Making gas out of Africa’s waste

What we may see as waste, others see as a resource.

Clean Energy Africa is one such company producing gas and fuels out of trash.
One of its plants in Cape Town, worth $30 million, aims to consume 560 tons of solid waste per day. This is about seven percent of the total waste the six million residents of Cape Town produce daily.
“We are trying to be a landfill alternative which means we take waste from various sources, bring the waste in, clean it up, produce gas, produce fuels,” Egmont Ottermann, Clean Energy Africa’s CEO, told CNN.
Companies such as waste removal company Wastemart already pays to deliver its waste to the plant.
“We see the plant in Cape Town as a springboard for developing more plants in the future,” added Ottermann.
“It’s where we have to get things right, it’s our blueprint, it’s the first one where we get the formula for building and operating it right.”

How it works

The waste used for fuel has to be organic matter. It is piped into huge vats, where bacteria converts it to natural gas. The biogas generated is then cleaned and piped to the market, either as methane rich gas or liquid CO2 rich gas.
“The Cape Town market is looking for alternatives to its current energy sources, so alternatives to heavy fuels, coal, LPG, diesel; and it fits beautifully in that,” said Silvia Schollenberger from AFROX, one of the main gas suppliers in Cape Town and a Clean Energy Africa shareholder.
There are plans for similar projects in at least three other cities in South Africa, and eventually across Africa.
Source: edition.cnn


Over 7,600 tonnes of waste have been diverted from landfills, 25,300 tonnes of fossil Green House Gases have been saved, and R24 million in financial benefits have been delivered to member companies of the Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP). These, and other environmental successes, were celebrated by the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille in her address at the recent inaugural WISP business breakfast.

WISP is a free facilitation service, funded by the City of Cape Town as well as the Western Cape Government and delivered by GreenCape, the Sector Developmental Agency for the green economy in the province. By utilizing an Industrial Symbiosis approach that connects over 490 member companies with unused or residual resources such as energy, water, assets, services, waste, transport, logistics and expertise, WISP enhances business profitability and sustainability within the Western Cape.  In addition, for every 290 tonnes of waste that WISP diverts, a job is created. To date, 25 temporary jobs, 17 permanent jobs at member organisations and 63 jobs in the economy have been generated. De Lille said: “It is very encouraging to see opportunity in products that would otherwise have been disposed on our landfill sites. In terms of our new Organisational Development Transformation Plan, we don’t want any further landfill sites to be built in the City of Cape Town. That will help all the initiatives that have come from WISP and its members to grow even further.”

She continued: “Industrial Symbiosis identifies business opportunities to improve resource efficiency and typically results in economic, social and environmental benefits for all the companies involved. It also gives a real expression for the circular economy which aims to see materials used productively for as long as possible before disposal.” De Lille added that the impacts of climate change present very real challenges to Cape Town in general and its economy in particular. “I would like to pay tribute to all the members of WISP who are using this programme to improve efficiencies in the economy and who are contributing to our response to climate change. You are helping to build a resilient city economy that is better prepared to deal with the shocks and stresses of climate change.”

The free-to-attend breakfast highlighted the value that WISP adds to businesses in the city and province with three companies sharing their resource efficiency stories. They detailed the changes they have made to energy and water consumption as well as waste management and how those changes have helped them to improve their business processes, operate more sustainably and save money.

Chris Handt, ‎Operations Manager at ACA Threads, which has been a WISP member since its inception in 2013, unpacked the sewing thread manufacturer’s energy reduction journey. To decrease its electricity consumption, meters were installed in every department throughout the factory and the data from this was then analysed. Based on these findings, further interventions were implemented which included the staggering of machine usage, introduction of a variable speed drive compressor, changing all bulbs in the plant to energy saving ones and putting 131 KW Photo Voltaic (PV) cells on the roof. The outcome has been a drop in the factory’s monthly electricity usage from 130,000 KW to 100,000 KW with a saving of R40, 000. Furthermore, whatever electricity is not used from the PV cells is being pumped back into the grid. ACA Threads aims to continue cutting its electricity consumption and will be utilising lights with timers or motion sensors, replacing old motors with new inverter motors and adding additional PV capacity.

GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Tony Laughton shared that through its water conservation interventions, GSK experienced a 42% reduction in wastage over the past seven years. These have included the use of reject water from reverse osmosis tanks to supply water to the factory’s HVAC cooling towers, the installation of a solar hot water system to reduce water wastage whilst awaiting heating, retrofitting toilets with econo-flush systems and putting demand taps on 42 basins around the plant. After undergoing the City of Cape Town’s Water Star Rating Certification assessment, GSK received a 5-star rating for its water-saving efforts.

Charles Dominion, Owner of Simple Active Tactics SA Pty Ltd, noted the value of waste for his business. As a manufacturer and processor of granular abrasives for sandblasting, most of the company’s products are made by using waste from industry. Through WISP, the company has now been able to add to its product line-up by using recycled glass offcuts from the glazing industry, 200 tonnes per month of which was being dumped in landfills. The resultant product is used as abrasives as well as in swimming pool filtration systems.

GreenCape CEO Mike Mulcahy concluded the breakfast by saying: “There is evidence that there are increasing extreme events happening in regions and cities worldwide as a consequence both of climate change and how we’ve been producing goods and services in the past. There is a massive opportunity for Cape Town and this region to take a leading role in providing solutions to many of these problems. GreenCape’s role is to enable companies to look for these solutions, access opportunities, succeed in their businesses and access the green economy.”

The breakfast is one of the many networking opportunities offered to WISP members, comprising companies and organisations of all sizes, sectors and turnovers within the Western Cape. These are designed to help grow businesses and make them more resource efficient.




We spent a day with the inspirational team from Wildlands!

We had the pleasure of spending the day with Sandile and David from Wildlands.

Wildlands have a compelling mission, one that we can all agree with.  This is it: Imagine a world where the poorest of the poor could feed themselves, clothe themselves, educate themselves, house themselves – by growing and bartering trees and collecting waste, all while conserving their natural environment and heritage.

As simple it sounds, it takes incredible amount of passion and commitment to make it a reality.

We spent the day with Sandile and Michael at Cato where they are creating a food garden. This garden is the used to teach members of the community how to grow their own food in a sustainable way. Food security is a very big issue in South Africa

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These are the other programs they have:

Trees for Life – This was first piloted in northern KwaZulu-Natal in 2004 and gives jobless and marginalised individuals the chance to “grow” themselves out of poverty by propagating indigenous trees and bartering these trees for livelihood support. We call these inspirational souls – Tree-preneurs.

Greening your Future – Through this programme, the trees propagated by Tree-preneurs, are planted into restoration sites, restoring indigenous forests, riparian zones and sequestering carbon that local communities can trade as a source of annuity income. More than 1 million indigenous trees are planted into degraded areas – covering thousands of hectares, annually.

Recycling for Life – This programme allows poverty stricken and marginalised people to collect and trade recyclable waste for livelihood support. Wildlands’ network of Waste-preneurs fulfil a very important function of cleaning their communities, removing glass, plastic, cans and paper from local water sources and communal areas, and ultimately creating clean environments for local residents.

Clothes for Life – This is a new programme which was launched in April 2015. Green-preneurs (the collective term for Waste-preneurs and Tree-preneurs) , will now be able barter their trees and waste for bundles of good quality, second hand clothing, collected by schools all over Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Ubuntu Earth – This programme is founded on the principle that human well-being and environmental health are directly linked.

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Khuthaza Business – This is a Wildlands’ Small and Micro Enterprise Development project, started in 2013, anchored by Mondi, Mondi Zimele and the South African Sugar Association (SASA) has enabled over 90 capital grants in exchange for trees.

Conservation SPACE – (Species, People and the Conservation of the Environment) This programme aims to expand the conservation of natural areas through various means. This includes direct land acquisition and proclamation, working with local communities and landowners to secure and proclaim land, and through funding the work of other organisations.

And now Sustainable Food Gardens!

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Economic transformation: China, SA should co-operate

“Downside risks and vulnerabilities have risen, against the backdrop of volatile capital flows, a large drop of commodity prices, escalated geopolitical tensions,” reads the communiqué of the Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Shanghai, underlining the daunting challenges facing the world economy.

Indeed, the global economy is undergoing hard times. No country can stay unscathed when economies are increasingly intertwined in the era of globalisation.

According to recent data from Statistics SA, the growth rate of South African gross domestic product (GDP) fell to 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 and overall growth fell from 1.5 percent to 1.3 percent. This year the growth is expected to further drop to less than 1 percent due to various unfavourable factors.

Despite such circumstances, we still have some good news – the economic ties between China and South Africa have been strengthened rather than undermined against headwinds.

More and more Chinese enterprises are seeking opportunities in South Africa. There are about 140 medium and large size Chinese companies in South Africa now, having invested more than $13 billion (R199bn) and created a total of 30 000 jobs.

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Even in the past two years, Chinese direct investment to South Africa has kept on expanding. The assembly plant of China First Automotive Works (FAW) in Coega Industrial Park, the home appliance factory of Hisense Group, and the cement production line invested by Hebei Jidong Development Group, among others, have offered much-needed jobs for local people.

Meanwhile, most of the Chinese enterprises actively shoulder corporate social responsibility by providing training to local unskilled workers and donating to charities and green groups.

The two governments have also strengthened co-operation on human resource development. Last year China gave training to more than 400 artisans, technicians and managers for South Africa.

What’s more exciting is that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to South Africa in December has added more impetus to bilateral economic co-operation.

More than 20 agreements worth billions of dollars were signed at the Union Buildings, including a dozen co-operation agreements achieved by enterprises from both countries in the areas of finance, energy, automobiles, infrastructure and so on.

Although it is obvious China-South Africa economic co-operation enjoys a bright future, the speculations and doubts never stop emerging. For example, recently I often hear the rhetoric of “collapsing Chinese economy”, which misinterprets the Chinese economy’s real situation.

Undoubtedly, China’s growth is slower when compared with the past. However, against the world economic difficulties, it is by no means a small achievement to realise a growth rate of 6.9 percent on the basis of more than $10 trillion GDP, especially given the world’s average growth of only slightly more than 3 percent.

Growth driver

For decades, China has been one of the strongest engines of world economic development. In 2015 China added more than 25 percent to global growth and its demand for global products is still significant.

Last year China remained the world’s second-largest import country. The volume of commodities China imported has kept growing. During the same period, China’s direct investment to the rest of world has further expanded to $127.6bn, an increase of 10 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Recent volatility of yuan renminbi and fluctuations in the Chinese stock market have also caused concern of some analysts and become the focus of media.

To understand the issue, the point is that the fundamentals of China’s economy remain strong and Chinese policymakers still have plenty of policy tools to address the downward pressure, if at all.

China’s currency depreciation is mainly due to reforms to the yuan exchange rate formation mechanism. China has no intention to boost exports and obtain competitive advantages by devaluing its currency, neither does the yuan have any foundation of further depreciation.

Last year, the Chinese trade surplus reached almost $600bn and China still has $3.3 trillion in foreign reserves. Furthermore, with the yuan being put into the special drawing rights basket by the International Monetary Fund last year, the market is expected to enlarge its demand, which will further contribute to the stability of the currency.

The fluctuations of China’s stock market, together with similar scenes in bourses of other countries, reflect the unclear and generally pessimistic prospects of the world economy. The long-term stability could be seen from the fact that the Shanghai composite index always stayed around 3 000 points at the end of 2013, 2014 and 2015. It is true that China’s stock market is still a developing and relatively immature market and has its own problems to be addressed. But with value only accounting for roughly 60 percent of China’s total GDP, it will not significantly harm the whole real economy.

Looking ahead, the strongest driving force of China’s economic growth will be the ‘reform dividends’ from the annual sessions of Chinese National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference currently being held in Beijing. The 13th Five-year Plan and the supply-side reform, along with other comprehensive reform measures, aimed at achieving innovative, co-ordinated, green, open and shared development, will be discussed and implemented in broad spectrum. All of these will add vitality to China’s economy.

China has both the courage and ability to break the old development pattern and transform to an innovation-driven and consumption-driven economy.

South Africa is also exploring new growth areas and making its economy more sustainable and inclusive. Reforms are never easy.

For the two economies, which are both in crucial and difficult transition, the only way out lies in sharing experience and deepening practical co-operation in areas such as industrialisation, agriculture, infrastructure and trade.

Let us work together hand in hand to achieve our goals.

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Growing Africa’s SMEs through CSR initiatives

As many African countries grapple with economic uncertainties, resulting in increasing rate of unemployment, business leaders believe that the sure way to reverse the ugly trend is to train future entrepreneurs that will help leapfrog the continent through enterprise and innovation. David Audu reports on Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, concept as one of the components of such social enterprise initiatives.

As global unemployment rate soars, with the International Labour Organisation, ILO, projecting that an estimated 212 million people may be jobless by 2019, most countries are adopting remedial policy measures to avert the looming crisis and by so doing, mitigating the socio-economic damages to their economies.

Conscious of the negative effects of burgeoning unemployment in their domains, political leaders, businessmen and other development experts are consensual in their views that entrepreneurship, particularly among the youth population, remain the key to guaranteeing the future of the countries and people and laying enduring foundation for their real social, economic and political transformation. They agreed that the only way to achieve this lofty dream is to increase the number of entrepreneurs so as to minimise the increasing rush for formal, white collar jobs by young school leavers and giving them the right orientation about entrepreneurship and its potential for their self fulfilment. Besides, the new emphasis on entrepreneurship development assumes that entrepreneurs will in turn provide employment for others along the value chain. It has also become a known fact that small and medium enterprises are globally regarded as the backbone of any economy. According to experts, when given adequate support, SMEs can spur significant economic growth.

According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, SMEs have a significant role to play in economic development. According to UNIDO, SMEs form the backbone of the private sector; make up over 90 per cent of enterprises in the world and account for 50 to 60 per cent of employment. “They also play an important role in generating employment and poverty alleviation”, It said. The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, put the total number of SMEs in Nigeria at over 17 million. However, because of some challenges in the economy, a lot of SME operators in the country fi nd it very difficult to effectively play their role. Some of these constraints include competition, infrastructure, taxes, accounting, management, marketing, economic, planning and finance. Also, poor economic conditions, which also imply poor finance and inadequate infrastructure, have been identified as the most crucial limiting factors. Again, poor access to finance at relatively cheap cost is also one of the most crucial problems hindering SMEs to have significant contribution to national output in Nigeria.

There is no doubt that Nigeria as a nation, since attaining independence in 1960 has tried out various economic policies in a bid to achieve meaningful economic development. Most of these policies, some analysts say, are centrally planned and government dominated. The resultant impact of this excessive government domination of the economy left much to be desired leading to massive divestment in the 1990’s by the government. This was done under the economic policy of “privatisation and commercialisation”. The shift of emphasis thus created a challenge of building capable, dynamic and resourceful entrepreneurs to take the baton of economic revitalisation from government. These entrepreneurs incidentally have to fulfi l this onerous task through the establishment of business that could mainly be classified as small and medium scale in nature. However, over the years the task of creating a sustainable environment for SMEs to thrive was a difficult one, and for obvious reasons. One, the dwindling state of the economy has made it difficult for people to save and thereby little capital accumulation for investment. Further, the private sector was long undeveloped making experienced entrepreneur and small business managers scarce. Today, there is a growing consensus among policy makers, academia, industrialists and economic planners, that the development of local entrepreneur and encouragement of the establishment of small and medium scale business is the only penance to our economic growth. With this reality in view, a number of private organisations and individuals have taken it upon themselves to provide the necessary impetus to encourage young people to embrace entrepreneurship.

One current example among others is the chairman of Heirs Holding Mr. Tony Elumelu whose foundation, Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, TEEP, which in its current drive towards this end has earmarked about $100m as grants to about 1000 young people from Nigeria and other African countries to train and mentor in various entrepreneurship projects. According to Elumelu, “African destiny lies with us African to realise”. The project, though with an African wide focus, has about 50 per cent participants coming from Nigeria. Launched in December 2014, the TEEP project is a $100m initiative to discover and support 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the next decade, with a target of creating one million new jobs and $10bn in additional gross domestic product contribution to African economy by the end of the programme. Economic analysts have described the programme as the first of such initiative to be launched by an African philanthropic organisation targeting the entrepreneurial space designed to empower the next generation of Africans entrepreneurs. Areas of focus by the programme include agriculture with 30 per cent participants; commerce and retail have nine per cent, while education and training have equally nine per cent each respectively.

Other areas include ICT, eight per cent, manufacturing, eight per cent, while healthcare and fashion have five and four per cent each. Energy, power and construction have three per cent; waste management, transportation, financial services, tourism and hospitality have two per cent each. While the programme covered 51 African countries, 49 per cent are from Nigeria followed by Kenya with 16 per cent; Uganda, four per cent; Ghana 3.6 per cent and South Africa with 3.2 per cent. At the TEEP boot camp in Otta, Ogun State last year attended by dignitaries and government officials, the need to harness Africa potentials through creating conducive environment and empowerment for Africa entrepreneurs to thrive was highlighted. Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, underlined the need for African leaders to pay attention to developing entrepreneurs to move the continent forward. Restating the plight of Africa as a continent, which he stand in the throes of poverty and disease, and having the highest ratio of unemployment, and therefore the need for concerted efforts to pull it out, adding that entrepreneurship and handwork are the instrument of growth and development. He enjoined all to embrace integrity, rule of law, transparency and self discipline to entrench enduring business ethics in Nigeria and on the continent in generals. He charged the aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace the spirit of trust, integrity, and consistency, reminding that enduring success comes from respect for the rule of law and commitment to set objectives He commended the Heirs Holdings for initiating the programme, noting that “economies cannot be developed without social entrepreneurs like Tony Elumelu”.

He said Elumelu invoked the daring spirit successful enterprise by investing substantially in the ideas of entrepreneurship of the young Africans. By doing this he is shaping the future of the continent as he empower them to embrace entrepreneur to enable them direct the economic affairs of the continent in the coming years. He said government on its part will continue to provide enabling environment for entrepreneurs to thrive Acting United States Consul General, DI Gilbert likened the gathering to African Union meeting in Nigeria and described it as the ‘future Africa’. She said it is education that gives people the working tool that will make them productive. Asking how we can do things differently? She charged the beneficiaries to look for a creative new way of doing things to add value to society.

To African leaders and business men, she reminded them of the potentials that lie in Africa. “With 30 per cent of your population under 30, the energy is there and therefore the need for you to get going through right economic initiatives such what the Elumelu foundation has done”. Guest of the occasion, Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin, Lionel Zinzou, lauded the initiative while describing every effort to boost entrepreneur in Africa as the urgent thing the continent requires for growth and development. He said every country in Africa and indeed Africa as a whole need innovative idea which young talents who are beneficiaries of the TEEP project will bring Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who was at the event urged the beneficiaries of the programme to convert their ideas into work that will make Africa proud. Speaking on what government can do to encourage entrepreneurs, he said only government through workable policies and good legislation can provide the level of trust that is required for successful entrepreneurship.

“Nothing is possible without a functional government. No matter how rich you are, without a minimal functional government to provide the basics such as road, power and other infrastructure you are lost.” He therefore urged the federal government on the need “to take a pragmatic approach to policy redemption and investment in Africa”. He noted that Africa with it large population stands at a great advantage if it leverage on the huge demographic dividend but will be a disaster if it fail to do so, while urging African political leaders to boost their economies through appropriate policies and legislation that will encourage entrepreneurship. Managing director Bank of Industries, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, noted the impact the programme will have on the continent and Nigeria in particular. He said the bank will work with the candidate to help them evolve successful business that will enable them be employers of labour in the future. Explaining further his vision for Africa’s entrepreneurship project, Elumelu noted that only the present Africans can develop the continent for the future, stressing that “Africa needs multiple successful private sector business to make its mark on the world stage”. Advising the young entrepreneurs, Elumelu urged them to imbibe the spirit of hard work, discipline and the need to think long term in their vision. The entrepreneurs would receive $5000 seed capital each to enable them start their dream projects.

Source: nationalmirroronline

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How much does energy storage really cost?

Energy storage is often hailed as a game changer for renewable energy reliability. But what will it take to ensure that storage is an economic solution?

In November, financial advisory firm Lazard released its inaugural Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis (LCOS). Well known for its Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE) analysis — now out in version 9.0 — Lazard’s publishing an analysis of storage is a major sign that it considers battery energy storage a critical technology that’s here to stay.

But a closer look at Lazard’s LCOS shows something RMI’s October Economics of Battery Energy Storage report noted: battery economics are usually evaluated on the basis of single-use cases; stacking multiple uses greatly can enhance battery economics; and evaluating those economics gets difficult quickly.

The use cases and stacked value streams — in addition to per-kWh cell cost declines — offer tremendous opportunity.

RMI’s report primarily looked at the value, not cost, of a basket of multiple, stacked uses for customer-sited storage systems. Lazard focused on the costs of several physical storage technologies (including the lithium-ion studied in RMI’s report) and not “alternative” storage options such as building-as-storage, water heater-based storage and other demand flexibility options.

It evaluated those storage technologies on the basis of a variety of single-use cases such as frequency regulation and peak shaving/demand charge reduction. Lazard compared those costs to conventional, fossil-fuel alternatives.

Jesse Morris, a manager at RMI and co-author of RMI’s battery report, said, “We did not make this comparison in our Economics of Battery Storage report for a number of reasons, but Lazard’s analysis is a great first step. It adds to a strong foundation from which the industry can better understand multiple-use cases.

“In the end, this is the comparison that we need to be able to make if we’re going to convince regulators that a distributed energy resource-focused future is a lower-cost alternative.”

Batteries are tricky to evaluate in part because they aren’t strictly a demand- or supply-side solution. They’re an arbiter of supply and demand, serving as either generation or load depending on whether they’re discharging or charging. So the favorable finances of storage can use all the clarity and all the study they can get.

Shifting from single- to multi-use cases

The LCOS examined single-use cases, which is how most batteries are deployed today. But single uses are not how RMI proposes (or how Lazard expects) they be deployed in the future. Batteries today are used for a minority of their useful lifetimes.

They can do much more than sit idle most of the time, and increasing their use rate greatly can enhance the value they provide to customers and the grid.

“In point of fact, it will be possible to use batteries for more than one thing, which means their value is higher than is being captured in our study,” said Jonathan Mir, managing director and head of North American Power and Utilities at Lazard. “I think we’re going to have to do the same thing around the stacked use cases.”

Storage costs are dropping

Both reports find that the age of the battery is here, largely because costs have dropped so far, so fast. Mir said, “This reminds us very much of where utility-scale renewables were seven or eight years ago,” when Lazard began covering renewable costs in its LCOE series.

“To us, this seems like an inflection point where you can see external factors causing demand to really take off and then you wind up with price declines as manufacturing scales up,” he said.

Lazard’s analysis also predicted significant cost declines over the next five years, based on a survey of industry experts. For example, the median expected five-year price decline for lithium-ion storage is 47 percent below today’s costs.

“A distributed energy resource-focused future is a lower-cost alternative.”

The LCOS calculated the costs of eight energy storage technologies for 10 single-use cases, half behind the meter (including augmenting residential solar PV) and half in front (including transmission-upgrade deferral). It compared these to the costs of conventional alternatives such as natural-gas peaker plants or diesel generators.

The study found that the costs of storage are within “striking distance” of conventional alternatives for many single-use cases, including lithium-ion batteries used for frequency regulation and flow batteries used to defer adding a new peaker plant.

The challenge of multi-use accounting

What the LCOS analysis didn’t do is estimate the cost of energy storage when it is used for multiple, stacked services, a key to realizing the value of storage to customers and the grid.

Most of storage’s costs are fixed, capital costs. But variable costs — as well as battery lifetime, potentially capacity loss over time and ultimately replacement — depend on the use or uses to which a battery is put over its lifetime, especially how often it is charged and discharged. This makes it difficult to state the cost of a given storage technology for a variety of multiple, stacked services.

“That is our ambition,” said Lazard’s Mir. “It’s important to capture, because we think our study is likely underestimating the value and potential of storage because storage would be used in more sophisticated ways than are being illustrated, but the quantitative analysis and framework to illustrate that is still being developed. It is another indicium of how immature the industry is.”

Evaluating battery energy storage economics is hard, and RMI sees opportunities to build on Lazard’s commendable start. The basic problem is finding a levelized cost that can be added in as services are stacked in different combinations.

Garrett Fitzgerald, a senior associate at RMI and co-author of the Economics of Battery Energy Storage report, explained, “By combining fixed costs and variable costs that are determined by what services and how often they are being provided, you end up with a total lifetime cost of providing just a single service. It is not possible to then determine the incremental cost of stacking other services on.”

For example: “It would be incorrect to simply add the LCOS of frequency regulation and the LCOS of peaker replacement as an estimate of the LCOS of a system providing both,” said Fitzgerald.

The importance of value stacking

Establishing a framework to measure the value (and cost) of stacked use cases for storage should be possible. Mir said, “To us, that is a natural evolution of the study.”

But, he noted, “We have not seen a good solution in the public domain for how to demonstrate this idea, so we will come up with a framework. We understood it as a very important qualification to the work we were doing, which is why we tried to be so clear about it.”

Indeed, the third page of the LCOS is devoted to explaining exactly how the energy storage value proposition depends on the stacking of multiple uses and adding together the value streams they create. RMI’s Morris said, “Their description is very clear and an excellent way to think about the comparison between stacking values and comparing different stacks of value to a given cost.”

The current state of play

Lazard considered only unsubsidized costs and disregarded the additional value created by such things as avoiding the toxic or climate-changing emissions of conventional fossil-fueled technologies. Nor does Lazard take into account state incentives, such as California’s SGIP and mandatory battery storage legislation.

“Their comparison of all chemistries performing all use cases against a gas peaker plant or a reciprocating diesel engine (depending on the application) is extremely helpful,” said Morris. Should subsidies for storage be introduced at the national level, Lazard will factor them in the same way it does for LCOE.

So what did Lazard find? Of all the permutations analyzed, only one — lithium-ion batteries providing frequency regulation to the grid — was cost effective when performing a single, unstacked service today. The study also predicts that seven combinations (all with batteries) will be cost effective within five years.

These include two use cases — peaker replacement and industrial peak shaving/demand charge avoidance — for which multiple battery chemistries will be cost-competitive with their diesel and natural-gas alternatives.

The LCOS does contain this encouraging caveat, however: “A number of [technology and use case] combinations are within ‘striking distance’ and, when paired with certain streams of value, may currently be economic for certain system owners in some scenarios.”

These combined value streams that come with stacked uses need to be accurately and easily accounted for.

The road ahead

“Costs will come down naturally with scale; they always do,” said RMI’s Fitzgerald, but he cautioned, “Storage won’t be mainstream until there are more channels for developers or storage owners to find revenue.” As examples of the new channels being opened up for storage, he cited “things like aggregated wholesale market participation in California or distributed system platform providers as described in New York’s REV proceeding.”

Fitzgerald said, “Storage can do a lot for the grid, and it can do most when behind-the-meter. Regulation is changing that will allow distributed storage to collect revenue for these services.”

In consequence, he said, “most of the industry is focused on opening up new revenue streams and moving toward customer-sited and customer-focused services, such as demand charge management or solar-plus-storage solutions.” Lazard’s Mir added, “We see that demand increasing pretty rapidly.”

Source: greenbiz

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Goals, Dreams and Concerns of the New Generation

Here we present members of our younger generations, from Millennials to Generation Z, in their own words.

San Francisco Bay Times: Where do you see yourself a few years from now? What would be your ideal career?

Jay Lykens: In a few years I’d love to be even more immersed in LGBTQ research. I’d like to move the medical and psychological field forward when it comes to transgender and gender­queer health. So that would probably be a career in the research or pub­lic health field. Within the next five years I’d like to get more experience heading research projects, and hope­fully make my way to UC Berkeley’s social psychology PhD program.

Samukezi Ngubane: I see myself continuing with my grassroots activ­ism. My goal has always been to work with marginalized communities that are often invisibilized. In South Af­rica, I based most of my work in rural areas, attempting to create awareness of, and advocacy for, issues affecting rural communities. I believe that ru­ral spaces require more activist atten­tion. Not to generalize, but I found that in such communities, conversa­tions about gender and sexuality are often taboo. People are also not aware of their sexual and reproductive rights, or their basic rights to health care, water, and shelter. My ideal career is just starting these conver­sations with the rural communities, engaging in dialogues, sensitization workshops, and awareness programs.

Nicolette Gulickson: Once I com­plete the Sexuality Studies Graduate Program at San Francisco State Uni­versity, I intend to work for an organi­zation that advocates for and provides resources to transgender communi­ties. My ideal career would situate me to make a tangible, positive impact on the life chances of trans people in my community and beyond.

Enkhmaa Enkhbold: Geograph­ically, I see myself in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I hope to work in aca­demia, particularly in the Global South. I am interested in researching Human Rights issues, International Relations, with particular attention to the influence of institutions and or­ganizations such as The United Na­tion, World Bank, and Peace Corps, etc. in relation to their impact on re­producing global inequalities. Also, I hope to work towards change in pa­triarchal structures in Mongolia by particularly addressing the represen­tation of women in politics, sexist lan­guage/proverbs that promote gender inequality (so naturalized) and repre­sentation of LGBTQI communities.

Miglio: Ideally, I will continue on in school to get a Master’s Degree. My ideal career would be working in­side a queer space that feels safe and productive probably doing work in­side queer communities and/or envi­ronmental justice inside queer com­munities. I identify as transgendered so it would be great to remain in the transgender community and help do necessary reparative work there.

Lexus Killingsworth: I would like to be close to finishing a PhD pro­gram a few years from now! My ideal career would involve studying visual representations of queer black wom­en, especially pornography. I would also love to study anime and manga.

Jillian Salazar: My ideal career would involve working with activists, academics, and researchers to eradi­cate racism, sexism, ableism and state violence. A few years from now I see myself working for a non-profit that serves those affected by domestic and sexual violence.

San Francisco Bay Times: What are you doing now to prepare for that ideal career?

Jay Lykens: Right now I’m working at a great organization called YTH in Oakland, and doing my best to move forward some projects related to transgender health care access. I’m also working with Dr. Allen LeBlanc over at SFSU on his study, Project AFFIRM, focusing on transgender identity development and resilience. Overall I think I’m preparing by pur­suing research studies that really fo­cus on the positive aspects of what it means to identify in the transgender spectrum.

Samukezi Ngubane: Besides en­gaging with academic texts and learning constructive ways in which praxis can be effective, I volunteer at Magnet, a clinic that offers health care services for gay, bisexual and transgender men. I am also working on traditional dance scripts based on theories that I am learning from my program such as intersectionality, theories of difference, and disidenti­fication. I am writing these scripts in isiXhosa (my home language) and I hope to use their performance as part of grassroots awareness building.

Nicolette Gulickson: To be the best ally that I can be and to gain the knowledge necessary to not only com­plete my thesis research, but also to equip me with the skills I will need once I join the workforce. I am vol­unteering at the Transgender Law Center (TLC) in Oakland. My work there has given me insight into the discrimination and bureaucratic ne­gotiations faced by trans people on a daily basis. It has motivated me to conduct thesis research on the effica­cy of state-level protective legislation. I also attend community events and demonstrations to stay abreast of the issues the community is facing as well as to keep me connected to the com­munity I work to serve.

Enkhmaa Enkhbold: I have been doing quite a lot, actually. Education is a vital aspect of my ideal career. I am a senior student of Women and Gender Studies (WGS) at SFSU. The fact that the WGS program at SFSU was originally designed by Angela Davis makes me feel that I am going in the right direction in my ideal ca­reer. Davis is a scholar and activist; one of my favorite works is her book, Are Prisons Obsolete?

Practical work is vital to my ideal ca­reer; I have been volunteering and interning all around the Bay Area. With genuine modesty, I list the NGOs that I’ve been associated with: Optional Recovery Center, Asian Pa­cific Islander Legal Outreach, Bay Area Legal Aid, Project Homeless, Asian Women’s Shelter, Refugee and Human Rights Clinic at UC Hasting, Mongolian Women’s Association, and the Mongolian Student Associa­tion at Laney College.

This summer, I had an opportunity to volunteer in three different NGOs in Ulaanbaatar for three months: National Center Against Violence, LGBT Center, and the Young Wom­en’s Club. Although short, my experi­ences with these NGOs were rich, as was that of living as a local in Ulaan­baatar, because I left Mongolia when I was sixteen years old. All of my experiences with these NGOs have a profound affect on me as an individu­al. Also, they have helped me to grow and identify my strength and areas where I need to improve. Of course, I have not volunteered for these organi­zations just for personal gains; I stood with their mission and vision.

Currently, I have been thinking about doing ethnographic research in the Mongolian community, hoping to contribute to creating an archive for the next generations of Mongolian Americans.

Miglio: In order to prepare for my ideal career, I am looking to ap­ply for a Master’s Degree as well as looking into internships and job op­portunities that could prepare me for a career in my desired field.

Lexus Killingsworth: I am in the beginning stages of writing a thesis that discusses visual representations of queer black women in the films The Color Purple and Daughters of the Dust. This has allowed me to read numer­ous sources on the subject. Outside of academia, however, I just enjoy con­suming anything with representations of queer black women. I currently love How to Get Away With Murder.

Jillian Salazar: I am enrolled in a M.A. program is Sexuality Studies and reading everything I can get my hands on about different approaches to trauma and sexual violence. I am also applying to be a rape crisis coun­selor at a local non-profit.

San Francisco Bay Times: Do you think that your chances for future success are better in the Bay Area, or do you plan to leave this region, or perhaps even the U.S., to pursue your goals?

Jay Lykens: I think overall that my chances are much better in the Bay Area. I grew up in the South, so the relative progressiveness here allows me to pursue a lot of opportunities I didn’t have. I still think a lot of work needs to be done here, but the queer community is so close knit, and I think this lets us have strength in numbers when it comes to making real change.

Samukezi Ngubane: My chances of turning my dreams into reality are not in the U.S. Though I admire the Bay Area, its diversity and “freedom” (if I can put it like that), the people I want to work with are not here; the change that I am aspiring for is not here; and most definitely the issues that I want to engage with are not here. Not to say there are no issues here, but I feel I am needed back in South Africa more than I am needed here.

Nicolette Gulickson: While San Francisco is a hub for trans folks, there are many resources already available to trans communities here. My imme­diate plans for the future include mov­ing to Minneapolis, after graduation, for both personal and professional reasons. There is a large trans com­munity in Minneapolis, and the local government appears to be directly fo­cusing on improving the lives of trans Minneapolitans as well as focusing on combating racial inequality. For example, just this year, the mayor of Minneapolis hired a Black trans man as a senior policy aide and advisor. I would like to be a part of this effort.

Enkhmaa Enkhbold: My plan is to leave, although I love the Bay Area. Let’s face it: it is ridiculously ex­pensive. I can only wait tables for so many hours of the week while being a student. To succeed, it is a neces­sity for me. Vocational choice is a life choice, so I heard somewhere! Plus, part of my ideal career goal is to work in Mongolia. I want to continue my education there and live as a local. It has been almost fourteen years since I left the country. I’ve changed and the country has changed!

I believe that diverse experiences keep me on my toes and help me make crit­ical analysis of coexisting. They also keep my values and beliefs at hand to be challenged. I plan to go all the way to PhD. For me, it is a necessity. (Don’t ask me why! Okay, you can ask me why! Because I want to make my parents proud! Little humor!) But with all seriousness, I identify with the Global South, aka “the third world,” so I feel like in order to enter the glob­al Academic World, a PhD is a must, and I hope and plan to make my ca­reer somewhere in the Global South.

Miglio: I would love to leave the U.S., but finically, that is not an op­tion right now. Ideally I will work in the Bay Area until I can leave the U.S. because that is a goal I have.

Lexus Killingsworth: I do feel as though my chances are better here. While I plan to move away for a PhD program, I would definitely like to be back in the Bay Area soon after. If I am going to make a career out of studying pornography, the Bay Area feels like the best place to do so.

Jillian Salazar: The Bay Area would be an amazing place to further my career. However, if I felt that my skills could be used in a region with fewer resources for those affected by sexual violence, then I would consid­er relocating. I’ve often felt that my work may bring me back to the Cen­tral Valley of California where I grew up because I witnessed a severe lack of services for survivors of sexual vio­lence when I lived there.

San Francisco Bay Times: What are some of your biggest con­cerns now about meeting your education and career goals?

Jay Lykens: I think it’s rough being a graduate student and working full time. My biggest concerns are jug­gling my finances with my future edu­cational goals. If I could be a fulltime student and dedicate all of my free time to my studies I would, but that’s unrealistic with how expensive it is to live here in the Bay Area.

Samukezi Ngubane: I guess my biggest concern is to be the best that I can be, and to meet my own expecta­tions, both personally and academi­cally. I am not concerned with the work I want to do. I will do whatever it takes to reach out to the communities I want to work with, even if it means I start these conversations alone with no funding.

Nicolette Gulickson: My main ed­ucational concern lies in the applica­bility and practicality of the Sexuality Studies Master’s Program. As such, I will be incorporating my work at TLC with my program coursework through SFSU’s community service learning program next Spring. This allows me to receive credit for my vol­unteer work with TLC and provides practical experience working with an organization that mirrors my career goals. Additionally, I have made con­nections through my program that will help me to find work in Minne­apolis when the need arises.

Enkhmaa Enkhbold: Money, Money, Money!!! Educational institu­tions are capitalist entities in the ma­jority of the world. I’ve always been a student and an employee. For me, there is no escape, and it is quite ev­ident that it will continue to be the case. I have no means of independent financial support, so to be a student means to be an employee, regardless of where I end up in the world. Yes, there are grants and scholarships, but when you are a fulltime student and working, it’s not easy to earn A’s in all your classes. Plus, if the language is not your first language, it makes it even harder. But somehow I’ve always managed.

Miglio: The biggest concerns I have about meeting educational and career goals would have to do with money and safety. It is expensive to stay in school, and I don’t know how long I can maintain that. I was in community college for ten years while I worked retail jobs and survived in the Bay Area. I’m 30 years old and am graduating this year. School is just not sustainable all the time for me, but I’m going to push for a Master’s De­gree because I believe it will help me live a life that is more stable.

I also really hope to work in a space that feels safe to me as I continue with my career. As a queer individual, I want to go into a work space where my gender pronouns are respected and I can feel comfortable in the bathroom and so on. It’s hard to find that kind of atmosphere, and without a college degree that was impossible.

Lexus Killingsworth: My biggest concern is money. I do currently live in the Bay Area. Do I even need to say more? However, another big con­cern is whether I’ll be taken seriously because I want to study pornography and anime and manga.

Jillian Salazar: Trying to balance work and school while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world is a constant concern. If my job were in jeopardy because of school, I would have to choose my job over school to continue to live in the Bay Area. But my studies have become the driving factor in my love of San Francisco, so it would really be a lose-lose situation.

San Francisco Bay Times: Do you believe that job prospects for students such as yourself are better or worse than they were a decade or so ago?

Jay Lykens: I think they’re undoubt­edly better, especially with some of the non-discrimination acts that have been passed. But it’s still difficult to determine if you’re safe in certain ar­eas, especially when it comes to the workplace. I always struggle with de­ciding to “come out” or not to em­ployers and colleagues. But in regards to the past decade and where I used to live in the South, my job prospects are much better.

Samukezi Ngubane: I think things are slowly changing. From my expe­rience, I have been given chances to work in organizations where I might not have had experience in their field, but they saw my potential and/or they believed I was someone that they could invest in, so they gave me a chance. I have been given platforms to learn, to make mistakes, and even­tually to excel. Things are changing, slowly, but something is moving.

Nicolette Gulickson: Trans vis­ibility in popular culture and political discourse is at its apex, so job pros­pects for a student like me, who is fo­cused on contributing to the move­ment, are sure to be plentiful. Ten years ago, the needs of trans folks were not even on the radar of legis­lators in the U.S. Now, there are so many more trans advocacy organiza­tions, increased trans activism, and policy discussions happening all over the country. There is still much work to be done; I have no doubt that my skills and passion will find a home within the trans movement.

Enkhmaa Enkhbold: For students like me (those whose career goals are similar to mine) I believe that job prospects are getting better be­cause I think that the academic world has been advanced since the World Wide Web became available to the public in 1990. I believe that before 1990, access to the academic world was limited for those in non-western contexts. There were limited spaces to discuss and critique the dominant mainstream ideologies and imbal­ance of knowledge production. I feel that in this era, the space is expanded dramatically, which has tremendous effect. However, there is much to do and my hope is to take part in it.

Miglio: I believe that the rift be­tween wealthy and the poor is getting larger and thus affecting the job mar­ket in drastic ways that are only get­ting worse. The options for good pay­ing jobs, even inside non-profits where I might find community or safety, are slim. There are tons of opportunities on Craigslist to work with youth in inner cities and such, but all the jobs start at $13.00 an hour. I could apply for a job at FedEx and make twice that amount as a starting wage. The reason I am pursuing a Master’s De­gree is so that I can have a skill that guarantees a living wage—but who knows if that will work? I have little faith in the job market, which means I have to work twice or three times as hard to develop a good resume. Even then, I could still end up not using my degree. That’s a reality I have to live with.

Lexus Killingsworth: Both. Bet­ter because it feels like people in the U.S. are becoming more aware of the importance of visual representa­tions and the need for the further de­velopment of that type of scholarship. Worse because it seems as though jobs want candidates to have travelled to the moon, cured cancer and have been President for two consecutive terms before they even think about consid­ering you! It’s hard to apply for jobs when you feel as though you’ll never be qualified enough, even if you just graduated with a degree in that field.

Jillian Salazar: I believe job pros­pects for students are much worse than they were a decade ago. The only advice parents and mentors give students nowadays is to stay in school for as long as they can, take out stu­dent loans, figure out a job when the economy is better, and not to worry about paying back the loans later.

San Francisco Bay Times: What do you think makes your gen­eration unique, and how do you hope it will make its mark on history?

Jay Lykens: My generation is ex­tremely connected by social media and other technology. It’s easy for me to see what’s going on in other parts of the country and the world, and I feel like we can all make a bigger differ­ence than ever before. It’s also really easy to spread the word about social movements and get more people in­volved. I think this generation has the greatest potential to really kick-start change from the ground up.

Samukezi Ngubane: Hmmm, unique? I guess technology makes our generation unique. In a sense that ac­tivism now happens online: job op­portunities, networking, and cam­paigns now have a platform online that they previously didn’t have. Look at all of the hashtag anti-prejudice, discrimination and awareness cam­paigns that started online. It is just amazing how our generation is en­gaging with technology.

Nicolette Gulickson: As I said above, acceptance of the LGBT community has advanced so much in recent years. I’d like to think that my generation would be the one to break the silence on the social justice issues our society has ignored for so long with regards to trans people. I hope that my generation will end the stigma surrounding membership in the LGBT community. I’ve read con­flicting research about whether or not millennials are truly more progres­sive than our predecessors, but I think the shift in cultural attitudes towards the LGBT community speaks for it­self.

Enkhmaa Enkhbold: Uniqueness is definitely the advancement in tech­nology. I hope our generation will make its mark on history as the be­ginning of a transnational paradigm. In my Utopia, I hope that our genera­tion will be marked as a generation that is disloyal to civilization. This would be awesome. But it is only my Utopia.

Miglio: I’m not sure if I quali­fy as “this generation.” Like I said, I’m thirty years old so I’m a different generation. I think that the youth of this generation will have to join their parents and grandparents to rise up against the environmental injustices that are occurring and reclaim this planet from corporate destruction. I don’t think there is any choice left. I think the mark that the “youth” will make is finding solidarity within their peers and other generations in order to fight racism, white supremacy, clas­sism, homophobia, water shortages and climate change. There is always such a push for “a different or upcom­ing generation” when so much of that idea is constructed and created. Pow­er lies within human solidarity that values all generations together—not separate and not hierarchal. If there is anything that makes “this genera­tion unique,” I would say it’s the short amount of time this generation has to reject capitalism and take action to save a planet that is not yet dead.

Lexus Killingsworth: My genera­tion feels really connected to technol­ogy. I feel as though we have really ex­celled in taking this new technology and expanding it in order to help others.

Jillian Salazar: My generation is unique in the sense that we’ve been coddled more than prior generations. Most folks may see this negatively, but in a way it makes this generation less willing to put up with things that prior generations would have accepted as “just the way things are.” I think this generation expects the world to bend over backward for them, and if that means expecting the world to become more equal and less hateful, then I see that as a positive thing.

Source: sfbaytimes

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BMW Bursaries 2016 – 2017

Do you love motor vehicles, technology and investing in a greater future?

BMW prides itself, as they are committed to investing in the future.  They are committed to advancing in their people, and this is what makes them unique as well as successful!  Employment equity is a serious thing, thus they ensure a multiplicity of employees within all levels of business.

BMW believes in creating equal opportunities, forming a solid company with skilled labor.  They recognize the talent of each individual, giving their employees a competitive edge to succeed.  They seek candidates who would like to make an impact, who strives for the best and always gives their utmost everything in all they do.

Would you like to shape your future?  BMW has the ideal opportunity to reach your dreams in life.  Add sparks to all you are with this program.  Their bursary program is aimed at developing young talent, while ensuring stable growth.  Their bursary program includes many perks for successful candidates.

The BMW bursary program includes financial support for the following:

Registration fees

Class fees

Accommodation fees at the Institute of Higher Learning

Prescribed book or learning material fees

Examination fees

Their bursaries program is designed to help candidates reach their full potential.  Except for the financial aid they make available, candidate could also have the opportunity for vacation work.  Candidates may be asked to sign an employment contract with the company, for a period as is deemed required.

Brighten not only your future, but also build a stable environment around you with assistance from the BMW bursaries program.  If this is the path you want to follow, let BMW help you move.

BMW Bursaries Available

If you are planning to study in one of the following directions, the bursaries offered by BMW may just be what you need.  Candidates can apply for a range of study fields, including the following:

  • Production
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Production Engineering
  • Engineering
  • IT
  • Technology
  • Computer Science
  • Business Management
  • Finance

Bursary Requirements

If you would like to apply for a bursary from BMW, candidates must provide all required documentation, complete the application form and meet all requirements.

To study with a bursary in any of the above mentioned fields, candidates require the following:

  • Grade 12 level of education with an average of 80% or higher
  • Candidates at University, completing their first year, in any of the mentioned fields must also hold an 80% average or higher
  • Be a South African citizen
  • Possess a Valid South African ID
  • Be computer literate, with competency in MS Office
  • Proficient in English, read, write and understand
  • Must show a dynamic and adaptable personality
  • Be a keen intellectual scholar


Please include your latest school results and certified copy of your ID.

BMW online bursaries applications can be done via this form.

Candidates are advised to carefully read all questions, complete the application fully and honestly.

BMW is a company that commits to the investment of people and their abilities.  The success of the company lies within their workforce, thus they strive to aid in building a stronger community with skilled workers.  They also take employment equity seriously, therefore they allow for a diversity within all positions of the company.

BMW feels their competitive edge is due to the companies employment equity act, ensuring great standards for their employees and providing opportunities for gaining greater qualifications.  People are acknowledged for their effort within all situations, forming a strong foundation to success.

BMW aims to eliminate any and all unfair discrimination, thus they offer equal opportunities within their occupational ranks.  They deliver an employment equity program through their affirmative action representation.

Closing Date

Applications are made available during September of each year.  There after a selection process will be done, this will be done from September up until December.  Applicants will be contacted that make the short-list, and an assessment will be completed.

There after an interview will also be set-up.  This interview will aid in the final selection process.  Candidates who qualify will be informed.  If you do not hear anything from BMW, please be advised that your application was unsuccessful.

Source: bursaries-southafrica

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