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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa


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Zambia, Zimbabwe shortlist foreign firms to build hydro plant

Zambia and Zimbabwe have shortlisted American, European and Chinese companies to build the Batoka Gorge hydro power plant, the ministry of finance said in statement on Wednesday. Preparatory studies, including engineering feasibility, for the 2 400 MW power station will be completed by end of the first quarter, it said.

Africa still slow to take up EVs, energy storage solutions

Globally, there is a rise in the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) and battery storage systems, especially in regions where there is a lack of constant, reliable energy supply or more economically feasible solutions, Electric Vehicle Industry Association representative Carel Snyman said during a panel discussion on the second day of the Africa Energy Indaba, on Wednesday. Spurred by the adoption of cleaner, but intermittent energy sources, declining prices and regulatory subsidies, battery energy storage systems are being increasingly used across the electric system.

AfDB optimistic about Eskom’s turnaround prospects

The African Development Bank (AfDB), which has extended billions of rands in loans to Eskom, says it is optimistic the actions being taken to turnaround the embattled South African power utility will bear fruit. Power, energy, climate and green growth complex VP Amadou Hott told Engineering News Online on Tuesday that the bank was not concerned about its exposure to Eskom, despite revelations that the State-owned company would required a capital injection by April to remain a going concern.

Sun Exchange signs fund agreement with Decentral Energy for solar projects

Solar-generation microleasing platform Sun Exchange on Tuesday announced that it had signed an agreement with Johannesburg-based boutique clean energy fund manager Decentral Energy, said Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abe Cambridge. The agreement gives Decentral’s Grovest Energy, an Income Tax Act Section 12J fund, first right of refusal to fund 51% to 100% of selected Sun Exchange offtaker projects, as well as to fund any balances after Sun Exchange solar cell crowd-sales are completed.

Nampak marks 50 years on JSE amid moves to streamline and reduce environmental footprint

Packaging group Nampak, which celebrated 50 years on the JSE on February 19, is a markedly different business from the one that has its roots in a cardboard box-making factory established by John Herzberg in Waterkant Street, Cape Town, in 1918. Rising levels of automation across a portfolio of 49 manufacturing sites in Africa and Europe, together with a growing environmental consciousness, also distinguish the contemporary enterprise from the business that listed on the Johannesburg bourse in February 1969, under the stewardship of then chairperson Oscar Fruman.

Motsepe rejects Eskom conspiracy claims as ‘ridiculous’, but admits to ‘serious’ ...

Black business luminary Patrice Motsepe has labelled as “ridiculous” a recurring allegation that African Rainbow Energy & Power (AREP) is part of an unscrupulous plan to collapse Eskom and supplant the State-owned power utility with independent power producers (IPPs), in which the business would have a major interest. Nevertheless, he acknowledged on Monday that AREP had a serious perception problem, which would persist for as long as his brothers-in-law, Cyril Ramaphosa and Jeff Radebe, occupied the positions of President and Energy Minister respectively.

African market is opening up to corporate PPAs – Baker McKenzie

At a time when electricity tariffs are increasing and the shift towards greener energy is gaining momentum, law firm Baker McKenzie says Africa is starting to see a surge in the signing of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Gordhan’s IPP renegotiation proposal triggers ‘breach of contract’ warnings

A report indicating that the South African government may seek to renegotiate power purchase agreements (PPAs) concluded with independent power producers (IPPs) in 2011 and 2012 is raising alarm bells within the industry, which is still recovering from a protracted period of uncertainty created by Eskom’s refusal to sign new PPAs between 2015 and 2018. Business Day reported on Friday that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had proposed that contracts concluded during the first two bid windows of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) be renegotiated to “alleviate pressure on Eskom and the electricity tariff”.

Tanzania hydropower dam to cost more than double government estimate – study

Tanzania's Stiegler's Gorge Dam, due to be built on a Unesco World Heritage site, will cost more than double the government's estimates, an independent study showed on Thursday. In December, Tanzania signed a deal with two Egyptian companies, El Sewedy Electric Co and Arab Contractors, to build the $3-billion hydroelectric plant.

