas,” says Black & Veatch business development director Webb Meko.

Gas beneficial in diversifying energy mix

Gas can be used to supplement the variable nature of renewables, thereby adding to a steadily diversifying energy mix in South Africa, says advisory firm KPMG South Africa energy economist Requier Wait. Variable renewable energy (VRE) is nondispatchable, owing to the fluctuating nature of, for example, wind and solar power. These VRE sources have a more variable cycle than dispatchable renewable sources, as their capacity depends on nature.

Moves to fast-track regulation could ignite energy efficiency sector

As businesses move to become more self-reliant and decrease their exposure to electricity price volatility, government is also moving ahead with policy support for energy efficiency initiatives in homes, business and industry, says Pan-African law firm Bowmans public law and regulatory head and partner Claire Tucker. She explains that industry can leverage a range of initiatives as opportunities to create and produce renewable-energy technology and infrastructure, as well as use these initiatives to invest in South African manufacturing capacity.

Nuclear seen featuring alongside renewables in future energy mix

During the yearly atomic energy forum – Atomexpo 2017 – which was held in Moscow last month, a round-table discussion featuring several energy experts agreed that a sustainable future power generation mix would almost certainly use an increased amount of nuclear energy in conjunction with renewable-energy sources.

Shale gas still a power resource option

Global leading engineering, consulting and construction company Black & Veatch sub-Saharan Africa business development director Webb Meko says successful exploration for shale gas could make up for South Africa’s lack of natural gas as a power resource. “Concerns about the possible detrimental effects of fracking on water resources in the Karoo basin are justified, but advances in resource management practices indicate shale gas should not be disregarded completely. Theoretical estimates indicate South Africa possesses the eighth-largest shale gas resource globally, offering abundant levels of low-carbon energy.”

Drought-hit Nairobi looks to filthy dam to keep business flowing

As residents of Nairobi's largest slum look for new sources of water amid lingering drought, they have seized on an unlikely one: An old 88-acre water reservoir full of sewage and trash, draped in water hyacinth. The Nairobi dam has been the capital's spare water reservoir in times of drought since the 1950s, but not a drop of it is usable now, as a result of heavy pollution.

CSP engineering specialist optimistic of technology’s inclusion in new IRP

Global engineering and technology group SENER, which is active in three concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in South Africa, is optimistic that South Africa’s updated Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) will include an allocation for CSP, despite the technology’s exclusion from the draft Base Case released last year. Regional MD Siyabonga Mbanjwa tells Engineering News Online that SENER, in cooperation with others in the industry, has made representations to the Department of Energy (DoE) as part of the IRP public consultation process and that it has been “encouraged” by the reception the technology has received.

AECI invests in US-based startup

Specialty chemicals group AECI has invested $5-million in California-based startup Origin Materials to support the development of renewable technologies. Origin Technologies has pioneered the development of bio-based chemicals, which can be processed into many products for application in global markets worth over $200-billion.      “The partnership with Origin fits into our core values, which include going green and taking bottles from a petroleum-based polymer to a 100% green bio-based polymer,” AECI CEO Mark Dytor said in a statement.

Futureproof solutions ensure green living

Demonstrating its capability for creative thinking, engineering and project management consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV South Africa has overcome bulk services shortages and ensured the preservation of the natural environment along KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast through the sustainable design of the Blythedale Coastal Estate.

Hybrid solutions key for Africa’s energy growth

Solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid technology is fast becoming a cost- and energy efficient solution for remote locations throughout sub-Saharan Africa. There is huge demand for electricity across the continent; however, poor and unreliable grid infrastructure is becoming a major challenge for quality electricity supply, said renewable power supply manufacturer and engineering and procurement contractor juwi Renewable Energies business development manager Monya Bassingthwaighte at the PowerGen Africa conference, in Sandton, on Wednesday.

Africa’s energy future lies in solar energy, says CEO

The future of Africa’s energy sector must rest in solar power if it is going to overcome the obstacles it currently faces, according to Zimbabwe-based renewable energy company Samansco CEO Nyasha Bamhare. Addressing delegates at the PowerGen Africa conference, which is taking place in Sandton from July 18 to 20, Bamhare noted that, from a social and political perspective, and owing to Africa’s growing middle class and technological capabilities enabling development, solar energy is an obvious and inexpensive energy choice.

Africa, Asia still lagging in Internet, electrification, banking access

With a worldwide focus on connecting the last four-billion of the world’s unconnected population to the Internet, a push to ensure the last 1.2-billion people have access to electricity and unlocking the world of finance to the world’s 2.5-billion unbanked, there is a need to start thinking differently. Mapping out these three challenges, Veriown president and CEO Steve Johanns, speaking on the second day of the PowerGen Africa conference, in Sandton, on Wednesday, said the overlapping issues all had one commonality – the people left out in the cold were all in the same two places – Africa and Asia.

