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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa


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Renewable energy crucial to Africa’s power

Many African leaders have realised the crucial role that renewable energy can and will play in “bringing power to their people”, says multidisciplinary engineering consultancy WSP Africa power transmission and distribution director Dinesh Buldoo. “The return-on-investment of renewable power means that such projects are more cost effective in the medium to long term and take less time to build, compared with major fossil fuel-based power plants, for example.”

Resistance persists despite declaration of new renewables dawn

The world did not stop to allow South Africa to get off. While ‘sunny South Africa’ spent more than two years delaying the introduction of new renewable-energy plants, including 12 solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, the rest of the world continued investing. In 2017 alone, the generation capacity associated with solar PV grew by 32%, with the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) reporting a rise in worldwide capacity to 385 GW, from 292 GW in 2016. The increase is even more impressive when viewed over a longer horizon. In 2008, the global installed solar PV base stood at less than 15 GW.

Industrial microgrid leveraging solar and storage launched

Power management multinational Eaton South Africa has launched a grid-tied microgrid that uses solar photovoltaic and lithium ion battery storage systems. The microgrid powers its Wadeville campus and factory.

World Bank sees microgrids playing bigger role in Africa’s electrification as solar costs fall

Changes in generation technologies, including the sharp fall in solar photovoltaic (PV) costs, means that the evolution of electricity systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will need to involve more than one national grid, a new World Bank report argues. “The path to universal electrification will also incorporate interconnected or stand-alone ‘minigrids’ and ‘microgrids’ serving small concentrations of electricity users, and offgrid home-scale systems,” the bank states in its latest Africa’s Pulse publication.

Cosatu strongly rejects Eskom’s appeal for more money

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has rejected Eskom’s appeal to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to recover its costs in the provision of electricity, calling it “unaffordable, unreasonable and unjustifiable”. “We have no faith in Eskom. We completely reject Eskom’s tariff hike application,” Cosatu Parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks told public hearings held by Nersa in Cape Town.

SAWEA workshops promote economic development in rural communities

A final workshop in a series hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) brought together key representatives of the three constituencies concerned with economic development under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

PPA signings open up a sustainable energy vision for South Africa, Africa – Juwi

The power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed by State-owned power utility Eskom earlier this month ended three years of waiting and uncertainty and it is a significant step towards a truly sustainable energy vision for South Africa and Africa as a whole, says solar energy equipment supplier Juwi.

Radebe lauds REIPPPP, Bepa’s role in transforming the energy sector

The signing, earlier this month, of power purchase agreements for 27 independent power producer (IPP) energy projects under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) supports an increase in black participation in the industry, as well as the creation of black industrialists, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said on Thursday evening.

Rooftop PV system donated to Consulate of Italy in Cape Town

Multinational company Building Energy has donated a 3.12 kW off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop power plant to the Italian consulate in Cape Town. The plant, comprising 12 PV panels, will generate about 5 MWh/y of energy, significantly decreasing the building’s carbon footprint through a reduced reliance on the national grid.

Tribunal approves PIC’s acquisition of a CPV special purpose vehicle

The Competition Tribunal has approved the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC’s) acquisition of a controlling stake in concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power plant Equity Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is owned by German energy company Solitec Solar.

Redstone project to deliver clean electricity to over 200 000 homes

The 100 MW Redstone solar thermal project, in the Northern Cape, which has 12 hours of energy storage capacity, will be able to reliably deliver a stable supply of clean electricity to the equivalent of more than 200 000 South African homes each year. The project, which is adjacent to the 75 MW Lesedi and 96 MW Jasper photovoltaic (PV) solar power projects, will be developed by a consortium led by utility-scale solar power project developer SolarReserve and international power and water company ACWA Power, following the signing, last week, of a twenty-year power purchase agreement with power utility Eskom.

Agreement cements venture to deliver 1 800 MW of wind energy in South Africa

Diversified family owned German renewable energy development and operations company Enertrag has concluded an agreement with South African renewable energy company Genesis Eco-Energy Developments (GEED) for the development of up to 1 800 MW of wind energy capacity in South Africa. This is one of the largest renewable energy development agreements signed since the launch of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) in 2009.

Bushveld Energy progresses with electrolyte production facility, Eskom VRFB project

Bushveld Minerals subsidiary Bushveld Energy has made significant progress with exploiting the commercial opportunity of Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) technology within the energy storage market in the first quarter of this year.

