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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Energy forum panelists reiterate need for regional integration in Africa

A panel of speakers at the 2018 Africa Energy Forum, in Mauritius, on Wednesday, agreed that Ministers of energy in Africa and other stakeholders should focus on regional power integration, and what would work accordingly, rather than debating country-specific suitable energy resources and generation methods. The panelists comprised independent power producer Globeleq east African business development head Christian Wright; energy project developer Access Power MD Vahid Futahi; Central African Republic State-owned power utility Enerca CEO Thierry-Patient Bendima; energy power source manufacturer Wärtsilä energy solutions manager Jyrki Leino; economic development programme New Partnership for Africa’s Development regional integration, infrastructure and trade programme head Symerre Grey-Johnson; and global association International Gas Union director Rafael Lázaro.

Renewables, decentralisation top energy trends in Africa – Aggreko

The pace of electrification in Africa has nearly tripled since 2012, relative to the previous decade, with electrification in sub-Saharan Africa surpassing population growth for the first time in 2014. However, there is a long way to go to realise continental electrification, says Aggreko CEO Chris Weston.

AfDB pledges $12bn for Africa’s energy development

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has placed access to sustainable energy development at the heart of its strategy, with the biggest priority ensuring improved access to electricity across the continent. AfDB power, energy, green growth and climate change VP Amadou Hott told delegates at the twentieth yearly Africa Energy Forum, being held in Mauritius this week, that East African countries are seeing progress with regard to access to electricity.

Global interest in investing in African energy sector picking up – Minister

The willingness and interest to invest in the African energy sector is picking up globally, says Mauritius Deputy Prime Minister and Energy and Public Utilities Minister Ivan Collendavelloo. Speaking at the Africa Energy Forum, now in its twentieth year, in Mauritius, on Tuesday, he said the event has been gathering momentum every year and offers a unique opportunity to learn about development in the energy sector and investment prospects.

South Africa ahead of renewable energy curve – adviser

Despite the South African renewables market being in its infancy in comparison to well-established markets, South Africa is ahead of the curve, says owner’s engineer and lender’s technical adviser K2 Management. This, K2 Management South Africa country director Hebren James explains, is owing to power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the country being underwritten by the National Treasury, which ensures backing in the event that payment delays are experienced for power.

Global utility ENGIE says focused on off-grid energy provision in Africa

Global utility ENGIE says it wants to focus on providing off-grid energy in Africa, with plans to expand its solar home system (SHS) and mini-grid activities. ENGIE, which is participating in the Africa Energy Forum beginning in Mauritius on Tuesday, is launching new mini-grid projects in Zambia and starting commercial sales of SHS in Ivory Coast with its subsidiary Fenix, part of its goal to provide 20 million people around the world with access to decarbonised, decentralised energy provision by 2020.

Swiss place efficiency at heart of post-nuclear energy strategy

Residents taking occupation of apartments at a new mixed-use property development on the site of a decommissioned paper mill in southern Zurich, Switzerland, are all encouraged to download a neighbourhood App to their mobile devices. The social media component, which allows Greencity residents and office workers to communicate with one another, along with the ability to contact their facility managers, are by far and away the most popular features. However, the App has also given users the power to manage their household appliances remotely and to monitor their energy consumption in real time. These features have been added as part of efforts to align the site with the city’s goal of transitioning to a ‘2000-Watt society’ by 2050, which would translate to a daily consumption of only 48 kWh. Consumption in Switzerland currently stands at the equivalent of more that 6 000 W per person.

SOURCE hydropanel launches in S Africa

Zero Mass Water has launched its SOURCE hydropanel, which applies thermodynamics, materials science and controls technology to produce potable drinking water from only sunlight and air, in South Africa.

Egypt, Ethiopia agree to settle differences over Nile mega-dam

The leaders of Ethiopia and Egypt vowed on Sunday to iron out their differences over a dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile River that Cairo fears threatens its water supplies. Talks over the Grand Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia's $4-billion hydroelectric project, have been deadlocked for months. But at a press conferee in Cairo, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signalled they had made a breakthrough.

Energy discussion must be resolved soonest to spur economic transformation – Dr Yves Guenon

Certainty, particularly around South Africa’s future baseload energy supply must be achieved in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), in order to ensure supply security, which will, in turn, stimulate investment and economic transformation, Izibani consultancy founder and French South African Chamber of Commerce (FSCC) chairperson Dr Yves Guenon stated on Thursday. Speaking at a panel on South Africa’s energy policy, which was held at the Mazars office, near Rosebank, Guenon noted that the foremost priority of the IRP is to ensure supply security “100% of the time” regardless of which energy technology receives the biggest allocation.