'South Africans must take climate change seriously' – Ramaphosa

It is time for South Africans to take climate change seriously, said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday in his response to the debate on his State of the Nation Address. He said if South Africa is a country that prioritises the interests of the poor and the vulnerable, then we need to act with greater urgency to respond to the effects of climate change and make our contribution to preventing it. "The rural poor are most affected by the droughts that have become more frequent and which last ...

Event set to dissect the future of African energy

The eleventh edition of the Africa Energy Indaba – which will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, from February 19 to 20 this year – will focus on the future prospects and direction of energy on the African continent from an energy provision and investment point of view. “Africa is the next investment frontier for energy. Energy access is now part of the political debate on the continent and there is an increase in political will to provide energy for African countries,” says Africa Energy Indaba MD Liz Hart.

Power utility business models set to change

According to Africa Energy Indaba organiser Siyenza, African power utilities must respond appropriately to impending forces to prevent being surpassed by technological and market change. The organiser explains that several disruptive forces are set to threaten the traditional power utility business model. Distributed power generation, technological advances and changing customer perspectives are amongst some of the major influencers responsible for this transformative change. The organiser stresses that this volatile territory will be of significant focus at this year’s Africa Energy Indaba.

SA company receives multibillion-dollar contract

Construction and engineering company Clough, a wholly owned subsidiary of South African engineering company Murray & Roberts - and part of the Clough Salini Impregilo Joint Venture (JV) - has been selected as the preferred tenderer for the multibillion Australian dollar civil works for the Australian hydro project Snowy 2.0. The JV, known as Future Generation, tendered on the civil works for the Snowy 2.0 project which are estimated to be worth A$4-billion.

Energy capacity shortfalls stunting Africa’s industrialisation efforts

Insurance company the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC) says there are significant shortfalls and backlogs in Africa’s installed energy capacity, which is stunting the continent’s efforts to industrialise and expand its local economies. ECIC COO Mandisi Nkuhlu stresses that electricity blackouts and interruptions in supply are commonplace occurrences in Africa, which place an unnecessary burden on the growth and development of industries throughout Africa.

Renewables ensure cleaner national energy

The wide-scale adoption of renewable energy projects throughout South Africa will result in a more cost-effective and cleaner national energy supply, says renewable-energy development and management company G7 Renewable Energies. “About 20 years ago, the renewables debate was about environmental considerations and whether it was necessary to introduce cleaner forms of electricity generation,” explains G7 Renewable Energies MD Kilian Hagemann.

Renewable grids present investment opportunity

The recent trend towards the development of renewable energy, including those based on smart grids and microgrids in Africa, has encouraged the establishment of a new renewable energy equity fund. With the Africa Energy Indaba set to take place from February 19 to 20 at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, long time attendee, international specialist banking and asset management group Investec Bank Limited states that it has noted a significant uptake in localised renewable power generation projects throughout the continent.

As renewables soar, BP sees China hitting brakes on energy growth

Global demand for renewable power will soar at an unprecedented pace over the coming decades, BP said in a benchmark report on Thursday, while China’s energy growth is seen sharply decelerating as its economic expansion slows. Still, China is set to remain the largest energy consumer by a long stretch into 2040 although India should overtake it in terms of demand growth beginning in the next decade, the British oil and gas giant said in its 2019 Energy Outlook.

KenGen to raise funds from the market this year, eyes green bond

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company plans to raise funds from the market later this year and it may opt to issue the country's first green bond, its chief executive said. KenGen has a 1 631 MW annual capacity and it supplies 70% of the East African nation's electricity. Private investors hold 30% of the company while the rest is held by the state.