Manufacturing and construction to benefit from renewables

South Africa’s manufacturing and construction industries stand to benefit from renewed momentum of the renewable energy programme, following the recent conclusion of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 27 projects procured under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The local-content requirements of the REIPPPP should aid in the recovery and growth of the domestic manufacturing industry, which was impacted by the more than two year delay in the programme.

‘High priority’ IRP update to be published soon

Department of Energy (DoE) director-general Thabane Zulu says the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is undergoing a final set of processes and consultations, as stipulated by Cabinet in December, before being published in the Government Gazette. Speaking at the Africa Power Roundtable in place of Minister Jeff Radebe on Tuesday, Zulu indicated that the DoE would provide the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy with an update on the IRP next week.

Environmental Affairs Committee welcomes signing of IPP contracts

The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on Monday welcomed the signing, last week, of 27 contracts by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe with independent power producers (IPPs). This, the committee averred, indicates South Africa’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions footprint and its transition to a low-carbon economy, as articulated in the country’s development blueprint, the National Development Plan.

Coega Development Corporation welcomes the signing of the IPP contracts

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) on Friday welcomed government’s commitment to clean energy, following the signing of 27 power purchase agreements with renewable-energy producers, reigniting the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The projects, which are expected to add 2 300 MW of electricity to the national grid over the next five years, should generate various localisation opportunities, said CDC energy project development manager Sandisiwe Ncemane.

eltherm awarded electrical heat tracing contract for Ilanga solar project

Private engineering and technology company Sener – and its procurement partners Emvelo and Cobra – has awarded global heat tracing specialist eltherm South Africa a contract for the design and installation of an electrical heat tracing (EHT) system at the 100 MW Ilanga solar thermal power plant near Upington, in the Northern Cape. Ilanga’s EHT system will take between six to eight months to complete.

IPP signing ‘a symbol of hope for South African business’ – Sola

Solar energy company Sola has commended Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s signing of 27 outstanding power purchase agreements with renewable energy independent power producers (IPPs).

Three-nation talks on Ethiopia dam fail to reach agreement

Talks in Khartoum between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to resolve differences over a dam Ethiopia is building ended early on Friday without agreement, the Sudanese foreign minister said. Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, a $4-billion hydroelectric project that Cairo fears will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia’s highlands and via Sudan.

WWF welcomes energy minister signing renewable energy contracts

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Thursday applauded South African Energy Minister Jeff Radebe's signing off of a R56-billion contract with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Radebe on Wednesday signed the hotly-contested renewable energy agreements with 27 independent power producers on behalf of State-owned power utility Eskom. 

Solar powers Redefine Properties’ sustainability efforts

JSE-listed Redefine Properties’ total installed photovoltaic (PV) fleet will produce about 35.75-million kilowatt-hours a year of solar power when fully operational.   This forms part of the diversified real estate investment trust company’s strategy on solar energy to deliver cost efficiencies across the business and improve performance on key sustainability metrics.

Num hits out at Radebe on IPP deal, threatens to end ANC support

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) has threatened to end its support for the African National Congress (ANC) if government continues with its renewable energy programme, saying clean power will destroy jobs and create ghost towns in coal mining areas. “Workers of this country will not continue to vote and support an organisation which is taking away jobs from the poor. We cannot perpetually campaign and vote for the so-called New Dawn as narrated by Cyril Ramaphosa,” the Num said in a statement on Wednesday.

Radebe says signing of 27 IPP agreements a ‘new dawn’ for renewables in South Africa

Agreements opening the way for the construction of 27 renewable-energy independent power producer (IPP) projects, with a combined investment value of R56-billion and a combined capacity of 2 300 MW, were finally signed on Wednesday April 4, after a confidence-sapping delay of over two years. At the signing event in Pretoria Energy Minister Jeff Radebe declared a “new dawn” for renewable energy in South Africa following a “long period of uncertainty, not only for the renewable-energy industry, but also for private sector investment in the energy sector”.

Kenyan fund targets $15m green bond for water projects

A nonprofit organisation plans to issue a 1.5-billion shilling ($15-million) bond this year to fund Kenyan water utilities. Robert Bunyi, chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Pooled Water Fund, said on Wednesday it aimed to launch a 15-year instrument and to have it certified as a green bond.

Long-delayed renewables IPP agreements to be signed on Wednesday

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe announced on Tuesday that agreements for 27 renewable-energy independent power producer (IPP) projects, which have been delayed since 2016, will be signed on Wednesday, April 4. The projects have a collective investment value of R55.92-billion.

