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Enel Green Power Begins Work on New Solar Power Plant in South Africa

Enel Green Power (“EGP”) has begun construction of Pulida solar power plant, which is located in the Free State Province in South Africa.

The new solar facility will have a total installed capacity of 82.5 MW and once fully operational will be able to generate more than 150 GWh per year, equivalent to the annual consumption needs of around 48,000 South African households, therefore avoiding the emission of more than 138,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

The energy generated by Pulida will be sold to the South African utility Eskom through the 20-year power supply

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agreement that EGP was awarded in October 2013 as part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) promoted by the South African Government.

In addition to Pulida, EGP was awarded the right to build the Gibson Bay (111 MW) and Nojoli (88 MW) wind farms, as well as the Aurora (82.5 MW), Paleisheweul (82.5 MW) and Tom Burke (66 MW) solar power projects, in the same tender. The company, which already owns and manages the 10 MW Upington solar facility, was also recently awarded a further 425 MW of South African wind power projects in the fourth phase of the REIPPPP.

Enel Green Power is the Enel Group company (enel.com) fully dedicated to the international development and management of renewable energy sources, with operations in Europe, the Americas and Africa. With a generation capacity equal to approximately 32 billion kWh in 2014 from water, sun, wind and the Earth’s heat enough to meet the energy needs of more than 11 million households Enel Green Power is a world leader in the sector thanks to its well-balanced generation mix that provides generation volumes well over the sector average. As of today, the company has an installed capacity of more than 9,800 MW from a mix of sources including wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and biomass. The company has about 740 plants operating in 15 countries.

Source: newswiretoday


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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 plans 6.3GW round

South Africa’s Department of Energy has unveiled plans to expand its procurement of renewable energy by a further 6300MW.

The capacity will form a new round under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, results for the fourth round of which have just been revealed.

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In the past it has been implied that wind power will receive approximately half the allocated capacity.

South African Wind Energy Association chief executive Johan van den Berg said: “By this logic, we’re looking at perhaps an additional 2500MW to 3000MW of wind power and a procurement process that extends another three to four years.

“This, once gazetted, should give comfort to international investors to invest in local factories that can push the local content of wind farms to about 54% with the upper 60s in reach.”

Successful wind energy bidders in the fourth round were Biotherm Energy at the 117MW Golden Valley in Eastern Cape, Building Energy at the 140MW Roggeveld in Northern Cape and Enel Green Power at the 140MW Kurusa in Northern Cape and the 139MW Nxuba and 140MW Oyster Bay in Eastern Cape.

Global Wind Energy Council secretary general Steve Sawyer said: “The wind resource is excellent, the country large and the need for energy acute. We see South Africa as a strong growth market for the medium and long-term.”

Source: ReNews


 

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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SA tourist attractions to get solar power

In an effort to improve South Africa as a destination, the Department of Tourism will be launching a pilot project to introduce solar power at tourism-related establishments.

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom said that the retrofitting project will form part of a larger Tourism Incentive project that was launched earlier this year and will start by focusing on some identified establishments such as national parks, world heritage sites and botanical gardens.

He added that apart from the obvious Eskom-related reasons, introducing solar power will allow establishments to become cleaner and greener.

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“People are wanting more than just pretty scenery these days. If tourism in South Africa is eco- and socially-friendly, people will be much more inclined to pick it as their destination of choice,” he explained.

He mentioned that Robben Island would be one of the first sites to benefit from the retrofitting pilot project.

“At the moment all Robben Island’s electricity is generated by diesel engine. So, what we’re going to try to do is to allow all the energy requirements to come from solar, which would involve installing both solar panels and battery packs that go along with it,” he said.

Hanekom added that in the longer term the department was looking at helping establishments, businesses and accommodation offerings to be more resource efficient on a broader level, which would include waste and water management. They were also hoping to assist in making more places more disability friendly.

“However, right now we are concentrating on the more immediate challenge, with the limited amount of money we have, namely energy,” he told Traveller24.

In the meantime the launch of the pilot project will allow the department to learn valuable lessons regarding the installation of solar power to hopefully roll it out further afield in coming years.

Source: News 24


 

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South Africa Saved $69 Million From Solar, Wind Energy In 2014

The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme has started delivering financial benefits to the South African power sector and the economy on the whole, a recent study has shown.