Africa’s energy funding costs, capital access, risk profile under the spotlight

Aligning power generation and distribution projects with the host country and government’s mandate is a step forward in attracting more internal and external financing to develop comprehensive energy and power infrastructure. This is one of the messages emerging from this year’s PowerGen Africa conference, being held in Sandton from July 18 to 20, where much of the financing possibilities for an energy-strapped Africa is being mulled.

Brown acknowledges cost competitiveness of renewables as she calls for deal that goes ‘beyond ...

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, who in June criticised the high cost of renewable energy, offered a tacit acknowledgement on Tuesday of the growing competitiveness of solar and wind, while calling for a long-term deal with the renewable-energy sector to avoid job losses in the energy sector. Speaking at the POWER-GEN and DistribuTech Africa Conference in Sandton Brown said the deal should go “beyond the price Eskom pays per kilowatt at the check-out counter, although that is obviously important”. Any deal should also incorporate the necessity for “serious localisation and labour upskilling or reskilling strategies”.

Temporary mobile transformer helps Loeriesfontein connect to the grid

The Northern Cape-based Loeriesfontein Wind Farm has been making use of a mobile transformer to allow for an early connection to the grid for the commissioning of the turbines – a temporary solution until the wind farm can connect to the Helios substation, which is the permanent grid connection.  Project developer Mainstream Renewable Power country construction manager Kevin Foster explains the role of the transformer as twofold: it provides temporary power supply to the project, mitigating the risk of the Eskom transmission being delayed, and it allows for Loeriesfontein wind farm to undergo early grid code testing.

Opinion: Hybrid energy solutions can boost viability of African mines

In this opinion article, juwi Renewable Energies MD Greg Austin reflects on prospects in Africa for bilateral power purchase agreements for both grid-connected and behind-the-meter hybrid energy solutions

Black-led energy investment firm encouraged by moves to restore IPP policy certainty

The head of a black-managed and led JSE-listed energy investment company says he is encouraged by the framework outlined by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba for re-establishing policy certainty for the electricity sector and for independent power producers (IPPs). IPPs have been left in limbo since early 2016 when Eskom indicated that it would no longer sign new power purchase agreements for projects procured by government in 2015. As a result, 38 solar and wind projects with a collective investment value of nearly R60-billion have been left undeveloped, while the future of South Africa’s much-vaunted Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) has been thrown into doubt.

Best practice engineering crucial for supporting solar in South Africa

Although the global solar industry is growing rapidly, photovoltaic (PV) plants are still relatively new in South Africa and require professional design expertise to ensure best practice engineering, says consulting engineering firm SMEC South Africa power and energy function manager Stephen Reynders.

Conformity assessment key to navigating disruption in the power sector

The power industry is a global community that has developed a strong habit of sharing best practice and discussing joint problems – making events like POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa invaluable for advancing the sector in times of disruption, says testing, inspection and certification services provider Bureau Veritas power and utilities global market lead Joerg Gmeinbauer.

Decentralise, find optimal mix

Decentralisation of generation and determining the optimal energy mix for available resources and needs are crucial for addressing Africa’s energy challenges, say industry experts on the advisory board of the upcoming POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa conference and exhibition in Johannesburg.

Energy storage solutions to be leveraged in South Africa

The decreasing cost of energy storage solutions presents many opportunities for South Africa to manage the key issue of localised peak load power generation more efficiently, says green energy solutions provider Freedom Won cofounder and director Antony English.

Event to advance renewable-energy models

POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa is crucial to business development on a continent where there are chronic energy shortages and access to modern, affordable energy services is critical to developmental objectives, says South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia) chairperson Davin Chown.

Event to facilitate meaningful and relevant debate

The POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa advisory board has gone to great lengths to ensure that this year’s conference programme is tailored to meaningfully address the issues most relevant to Africa’s power generation sector and supported by a showcase of suppliers who can practically assist in implementing solutions.

Focus shifts to power distribution

Global professional services provider Accenture resources MD and associate director Ken Robinson – who will be speaking at this year’s POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa – says South Africa’s generation crisis is largely under control, but that power supply challenges loom in distribution.

Increased demand for fibre connectivity cables and accessories

Cable accessories company Tank Industries says the telecommunications industry is picking up, owing to the uptake of fibre-optic cables in domestic and new build commercial installations.

New solutions make LNG to power a reality in Africa

Marine and energy solutions provider Wärtsilä will present solutions that provide a way for the South African government to realise its liquefied natural gas (LNG)-to-power ambitions in a realistic, cost-effective and swift manner at this year’s POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa.