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We can’t run away from the power crisis – Ramaphosa

The power crisis is something that South Africa would have to bear with for at least the next two years, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

“That is going to be a problem that will stay with us for… two years. We can’t run away from that,” he said during a question and answer session in the National Assembly. He said many countries around the world were facing an energy crisis, including the US.

“The good thing with us is we are not sitting on our backsides. We are addressing the problem.” He said state owned enterprises had accelerated development in the country over the past 10 years. “Notable progress has been made in turning around Eskom.

I did say the appointment of the acting CEO [Brian Molefe] has been a really good shot in the arm of Eskom,” Ramaphosa said. “Governance and leadership challenges at Eskom are being addressed as we speak. “South African Airways and the South African Post Office are also being turned around.”

‘They are going to be turned around’ He said there were a number of reasons why parastatals could underperform, including governance problems. “[However] we must dispel the myth that people who run parastatals are ill-equipped to do so. Many of them are good professionals and they need to be supported and assisted in their work.

” He said Transnet was an example of parastatal that was “operating well”. “It may well appear that we are pumping billions [into parastatals], and we are. But that is how it works,” Ramaphosa said. “They are going to be turned around.” He said almost all companies have high and low periods, including those on the stock exchange.

“When they go through their down time, you don’t jettison them and throw them away.” Ramaphosa was also asked about reports that PetroSA could declare a loss of between R9-billion and R14.9-billion for the 2014-15 year, which would the largest incurred by a state company. He responded that many companies in the oil sector were having financial troubles, however he did not speak specifically on PetroSA’s reported loss.

Source: engineeringnews


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First SA Company to Operate Off the National Electricity Grid

In a first for South Africa, Calgro M3 is soon to launch a subsidiary that will operate completely off the national electricity grid, by generating its own renewable energy to run all aspects of the business, including that subsidiary’s administration office.

“We believe that in this era of tight electricity supply, any move to generate one’s own power, to be independent of Eskom, is an important element of sustainability,”

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explains Wikus Lategan from Calgro M3. “It has been estimated that a lack of power has cost this country 10% of GDP and businesses need to take action now to limit the negative impact on their bottom line.”This initiative will assist the Metro’s within which they operate, by alleviating pressure on an already stretched electricity supply grid.

This comes at a time when the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, has recently warned South Africa of Eskom’s continuing supply vulnerability and to expect load shedding for at least the next two years as it battles to deal with the power shortfall.

“We are using roof-mounted split solar farms across all roofs of the project (office buildings, gatehouses etc). The rationale for split farms is to protect against downtime. The solar panels charge batteries which are connected to a UPS internet enabled inverter, to convert the power back to 240V,” said Calgro M3 spokesperson Gillian Findlay. “All lighting is individual powered solar lighting – each light works independently, to protect against downtime.”

Calgro M3’s new venture, Calgro M3 Memorial Parks, focuses on the development of private memorial parks, with the Nasrec Private Memorial Park set to be launched in May 2015. Calgro M3 Memorial Parks will have headquarters at the Nasrec site. “The offices have been designed to operate independently of South Africa’s electricity grid, using various forms of renewable energy with generator backup,” states Lategan. “All of the memorial parks and all the facilities associated with this company will be entirely self-sufficient in power generation. We believe that this will be the first entirely off-the-grid company of size in the country.

Source: SA the Good News


 

The fields of ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY are converging fast through onsite energy solutions and new clean energy grid offerings. The REIPPP project is underway with billions being invested, transforming SA into a renewable energy leader, but ‘wheeling’ – the process of adding electricity to the grid in one place and taking it out at another, could open the flood gates! As producers gain direct access to end users by wheeling their clean energy through the Eskom grid, the market begins to open up, allowing market forces to push efficiencies up and prices down.
The fields of ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY are converging fast through onsite energy solutions and new clean energy grid offerings. The REIPPP project is underway with billions being invested, transforming SA into a renewable energy leader, but ‘wheeling’ – the process of adding electricity to the grid in one place and taking it out at another, could open the flood gates! As producers gain direct access to end users by wheeling their clean energy through the Eskom grid, the market begins to open up, allowing market forces to push efficiencies up and prices down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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South Africa industry group warns energy minister of reduced mine output

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A South African industry group has told the country’s energy minister that further power constraints would lead to reduced mine output and plant closures, according to minutes from the meeting seen by Reuters.

The meeting, which took place on Tuesday, was between Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and members of the Energy Intensive User Group (EIUG), an industry body that includes major mining companies operating in South Africa such as AngloGold Ashanti and BHP Billiton.

The ministry noted the meeting in a statement on Tuesday but provided few details about it.

South Africa is currently facing its worst power crisis since 2008, when rolling power outages cost the mining industry in the world’s top platinum producer billions of dollars in lost output and brought misery to retailers and households.

South Africa‘s state-run power utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL] last Friday implemented rolling blackouts in some parts of the country, the first such power cuts this year, and has warned that more are certain as demand threatens to outstrip its capacity to keep the lights on.

Minutes from Tuesday’s meeting obtained by Reuters show the minister indicated that she was exploring the idea of getting the private sector to reboot power plants mothballed in the past, such as those owned by local municipalities.

On the subject of Eskom‘s precarious financial situation, she was quoted as saying that the utility was “burning cash faster than it is making it” and that the company needed to rein in costs.

Even with a 20 billion rand ($1.7 billion) cash injection from the government and permission to raise electricity tariffs, Eskom has said it needs more funds to ensure liquidity.

The minister also said the high cost of diesel to run Eskom‘s open cycle gas turbines was unsustainable.

An Eskom spokesman said last week that if the cash-strapped utility was unable to purchase diesel supplies, it would lose 5 percent of its capacity and blackouts would then occur on an almost daily basis until the end of March.

Controlled power cuts are used to prevent a total collapse of the grid.

Source: Reuters Africa


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Joburg to power the city with waste

The City of Joburg and Pikitup are rolling out a project to produce energy from landfill waste to alleviate pressure on the national grid.

The idea is to extract gas from waste generated from your trash, to produce electricity as an alternate source of energy to ease strain on the overburdened national grid.

The city anticipates that by 2016, around 19 megawatts of electricity will be produced – enough electricity to power 16 500 medium-sized houses, The Star reports. The project will become the biggest landfill gas-to-energy project in the country once completed.

A similar project being piloted at the Robinson Deep landfill in the south of Joburg has already shown good results, Pikitup GM for disposals David Harris said.

“We will install connectors to our infrastructure and within the next year or two we want to start generating power from this gas. Five operational landfill sites [Robinson Deep, Marie Louise, Linbro Park, Ennerdale, Goudkoppies and Witkoppies] will produce electricity for the city from converting gas,” he said.

The gas is currently being extracted and the toxic gasses burnt through a flare to minimise exposure to methane.

While methane gas is a handy alternative to conventional energy, energy analyst Roger Lilley says it hasn’t always been a popular choice given the significant costs involved in storing and distributing it.

“The gas in question is methane, which is commonly obtained from landfill sites when vegetables or any biodegradable waste degrade and it produces methane. But it must be stored properly and distributed, and there are considerable costs involved,” he told Business Day.

Further than a tool to help alleviate the power crisis, retrieving the methane gas from waste means harmful biogases aren’t being emitted into the environment – an initiative that could earn the city carbon credits on international markets.

Harris said there was enough gas in reserve to run the project for the next 15-20 years, but that gas production rates could vary depending on influencing factors including age and composition of waste, the temperature and moisture content of each site.

Source: The Star, Business Day