A study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) states that the 1.6 GW of wind and solar power capacity commissioned by the end of 2014 helped save more than $450 million. With the payments to these renewable energy projects through feed-in tariffs at around $390 million the net ‘profit’ to the economy from these project is over $60 million.

Electricity generated from 0.6 GW wind energy projects and 1 GW solar power projects replaced 1.07 TWh electricity from diesel-fired power plants and 1.12 TWh electricity from coal-fired power plants. Renewable energy projects have thus offset more than 2 million tonnes of CO2e emissions in 2014.

Under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) South Africa plans to source 10 TWh electricity from renewable energy projects based on a wide variety of technologies. Generation of this quantum of electricity would be generated from 3,725 MW capacity. The government plans to auction this capacity through competitive bidding.

1.85 GW of onshore wind energy capacity, and 1.45 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power capacity will be auctioned by the end of the programme. Other renewable energy technologies include concentrated solar thermal, biomass, biogas, small hydro, and landfill gas.

The net financial saving of over $60 million is an excellent advertisement for the South African renewable energy sector which may see a further boost once the government introduces the carbon tax policy. Companies that would be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the carbon tax policy would be able to fulfil their obligations by generating offsets from renewable energy projects which, as shown by the CSIR, would bring in significant financial savings.

Source: Cleantechnica


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Advanced solar thermal systems for residential and commercial applications

With the natural growth of the solar industry in South Africa, we are now able to access materials and equipment that were previously unavailable. As consumers are becoming more and more aware of solar water heating, the demand for larger, more advanced systems has grown. Integration of various heat sources and heat demands is now possible, using carefully designed and sometimes patented hydraulic components.

Changes to the National Building Regulations have also created demand for integrated solar thermal systems that incorporate additional heating demands such as swimming pools and space heating. The integration of multiple heat sources and heating demands has in the past been a rather complex matter, since the design and control of these systems requires some careful planning. Access to more efficient pumps has enabled these complex systems to be finely managed to ensure the most effective delivery of renewable energy to the right place, at the right time, at the right temperature.

Fortunately for us (or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint), we are able to learn from others in the global industry and we now have access to solutions that make the task of implementing world class solar thermal solutions much easier that is had been before.

A number of fundamental principles are paramount in the design and effective execution of these systems:

• Fresh water heating technology • Stratification
• Flow modulation
• Monitoring

Figure 1 Plant room incorporating efficient technologies
Figure 1 Plant room incorporating efficient technologies

Let us look at these principles in more detail

Fresh Water Technology

The term is slightly misleading and derives its origin from the German“Frischwasser”, which is used to describe a component that provides instantaneous hot water, on demand, without storing the heated water. In these fresh hot water systems, the heating of the sanitary hot water takes place in a heat exchanger that draws its heat from the solar (or otherwise) heated buffer tanks. Hot water to be delivered to the demand points is never stored or kept in a heated state in a sealed vessel. The buffer tanks therefore become nothing more that static thermal batteries that store kilowatt hours in an inert medium, water. The water in these buffer tanks remains heated and insulated in a closed sealed loop to the various heat exchangers, allowing the system to draw from this stored heat as and when required.

This has a number of advantages:

  • Reduced heat loss from distributed small volume storage
  • More efficient heat delivery
  • Diverse temperature delivery from one integrated system
  • Significant reduction in turbulence in the stored water (buffer)
  • Dramatically reduced pathogen growth and reduced health risk
Figure 2 Legionella pneumophilla (National Health Service UK, 2012)
Figure 2 Legionella pneumophilla (National Health Service UK, 2012)

The last point above is perhaps the most crucial of all, since we live in a society where the average consumer may very well be living with a compromised immune system and would be much more vulnerable to contracting respiratory disease. The main culprit in hot water is a bacterium of the genus Legionella, which is spread in fine water droplets (aerosols) and can lead to an acute respiratory condition known as Legionnaires’ disease (World Health Organisation, 2007). This bacteria thrives in stagnant water in temperatures of between 30°C and 50°C, and can survive in temperatures beyond these limits. The use of fresh water heating systems provides a means to deliver hot water without the risk of bacterial incubation, thereby ensuring safe, clean, uncontaminated hot water. This is especially important in health care and hospitality applications where infectious diseases can spell disaster.