Wadeville microgrid using second-hand car batteries for storage

Power management multinational Eaton has launched a microgrid that powers its factory and campus in Wadeville, Gauteng, using second-hand lithium-ion electric car batteries for its storage component. The batteries come from Nissan Leaf electric vehicles driven in Europe, and have about 4.5 years of operational life left. The batteries are converted and integrated into Eaton’s energy storage system xStorage, which also manages the variability of the power sources.

Court rules against Numsa on renewable energy IPP application

The North Gauteng High Court on Thursday ruled against the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and civic group Transform RSA’s urgent application to stop State-owned Eskom from signing contracts with private renewable energy projects. Numsa had asked the court to block the signing of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with 27 independent power producers (IPPs) until the court heard an application by the Coal Transporters’ Forum, which argues that a switch to renewable energy from coal-fired electricity will lead to job losses in linked sectors.

South African court dismisses bid to block $4.7bn renewable deals

A South African court on Thursday dismissed a bid to block $4.7-billion in renewable power contracts, an energy ministry spokeswoman said, removing an obstacle to the first major investment deal under President Cyril Ramaphosa. The last-minute legal challenge was lodged earlier this month by the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) and Transform RSA, a group which has lobbied for ousted president Jacob Zuma in the past.

US power group touts microgrids ‘as the way forward’

Decentralisation, through the implementation of microgrids, could be the key to improving grid resilience, US-based electricity supplier Illinois Power Company and Tucson Electric Power Company CEO Charles Bayless told an audience in Johannesburg this week. The design of microgrids, which generally refer to an energy system that is able to operate independently from the main grid, can be crafted to meet the needs of each individual community and society, he said.

Moody's downgrades Eskom's ratings to a negative outlook

Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday, announced a decision to downgrade to B2 from B1 the long-term corporate family rating (CFR) of Eskom Holdings SOC Limited (Eskom) and the zero coupon eurobonds to B2 from B1 in line with the CFR.  "The rating action reflects the fact that, despite a number of improvements at the company in relation to its corporate governance and liquidity, there is limited visibility at this juncture as to Eskom's plans for placing its longer term business and financial position on a sustainable footing," Moody's said.

Construction set to begin on ‘flagship’ 40 MW Moz solar project

Oslo-listed renewable-energy developer Scatec Solar, which has its African regional hub in Cape Town, South Africa, expects to begin constructing a 40 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Mozambique in the coming weeks after the project reached financial close in early March. GM and VP for projects development Jan Fourie says the $76-million development has been identified as a flagship infrastructure project by the Mozambican government, which is keen to develop its domestic renewable-energy sector in partnership with independent power producers (IPPs).

Policy implementation vital to ‘vibrant’ energy sector in Africa

Growth in renewable energy investment in developing countries has overtaken that of developed countries, which is testament to the role renewable energy plays in the energy sector, says Energy Security Services Africa head for strategic energy and client delivery Gareth Gregory. This, he told Engineering News Online on the sidelines of the Power & Electricity World Africa conference, is supported by a Bloomberg study, which showed that investment in renewable energy in developing countries overtook that of developed countries by about 16% by the end of 2015.

East Africa looking to smart grids for cost-effective way to deliver electricity – US firm

East African countries are increasingly looking to smart grids and associated technologies as a cost effective and scalable way to deliver electricity quickly and reliably, an industry official said. Delegates from Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda recently participated in business meetings and toured facilities during the East Africa Smart Grid Reverse Trade Mission hosted by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

EIB pumps $25m into off-grid solar project

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided $25-million in financing for off-grid solar lighting company d.light to strengthen access to energy in Africa.

Africa struggles to meet energy demand and reduce carbon emissions

The global energy sector is faced with the dual challenge of meeting growing energy demand, while simultaneously needing to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the energy system, says MIT Energy Initiative director Robert Armstrong. Speaking at the twenty-first Power and Electricity World Africa conference, in Johannesburg, on Tuesday, he said that, in order to increase energy availability on the continent, the energy sector will need to shift its focus away from fossil fuel resources or deal with the CO2 emissions from these sources.

Park Inn by Radisson installs Cape Town’s first PVT project

Hotel brand Park Inn by Radisson, together with hybrid solar products producer Solarus, have installed a large-scale commercial hybrid photovoltaic and thermal (PVT) project in Cape Town’s central business district – the first PVT project in the city.