Energy efficiency could massively reduce global carbon emissions

Renewable energy and energy efficiency are the cornerstone of the world’s solution to energy-related carbon emissions, and can provide over 90% of the energy-related carbon emission reductions required to keep global temperature rise to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, says International Renewable Energy Agency’s (Irena) director-general Adnan Z. Amin. “If we are to decarbonise global energy fast enough to avoid the most sever impacts of climate change, renewables must account for at least two-thirds of total energy by 2050.”

Interwaste uses innovation to convert waste into energy

Waste management company Interwaste is continually exploring processes and technologies to divert waste from landfills and has created a variety of methods converting waste-to-energy. Interwaste director for business development and marketing Kate Stubbs says the first way to get value out of waste is to understand what kind of waste is generated in your business or at home and how it can be converted into an alternative resource such as energy.

Zest to enter renewables market

Local manufacturer of large electrical equipment and supplier of motors, drives and switchgear Zest WEG Group Africa has announced exclusively to Engineering News that it has recently restructured its business to include the renewable-energy industry. This move is strategically aligned with the news of government’s recent signing of power purchase agreements with renewable-energy producers, says Zest WEG Group CEO Louis Meiring.

Demand rising for funding for grid-tied renewables

Financing to build renewable-energy systems for use by businesses in South Africa is growing, with many projects showing good financial viability and return on investment, says financial institution Absa renewable-energy head Justin Schmidt. The return on investment for well-designed energy projects is often between three years and five years, but most are grid-tied solutions that are designed around a specific, feasible business case, he emphasises.

Good corporate citizenship in a post-State-capture South Africa

A string of corporate governance failures and climate change challenges have cranked up the pressure on companies to become better corporate citizens and take care of the environment they are operating in. The renewed emphasis on governance and sustainability is not limited to the private sector, coinciding as it does with a change in South Africa’s political climate, as well as with nascent moves to clean up government departments and State companies.

Reinstatement of Eskom system reports seen as way to rebuild trust through transparency

State-owned electricity producer Eskom has re-launched its weekly system status report as part of broader efforts to rebuild trust with South African citizens, who remain skeptical about the utility’s ability to keep the lights on. The service, which is now available on Eskom’s website, was discontinued during Brian Molefe’s controversial tenure as CEO of the utility.

Eskom must diversify its energy mix – MacColl

State-owned power utility Eskom should diversify its energy mix, Electric Power Research Institute senior regional manager Barry MacColl said during a panel discussion on South Africa’s energy policy, and specifically the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The panel, held on Thursday at the Mazars office, near Rosebank, was jointly organised by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in South Africa, the French South African Chamber of Commerce (FSCC) and Afrika Verein – the German-African business association.

Interest in IFC’s solar procurement solution growing across Africa

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) reports that its programme to support African governments and utilities in procuring solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity from independent power producers (IPPs) has made significant headway in four countries, with construction of the first project under way in Zambia. Dubbed Scaling Solar, the programme combines best-in-class procurement practices, which have been garnered by the IFC and the broader World Bank Group over the past three decades, into a comprehensive package, which is then tailored to the specific circumstances and needs of the procuring country or entity.

Another two South African wind projects reach financial close

A further two South African wind farms, with a combined investment value of R6.6-billion, have reached financial close following the signing of agreements for 27 renewable-energy projects on April 4. Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power announced on Tuesday that construction of the 140 MW Kangnas Wind Farm, located near Springbok, in the Northern Cape, and the 110 MW Perdekraal East Wind Farm, located 80 km northeast of Ceres, in the Western Cape, should begin in June.

Record amount of renewable energy installed in 2017 - research

A record amount of renewable power capacity was installed worldwide last year as the cost of wind and solar became even more competitive with fossil fuels, research by renewables policy organisation REN21 showed. Renewable power generation capacity had its largest annual increase yet in 2017, with an estimated 178 gigawatts (GW) of capacity added, REN21 said in its annual renewables global status report.

Prepare for greater generation competition, Radebe tells Eskom

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has hinted at possible dramatic changes in the structure of South Africa’s electricity supply industry, which is currently dominated by Eskom, a vertically integrated State-owned utility. During a recent stakeholder gathering the Minister responded strongly in the affirmative to a question as to whether government would consider allowing greater levels of competition in the sector in order to ensure that consumers benefitted from the lowest prices possible.

South Africa to release new-look renewables bid window in November

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe announced on Friday that South Africa would launch a fifth Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) bid window in November with the aim of procuring a further 1 800 MW of renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs). Addressing energy stakeholders in Johannesburg on Friday Radebe said the auction would include similar technologies to those included under the so-called ‘Expedited Bid Window’, which was launched in 2015 an effort to allow IPPs a second chance to improve the competitiveness of projects bid, but not procured, during the first four REIPPPP bid windows.