For detailed information about Legionella in the South African context, consult the recently published South African National Standard for Legionella Control, published 13th May 2013 (SANS893) (Ecosafe, 2013)

Stratification

The concept of stratification in hot water systems refers to the fact that layers of water at various temperatures naturally separate due to density differences, with the hottest water at the top and the cooler water at the bottom. The use of plate heat exchangers to transfer the heat to the required heating demands allows low circulation rates, thereby reducing turbulence and encouraging the stratification effect. This technique is often referred to as the ‘low flow’ or ‘single pass’ and is characterised by mass flow rates of approximately 5-20kg/m2h (AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies, 2009). There are a number of distinct advantages to stratification:

• Target temperatures at the top of the buffer are rapidly achieved
• Solar collector efficiency is increased due to lower inlet temperatures
• Reduced auxiliary heating demand
• Lower mass flow rates mean smaller pipe dimensions and also smaller pumps can be used The overall effect of correctly applied stratification is a reduction in the total energy required to

run the system, and a resultant reduction in total system cost (German Solar Energy Society, 2010)

Flow Modulation

Flow in piping is a much misunderstood and highly dynamic issue within solar heating design in South Africa. The vast majority of designers/installers do not consider the flow rate when designing or implementing larger scale solar thermal systems. In fact, many of them interviewed indicated that they gave it no consideration at all, beyond ‘is the fluid moving or not’ (Students, 2013).

The truth is that flow rates in solar thermal systems are absolutely crucial and can make the difference between warm water and hot water, no matter how cleverly contrived the rest of the design may be.

For example:
• High flow rates use high power pumps, increase electrical consumption and friction losses. • High flow rates may cause the disruption of stratification within the buffer tanks
• High flow rates accelerate deterioration within heat exchangers

Whereas:

  • Low flow rates reduce the electrical energy required to run pumps and also reduces the

    friction losses in the piping.

  • Low flow rates allow effective stratification within buffer tanks
  • Low flow rates increase the efficiency of solar thermal collectors, by lowering the collector

    inlet temperatures.

  • Low flow rates increase the temperature at the outlet of both heat exchangers and solar

    collectors, thereby allowing the target temperature required in the buffer tanks to be reached more rapidly. (German Solar Energy Society, 2010)

Thanks to the demand for more efficient pumps in the EU and elsewhere, we are able to access pumps and controls that allow speed management of single phase hot water circulators. By implementing a control strategy that dynamically adjusts the flow rate according to temperatures and temperature differences, the total system efficiency is increased, not only as a result of reduced pumping power, but as a result of more efficient solar harvesting (German Solar Energy Society, 2010). In its simplest form, a solar differential controller measures the temperature at the hottest point in the system, compares it to the coldest point in the system and adjusts the pump speed up or down accordingly. In other words, the pump will dynamically increase or decrease its speed as the solar input varies throughout the day. This is particularly important in a climate where summer thunderstorms are prevalent, since the solar circuit will adjust for the reduced radiation during the storms, thereby ensuring efficient solar harvesting.

Flow modulation is also critical in fresh water heating systems, which could easily be called the inverse of solar heating circuits – instead of changing the buffer with thermal energy, they discharge thermal energy in a controlled manner. Flow modulation is again very important, since the variable speeds of the pumps on either side of the fresh water heating system heat exchanger will ensure that the target temperature is immediately reached.

In addition, variable speed pumps form an integral part of energy efficient hot water circulation in buildings. By reducing the rate at which the water is moved in the circuit, the heat losses are reduced and the pumping power is consequently reduced.

Many advanced controllers, notably the range produced by Resol, Germany, are able to handle multiple circuits at once, and can be expanded to accommodate multiple stores (buffers) and multiple collector arrays, all with fine pump control included.

Monitoring

In order to deliver the best results from an efficiently designed and correctly installed solar thermal system, one cannot expect to operate on the ‘fire and forget’ principle. On the contrary, by monitoring the performance of the system post-commissioning, the set points, flow rates, pressures and other important parameters can be adjusted to reflect the operational realities of the system within its installed context.