Enel starts construction of 140 MW Eastern Cape wind farm

Italy’s Enel, through its renewable subsidiary Enel Green Power RSA (EGP RSA), has started construction of its 140 MW Nxuba wind farm in the Amatole district, making it the group’s third wind project in the Eastern Cape province. The construction of Nxuba, which is expected to be completed by September 2020, will involve an overall investment of more than €200-million.

Battle lines drawn as opposition parties contest Ramaphosa’s Eskom unbundling plan

The future structure of South Africa’s debt-laden electricity producer Eskom emerged as the central topic during the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s February 7 State of the Nation Address (SONA), in which he announced that the utility would be split, under Eskom Holdings, into three independent units of generation, transmission and distribution. The debate was held amid a return to confidence-sapping rotational power cuts and against a backdrop of growing trade-union opposition to Ramaphosa’s restructuring plan.

Opinion: Are there really more jobs in coal than in renewables?

There is considerable support in South Africa for the notion that a transition in the electricity system from coal to renewable energy will trigger a jobs bloodbath at both Eskom and the Mpumalanga coal mines. A detailed analysis of the job numbers, however, suggests quite the opposite. In fact, it points to there being at least 30% more jobs in a fleet comprising solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind farms when compared with an energy-equivalent coal fleet. The Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) ...

Electrical equipment group aims to penetrate new markets with integrated offering

Electrical products manufacturer Zest WEG Group has added an integrated-solutions offering to its products-oriented sales strategy in a bid to penetrate market segments in which there is a growing appetite for all-encompassing solutions. The South African company is the fifth largest branch within the larger WEG group, of Brazil, which has branches in 34 countries and has manufacturing facilities in 12 countries, including South Africa.

New statistics point to renewables playing a role in load-shedding mitigation

Newly released statistics on the performance of South Africa’s small, but expanding, renewable-energy fleet point to a positive contribution from the country’s wind and solar plants during those hours towards the end of 2018 when Eskom resorted to load-shedding. Compiled by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Energy Centre, the statistics highlight a particularly strong correlation between the daily generation profile of the country’s 1 479 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) fleet and the times of the day that load-shedding occurred in June, July, November and December.

Africa, Middle East increase onshore wind power capacity to 5.7 GW

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) on Monday released data that found Africa and the Middle East had installed 962 MW of onshore wind power capacity in 2018 – a 300 MW increase compared with 2017. The GWEC’s global wind report forecasts that a further 6.5 GW of capacity will be added by 2023, compared with the current installed capacity of 5.7 GW.

DBSA wins global award for renewable energy project financing 

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has won the African Renewable Energy Programme Award. The award was presented to the DBSA, in London, in the UK, by Project Finance International (PFI), an institution that organises the global awards.

Working together can deliver mining’s massive benefits – Friedland

Mining can and will deliver massive benefits if all stakeholders work together, Ivanhoe Mines executive co-chairperson and founder Robert Friedland said on Wednesday Speaking on the third day of the Investing in African Mining Indaba, he outlined the huge potential of collaborative government, business and labour effort in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he is developing promising platinum and copper mining projects.

Energy megaprojects on South Africa's radar as utility falters

South Africa is looking to spend-billions of rand to secure energy from megaprojects on the continent at a time when state power utility Eskom is broke and struggling to supply enough electricity. The government has signaled a willingness to buy 5 000 MW of power from a planned $18-billion hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, double what it agreed to take in 2013. It also wants to bring natural gas from fields off the shore of northern Mozambique to Gauteng, South Africa’s commercial hub, possibly via a 2 600 km pipeline that could cost as much as $6-billion.

Global demand for coal rises despite uncertainty

Despite a move to renewable energy, particularly in Europe, demand for coal globally soared in 2018, led by low calorific value (CV) coal demand. The strongest import markets were China and India, while Indonesia performed extremely strongly on the supply side. China’s demand for coal strengthened in the first half of 2018, and eased towards the end of the year. This year, however, looks "deeply uncertain", says IHS Markit research and analysis manager Sareena Patel.