Renergen impairs hydro project to focus on South African natural gas market

Integrated alternative energy business Renergen impaired its R12.2-million Côte d’Ivoire Hydro hydroelectric project, which was managed by its subsidiary, Mega Power Renewables, during the 2018 financial year and shifted its focus to the South African natural gas market. The impairment decision was taken after studies revealed that the electricity tariff required to deliver reasonable investment returns from the hydroelectricity project to Renergen were above the norm, and that the company would benefit more from deploying that investment to developing Tetra4’s Evander gasfield, as well as bringing a second operation online.

Property sector increasingly embracing solar PV plants

JSE-listed real estate investment trust South African Corporate Real Estate (Sacre) will invest more than R30-million to install rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) plants to help curb ever-rising electricity tariffs at its malls and reduce their carbon footprint.

Kenyan solar energy firm signs 40 MW power deal with State-run utility

A private Kenyan power firm has signed a 20-year deal to sell 40 MW it will generate from a solar plant it is building to the East African nation's State-run distributor, its chief executive said. Kenergy Renewables signed the agreement to sell the electricity to Kenya Power at $0.08/kWh, Khilna Dodhia said in an interview on Thursday.

B2Gold opens 7 MW solar farm at Namibia mine

Gold producer B2Gold Namibia on Wednesday celebrated the opening of the B2Gold Otjikoto solar farm, in the Otjozondjupa region.

Umoya study affirms social benefits of renewable energy IPPs

A social impact study done by infrastructure investment managers Umoya Energy has found that the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) is effective in delivering on social benefits through meaningful initiatives.

465 TWh of renewable energy sourced by companies in 2017 – Irena

Companies in 75 countries actively sourced 465 TWh of renewable energy in 2017, an amount close to the overall electricity demand of France, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) states. With the continued decline in the costs of renewables, the report suggests that corporate demand will continue to increase as companies seek to reduce electricity bills, hedge against future price spikes and address sustainability concerns.

Coega perfectly poised to participate in lithium-ion battery industry – CDC

The Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is at an advanced stage of setting up factories that will supply gigawatt factories with manganese, a key ingredient in most lithium-ion batteries. Coega Development Corporation (CDC) business development metallurgic sector manager Sadick Davids says the SEZ is the “most ideal location in terms of readiness for the beneficiation of the base material for this industry”.

Desalination’s future is going solar – TWS

The first highly cost-effective solar-powered desalination plant in South Africa will be commissioned by the end of October at Witsand, in the Hessequa municipality, in the Western Cape. The plant will produce 100 kl/d of fresh water to meet the water requirement of the struggling Witsand village.

Researchers suggest 100% renewable energy system is plausible

A multinational group of researchers have co-authored a paper to demonstrate that there are no roadblocks to sourcing 100% of a country’s power supply from renewable sources. The researchers, from Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology, the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology and Denmark’s Aalborg University, authored a response to the 2017 review paper by University of Adelaide researcher Benjamin Heard and his colleagues. 

Radebe officiates at launch of R9.4bn Xina Solar One plant

Xina Solar One, which is owned by a consortium between Abengoa, the Industrial Development Corporation, the Public Investment Corporation and the Xina Community Trust, was officially launched near Pofadder, in the Northern Cape, on Friday. The 300 ha solar thermal plant, which was built by Abengoa, became fully operational on August 1 last year and follows the successful launch of two other solar thermal plants in the Northern Cape, Kaxu Solar One and Khi Solar One.

New research group to bridge skills gap at Eskom

Applied Thermo Fluid Process Modelling Research Unit (ATProM), a new research group, is building on an existing collaboration between State-owned power utility Eskom and the University of Cape Town (UCT) to provide engineers with up-to-date research and students with real-world experience while providing solutions to some of the challenges facing ageing energy infrastructure in South Africa. “In South Africa, we have not only lost a lot of experience and knowledge but it is also a very tough time for capital intensive entities like Eskom to operate,” says ATProM head Wim Fuls.

Toshiba signs MoUs to support African hydropower, geothermal roll-out

Energy systems multinational Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions signed four memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to cooperate with African countries to develop hydropower and geothermal energy systems. The MoUs were signed on the sidelines of the Japan-Africa Public-Private Economic Forum, in Sandton.

Cranes company upgrades equipment at power stations

Crane manufacturer Konecranes Southern Africa is currently working on systematically upgrading lifting equipment at State-owned power utility Eskom’s different power stations. The upgrading of the equipment includes repairing equipment that has been misused and replacing equipment that is obsolete.

Rope specialist introduces drones to NDT at Eskom

Rope access specialist Skyriders has introduced the collision-tolerant Elios drones to its nondestructive (NDT) testing offering, and has started using them at State-owned power utility Eskom. The drones are part of Skyriders’ turnkey solution offering that improves the efficiency of the NDT and quality management of the NDT done at Eskom.

Alternative energy continues to power Robben Island

A solar and lithium-ion microgrid installed on Robben Island last year has produced 650 000 kWh of solar energy so far. Since adopting a green system, the island has produced an average of 3 250 kWh/d of power, says SOLA Future Energy CEO Dominic Wills.