Fortunately, many of the control systems allow data logging and display, using very basic components and a reliable data (internet) connection. In some cases, such as with Resol and their vBus. net service, the framework upon which one can build a monitoring portfolio is provided free of charge.

Monitoring of almost all states and values in the solar thermal system is possible, with the following being the primary metrics:

• Temperature
• Temperature difference
• Heat quantity delivered (kWh) • Flow rate
• Volume delivered
• Pressure
• Radiation
• Run time
• Clock time

This may seem to many to be an‘over engineered’solution, but the reality is that energy delivery is greatly increased if the setpoints are adjusted once the system is commissioned (German Solar Energy Society, 2010)

An important fact about monitoring solar thermal systems is also often overlooked here in South Africa. By allowing insight into the performance of a particular solar thermal system, the installer is showing confidence that the system will deliver energy as predicted, according to the client’s expectations. Publicly displayed data can be a double-edged sword, and one has to be very sure that one’s design is correct before exposing oneself to criticism. In other words, those that are brave enough to share the recorded data with their clients, are confident enough that the system will do as it was designed to do – deliver heat consistently and efficiently.

Recent experience (Author, personal experience, Midrand, 2013) showed that by adjusting various temperature set points within the solar differential controller of a large scale solar thermal system, delivery of energy improved by an estimated 10%. Additionally, the live display of data allowed the author to monitor the results of the adjustments to ensure that in fact the changes were positive.

The graph below clearly shows the increased temperature after certain adjustments were made to the system:

Figure 3 vBus.net display of recorded data (SEG Solar Energy (Pty)Ltd, 2013)
Figure 3 vBus.net display of recorded data (SEG Solar Energy (Pty)Ltd, 2013)

The adjustments referred to above are only one of the many improvements that have been, and will continue to be made to improve the performance of the system. The most positive spin-off of this initial monitoring is that the installer of this system has been awarded a second contract on site, with an expected volume of 12 000l.

For the client, the benefit has been not only the improvement of performance of the system, but it has highlighted the excessive water consumption on site. The result is that water usage is expected to drop dramatically in 2014, once the installation of efficient shower heads is completed.

Further developments in these systems will allow contractors to manipulate the set points of solar thermal systems remotely, with the use of a pc or tablet device. In other words, immediate adjustments can be made without a physical presence on site, and the work performed can be billed accordingly, without the service provider ever leaving the office.

Products and Solutions for Advanced Solar Thermal Systems

Now that we have established that fine control and management of solar thermal systems delivers better results and higher energy gain, how can we implement these?

In all cases, we would seek a solution that meets the following basic criteria:

• Efficient
• Affordable
• Robust

• Simple to install

Fortunately we now have access to a number of solutions that combine all the essential elements that we have mentioned so far, both on the input and delivery side of the system.

Stratified Charging Module SLM120XL

Marketed by SEG Solar Energy (Pty)Ltd, this streamlined solution is suitable for both new and retrofit installations. The SLM120XL unit is able to handle up to 120m2 of solar thermal collector area and incorporates a Resol differential solar controller and energy efficient variable speed pumps. (SEG Solar Energy, 2012)

Figure 4 Stratified charging module SLM120XL (SEG Solar Energy, 2012)
Figure 4 Stratified charging module SLM120XL (SEG Solar Energy, 2012)

In addition to the main function of the unit, the following information can be recorded and displayed:

• Flow rates and volumes
• Temperatures at all sensor positions • Heat quantity produced
• Error states

Fresh Water Module FWM225XL

When it comes to delivering uncontaminated, instantaneously heated water, the Fresh Water Module FWM225XL is the uncontested leader in the game. This patented product was the result of research and development performed by individuals who subsequently built and now operate the world’s largest manufacturer of flat plate solar collectors.