Biogas flowmeter introduced for variable compositions

Industrial process instrumentation supplier Krohne announced the introduction of the new Optisonic 7300 Biogas ultrasonic flowmeter to the Southern African market in the last quarter of last year. The Optisonic 7300 Biogas is an ultrasonic flowmeter for low pressure biogas, landfill and sewage gas applications.

Disruptive forces set to change power utility business models

It appears that several disruptive forces are set to threaten the traditional power utility business model. Distributed power generation, technological advances and changing customer perspectives are among some of the major influencers responsible for this transformative change. This volatile territory will be a significant focus at this year’s Africa Energy Indaba. Considering these disruptive forces, many industry players predict the prevailing power utility business model to transform drastically between now and 2030, to a point that it may even be unrecognisable.

Opinion: Will unbundling Eskom ensure a sustainable electricity system?

That Eskom needs to be restructured is no longer in question. In its current form, the organisation poses a systemic risk to the South African economy and is ‘too big to fail’. The real question is what form this restructuring should take. For sure, the generation assets need to be separated from the transmission system operator (TSO) and from the distribution unit. But is that enough? Can the generation assets be kept in one legal entity? There is the risk, for instance, that the animal instincts of the separate board and executive team presiding over a 40 GW-plus behemoth could prove impossible to tame. In the absence of the moderating influence of a unified leadership structure, the generation tail could truly end up wagging the power-system dog and undermining both the TSO and the regulator.

Zambia's mining investment arm ups stake in Copperbelt Energy

Zambia's State mining investment arm is increasing its shareholding in Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) by 4%, its CEO said on Monday. "We are increasing the shareholding in CEC by 4%and are also looking to buy more shares," Pius Kasolo, CE of ZCCM-IH said during a media briefing.

Wind farms improve on foundation mix design to reduce carbon footprint

The 140 MW Kangnas wind farm, in the Northern Cape, and the 110 MW Perdekraal East wind farm, in the Western Cape, have announced the completion of a 28-day strength test of their first foundations, with a significant improvement in the mix design and savings in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The projects are two of the largest to have been selected under Bid Window 4 of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

SolarAfrica, Inspired Evolution establishes fund for solar PV solutions

Solar financing specialist SolarAfrica, together with investment manager Inspired Evolution, have signed a R100-million equity investment facility that will contribute to a R500-million fund for financing solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions. The funding joint venture allows SolarAfrica to strengthen its partnership approach by providing competitively financed solutions for its growing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and sales partner network.

Modules finalisation nearing completion

The South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec) has taken on the custodian role as the national renewable-energy-sector educator and hopes to have finalised all five occupational certificates of the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Qualification through its collaboration with Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta) and Western Cape provincial government (WCPG) by 2020. Saretec currently offers two occupational certificates to students in the solar PV sector, and is the foremost educator in this regard, having trained about 200 individuals in solar-related courses since its inception in 2016. The first occupational certificate allows the student to operate as a solar PV standalone systems mounter, while the second certificate confirms that the student has the skills of a solar PV standalone installer.

Solar streetlights installed at mine

Lighting manufacturer BEKA Schréder’s LEDlume-midi 36/55W luminaire, used in solar lighting solutions has been used at four intersections leading to iron-ore and manganese mine Assmang’s Black Rock mine, in the Northern Cape. “The intersections leading to the different sections of the mine have always been in total darkness. To make pedestrians and motorists feel safer, it was decided to illuminate these intersections,” says BEKA Schréder senior technical sales representative Quintin Etsebeth.

Investors will continue to invest in solar

Specialist banking company Investec Bank will continue to offer funding to viable projects in the renewables sector as solar photovoltaic (PV) technology becomes more cost effective. Southern Africa – more notably the Northern Cape province, in South Africa, and Namibia – is considered as one of the best places globally to develop solar projects, hence Investec’s commitment to support the local drive to keep up with the global shift to low-emission power generation.