The FWM225XL module is designed to provide instantly heated hot water, while drawing the heated fluid from the buffers and simultaneously providing hot water recirculation in the building. As previously described, this component uses a plate heat exchanger and variable speed pumps to ensure the most efficient use of stored heat and consistent delivery of clean hot water, without the risk of bacterial contamination. (SEG Solar Energy, 2012)

With the help of the controller fitted to the unit, various data points can be read and displayed, such as:

• Temperature • Flow rate
• Run time
• Pressure

Figure 5 Fresh Water Module FWS225XL
Figure 5 Fresh Water Module FWS225XL

By combining the aforementioned devices with the appropriate storage vessels, the result

would look something similar to the representation in the diagram below:

Figure 6 Large scale SWH system with stratified charging and fresh water technology (SEG Solar Energy, 2012)
Figure 6 Large scale SWH system with stratified charging and fresh water technology (SEG Solar Energy, 2012)
Conclusion

Solar thermal systems are fast achieving their correct place in the South African HVAC industry – that of primary energy source – and no longer the ‘alternative’

The question is no longer “does solar work?” but rather “how can you maximise the delivery of solar energy” in your project today, and into the future.

Given the range of efficient solutions available, it is inconceivable that anyone would be hesitant to invest in the cleanest source of energy our species has ever seen. Solar simply works.

Source: Sustainable Energy Resource Handbook Volume 5


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In the debate over water scarcity, it’s time to think solar

With more than 780 million people lacking access to potable water and 1.3 billion people lacking access to electricity, sustainable water and energy production is critical to our planet’s future. It is in this context that leaders from around the world are gathering at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, to address the water-energy nexus and its effect, elevating this important discussion to the global agenda.

According to the International Energy Agency, energy production accounts for 15 per cent of the world’s total water withdrawal – defined as water withdrawn from a groundwater source – which amounts to an estimated 580 billion cubic metres of fresh water per year. Thermoelectric power plants already account for over a third of fresh water withdrawal in the United States, where the volume is even more than the water used for agriculture, and in Europe.

There is no doubt that the water-energy nexus is real and of particular concern to water-scarce regions, such as the Middle East. The fact of the matter is that most energy generation technologies — including coal, nuclear and even concentrating solar power – consume tremendous amounts of water during operations, for processes such as fuel extraction, cooling and cleaning.

As our energy needs continue to grow, so will our use of water to generate it. The World Bank predicts that while global energy consumption will increase by 35 per cent by 2035, water consumption will increase by 85 per cent during the same period.

Looking at it in the context of energy demand in the Middle East, which has some of the highest per capita water and energy consumption rates in the world, the management of water resources will be critical to driving growth in the country’s generation capacity.

Water is a finite resource and its use in electricity production should be managed through diversified power generation that minimises water usage.

Sunlight, on the other hand, is an abundant resource and can help mitigate some of the effect on our water resources. Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy is one of only two electricity generation technologies with comparatively negligible water consumption.

PV energy systems provide a sustainable solution to the water-energy nexus by generating clean electricity with little to no water use. Most of the water consumed at solar plants is used to ensure that workers on-site stay hydrated.

On a life cycle basis, PV also consumes less water than most other power generation sources, including hydrocarbon-based technologies and biofuels, in the production process.

With the smallest carbon footprint, lowest life cycle water use, and fastest energy payback time in the industry, thin-film PV modules provide a sustainable solution to water scarcity and energy security.

While a power portfolio that completely excludes thermal generation is an unrealistic expectation at this time, the reality is that water conservation needs to remain a priority. As world leaders and decision makers meet in Abu Dhabi this week, it will also be important for them to attempt to respond to the issue in terms that will deliver tangible results.

Source: The National 


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SA’s long-term nuclear plan no solution to country’s short-term energy needs

South Africa’s national power grid will once again come under tremendous pressure this month as businesses and schools reopen after the holiday season, and will see electricity demands increase significantly. This follows the rolling blackouts experienced last year because of Eskom experiencing problems at its power plants and an ageing power system.
According to Vice President of Talesun Energy, Arthur Chien, the recent signing of a nuclear power cooperation deal between South Africa and Russia, which has been touted by many as a potential energy solution, is not a solution as this is a long-term strategy for the country. He says it is crucial that renewable energy projects are fast-tracked nationally, in order to counter electricity shortages in the short-term.
Chien explains that the construction of a nuclear station can take anywhere from five to seven years, whereas a wind farm takes about six months and a solar farm would take only 16 weeks from start to finish depending on its size.”South Africa’s electricity crisis was recently highlighted at the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October 2014 as being one of the main factors hindering growth and investments in the country and is largely the driver behind the recent signing of the nuclear power cooperation deal between South Africa and Russia to build up to eight nuclear reactors.”

Talking millions and billions

However, he says that nuclear power is not economically viable due to high costs needed to construct and maintain plants. “The cost to build a nuclear power station varies in each country. In the United States for example, a nuclear reactor could cost around $10 billion and repairs can also amount to millions of dollars. At the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona in the US, last year, a leak inside the reactor cost $10 million to $15 million to repair. Solar farms on the other hand, are far more economical as the cost to build ranges between $300 million and $500 million and all that is needed is a large piece of land which receives a vast amount sunlight.”

Furthermore, Chien says that the running costs of electricity generated by a nuclear power plant are far higher than electricity generated from photovoltaic solar energy, as nuclear power plants run throughout the day and night, and according to the Brookings Institution, an American research NGO, they are 75% more expensive to build and run per MW of capacity than a solar-power plant.

Therefore continuing to operate nuclear plants prevents the large-scale integration of renewable energy into the electricity grid.” Chien refers to research conducted by Greenpeace, which states that nuclear also channels investment away from renewables where investment can make a difference in fighting climate change and that renewables can replace several times more of the carbon that is leading to climate change – for the same cost as nuclear and at a far faster pace.

Health and environmental risks

Chien adds that the health and environmental risks associated with nuclear power are also extremely high, especially for those who work in and live in close proximity to plants. “Nuclear power produces toxic waste which can be detrimental to people’s health, as well as the environment. Furthermore, the risk of a nuclear accident like that of the Fukushima meltdown exists and it is crucial to consider because of the effects, including increased levels of radiation in the area and contaminated food and water.”

In addition, he points to the issue of nuclear waste, which is created from the use or reprocessing of nuclear fuel. “This is difficult to dispose of and special remote areas have to be located and designated in order to dump the waste, whereas solar panels can be recycled. The cost to recycle solar panels is often included in the overall cost of the installation of solar panels, but this is not always the case when it comes to the disposal of nuclear waste.” Further, he says that as nuclear waste is able to remain radioactive for either a few hours or thousands of years. Chien says that there’s no wonder why countries such as Sweden, Italy, Belgium and Germany have started to phase nuclear power stations out, and countries such as Austria and Spain have enacted laws to cease construction on new nuclear power stations.”The recent 2014 World Nuclear Industry Status Report notes that the use of renewable energy will increase rapidly and that investment in renewable energy will prevail and will ultimately surpass investment in fossil fuel power stations and nuclear power plants.

“An indication that South Africa is heading in the right direction to overcome the energy crisis by means of an environmentally friendly, safer and more economical way, includes the rollout of Kalkbult solar plant in the Northern Cape, a Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme project, which can already produce enough electricity to be consumed by approximately 33 000 households, lessening the carbon footprint in the area,”

Source: Bizcommunity


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South African DOE Awards SolarReserve Concentrating Solar Power Project

The South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded preferred bidder status for a 100 megawatt (MW) Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) project to SolarReserve and International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power). The project was developed in response to the DOE’s Round 3 (CSP) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The Redstone Solar Thermal Power project, with the lowest tariff bid to date from any CSP project in the country, is scheduled to achieve financial close later in 2015 and commence operations in early 2018.

The first of its kind in Africa, the Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project features SolarReserve’s molten salt energy storage technology in a tower configuration. According to SolarReserve, the 100 MW project with 12 hours of full-load energy storage will be able to reliably deliver a stable electricity supply to more than 200,000 South African homes during peak demand periods.

Fueled completely by the sun, with no back up fuel required, the project also features dry cooling of the power generation cycle as an important element to minimize water use. The project technology will be based on SolarReserve’s successful Crescent Dunes project in the U.S., which is complete with construction and currently in final commissioning.

“The Redstone project marks an important technology advancement for South Africa in solar power,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith. “Due to the fully integrated thermal energy storage, the plant will provide dispatchable power on-demand, just like conventional coal, oil, nuclear or natural gas-fired power plants, but without the harmful emissions or hazardous materials and without any fuel cost. In addition, the project’s delivered electricity price is the lowest of any Concentrating Solar Power project in the country to date.”

The Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project will be located in Postmasburg, near Kimberley in the Northern Cape Province, adjacent to the 75 MW Lesedi and 96 MW Jasper photovoltaic (PV) solar power projects successfully developed by SolarReserve and its investment partners. Together, the three projects comprise the world’s first combined CSP and PV solar park with a total of 271 MW of generating capacity.

“This Redstone Solar Project together with our 50 MW Bokpoort CSP project in South Africa and the Noor1, 160 MW solar thermal power plant at Ouarzzate in Morocco, extends ACWA Power’s success in solar energy on the African continent,” added Paddy Padmanathan, president and CEO of ACWA Power. “All aspects of the project, from development phase to construction and then operations, have been structured to ensure maximization of value retention in not just only the South African economy, but also within the local economy of Northern Cape Province recognizing the intrinsic value in co-developing local people along with this asset which will co-exist with the local community for decades to come.”

Source: Domestic Fuel


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2015 Africa Electric Power Conferences

Sub-Sahara African countries continue to pursue development of their electric power sector to combat “energy poverty” and encourage expansion of power-hungry businesses. Much of this energy development centers around renewable energy, such as solar and wind technologies, as well as off-grid strategies for remote regions far from transmission lines.

With such demand for electricity in Africa and international investors eager to fund these power projects, the continent has become the poster child for new renewable energy development technologies and 2015 again sees the return of many long-running African energy conferences, as well as several new ones throughout Africa, the U.S. and UK.

So you can easily mark you calendars, we have broken down by month the 2015 electric power development conferences scheduled thus far.

January 2015

8th World Future Energy Summit (WFES) (Jan. 19-22, Abu Dhabi, UAE) With 30,000 attendees expected from 170 countries over four days, this conference unites the key players from the renewable energy and clean technology industry sectors. WFES takes place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), a global platform to address the challenges of economic development, water scarcity, poverty, energy and climate change that affect the adoption of sustainable development and clean energy.

Powering Africa: Summit (Jan. 28-30, Washington, D.C.) Though taking place in Washington, this event is actually sponsored by UK-based EnergyNet to bring together African Ministries, American CEOs and U.S. government investment agencies to discuss the progress of programs such as “Power Africa” and highlight new investor programs currently being developed. Watch AFKInsider for pre-event coverage of this one.

Africa Power Summit 2015 (Jan. 29-30, London) The emphasis at this Summit is the latest “Smart Energy” technologies, including smart metering projects, the future of Africa’s energy sector, renewables and more. The conference also includes an exhibition showcasing the latest smart energy technologies and solutions.

February 2015

3rd West African Clean Energy & Environment Exhibition & Conference (Feb. 10-12, Accra, Ghana) Organized with the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Ghana, this event draws technology leaders from Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, South Africa and the UK displaying their latest in clean energy and environmental technology.

Africa Energy Indaba 2015 (Feb. 17-18, Johannesburg, South Africa) Adopted by the World Energy Council as their African regional event and supported by the South African National Energy Association, the African Union and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, the program of this event is set by an international steering committee of government and industry leaders representing the oil, gas and renewables sectors.

2nd Nuclear Industry Congress Africa 2015 (Feb. 12-13, Cape Town, South Africa) Over 150 nuclear industry professionals will gather for networking and panel sessions covering topics that include: Nuclear Power in Future Africa; Kenya’s Plan of Nuclear Power; Challenges and Opportunities for Private Sector Participation; Regulatory Authority Perspective on Nuclear Power; and Cooperation on the Development of Nuclear Power and Clean Energy in Africa.

March 2015

Solar/Diesel Africa (March 3-4, Johannesburg, South Africa) This two-day business and technology development event gives participants the opportunity to learn about the best practices and new developments of solar-diesel hybrid power systems in Africa’s remote communities, mining sites and large energy users.

Solar Energy East Africa Conference (March 10-11, Nairobi, Kenya) Supported by the Kenyan Association of Manufacturers, Tanzania Confederation of Industries and Tanzanian Ministry of Mines & Energy, this two-day program will bring together domestic and international solar developers with East African commercial power users to explore grid-tied and off-grid commercially viable opportunities for solar PV projects.

Africa Future Energy Forum (March 18-19, Nairobi, Kenya) With the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Energy Potential,” this forum will bring together major stakeholders to discuss policy, technology and financing aspects of Africa’s energy sector. Issues covered in plenary sessions and panel discussions include: energy security; trends in the renewable sector; and energy policies.

Power & Electricity World Africa 2015 (March 24-25, Johannesburg, South Africa) This event brings together African power producers, large energy users and governments to share ideas on the latest electricity generation innovations throughout the entire energy value chain with speakers, regional project case studies, roundtable discussions and seminars.

Powering East Africa (March 25-27, 2015 Nairobi, Kenya) This conference welcomes ministers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Zambia as well as regional utilities, financiers, donor organizations and power developers to focus on what is needed to unlock investment in power transmission for regional growth and development.

April 2015

CSP Today South Africa 2015 (April 21-22, 2015 Cape Town, South Africa) Over 300 of the concentrated solar power (CSP) industry’s top executives will gather in one place to focus on key topics, including project finance, meeting “Local Content” requirements, storage optimization and more.

Solar & Off-Grid Renewables West Africa (April 21-22, Accra, Ghana) The sister conference of Solar Energy East Africa, this event will explore the huge on- and off-grid market opportunities with over 45 international expert speakers, panel discussions, and offer West Africa networking opportunities.

4th Power & Energy Africa 2015 (April 27-29, Nairobi, Kenya) The industry’s largest gathering of decision-makers from all over East and Central Africa, this event brings together regional trade bodies from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Mozambique and Congo.

May 2015

3rd Southern African Solar Energy Conference (May 11-13, Kruger National Park, South Africa) This conference concentrates on all the technical, scientific and engineering aspects of solar energy research and development, providing a forum for solar scholars to present the latest progress and developments in their fields and initiate collaboration in research.

15th African Utility Week (May 12-14, Cape Town, South Africa) The untapped potential of renewable energy and investment challenges is the agenda at this conference that brings together 5,000 attendees and features 250 exhibitors and 190 speakers during eight conferences to share knowledge and debate the key topics of the future development of Africa’s power and water industries. Utility executives from Nigeria, Uganda, Namibia, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa are expected to attend.

7th Middle East & North Africa Solar Conference (May 13-14, Dubai, UAE) MENASOL 2015 promotes solar business in the Middle East and North Africa, covering topics of finance, grid capacity, off-grid opportunities across the region and new solar desalination projects.

2nd UN ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ Forum (May 18-22, UN Headquarters, New York) The second annual Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum will continue the momentum from the launch of the UN Decade of SE4ALL (2014-2024) and will include governments and civil society organizations updating their progress towards universal energy access and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

JUNE 2015

17th Annual Africa Energy Forum (June 8-11, Dubai, UAE) This international forum draws over 1,200 industry stakeholders, including government representatives, utilities, investors, power providers, developers and more. According to organizers, “over $25 billion of investment capital was represented at AEF 2014 in Istanbul and 2015 looks to be bigger.”

July 2015

POWER-GEN Africa (July 15-17, Cape Town, South Africa) POWER-GEN Africa provides comprehensive coverage of the power needs, resources and issues facing the electricity power industries across sub-Saharan Africa and brings together leading power equipment suppliers and companies developing power infrastructure.

August 2015

17th annual East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) (Aug. 27-29, Narobi, Kenya) EAPIC is the longest running power sector conference and expo for the entire East African region and draws the Kenyan Ministry of Power and Petroleum, as well as large East African utilities from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Power & Energy Africa (Aug. 27-29, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania) Spread over 3 days, this event brings together decision makers and technical experts from leading companies involved in Africa’s power generation, transmission and distribution sectors in collaboration with regional trade bodies in Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Mozambique and Congo.

October 2015

South Africa International Renewable Energy Conference 2015 (Oct. 4-7, South Africa) The Government of South Africa together with the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) are hosting this 4-day event aimed at showcasing Africa’s renewable energy opportunities.

November 2015

12th West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC) (Nov. 25-26, Lagos, Nigeria) WAPIC showcases the latest technologies and services for the industry while the technical workshops offer practical solutions and case studies. The site visit program will include the Island Power Project and the new urban development city of Eko Atlantic project.

 Source: AFK Insider