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.
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The City recently successfully registered its programme of activities for a series of landfill gas to energy conversion projects with the United Nations. This will assist in offsetting the City’s carbon footprint and meeting international emissions targets.
The City of Cape Town is proud to announce that our programme of activities (PoA) for projects aiming to capture and harness the energy being produced by our landfill sites has been confirmed as meeting the requirements of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC.)
This programme of activities will serve as the umbrella instrument for registering landfill gas projects in Cape Town, but other municipalities and private landfill owners in South Africa could register future projects via this PoA should they so choose.
This means that all future projects in South Africa that comply with the technical and legal specifications outlined in the City’s PoA will be eligible to earn carbon credits once registered with the UNFCCC, and will thus make a significant contribution towards keeping our carbon emissions level below the target level set by the Kyoto Protocol.
The projects that fall within this PoA will dramatically reduce the amount of harmful gas that is released into the atmosphere. Landfill gas, comprised predominantly of methane and carbon dioxide, has a global warming potential approximately 25 times greater than carbon dioxide.
“The process to have a PoA approved is complex, and requires substantial documentary evidence to be generated and provided in terms of the UNFCCC rules. We are therefore proud to have been able to do our part in facilitating sustainable development throughout South Africa,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.
“In terms of the process for converting the energy, a network of pipes installed within the waste will convey the gas from a series of wells for combustion, in order to destroy the harmful gases. The gas will be combusted on-site to produce electricity which will either be exported to the South African grid supply network (offsetting the consumption of power which would otherwise have been generated by fossil fuel sources) or carried by further pipework to an adjacent industrial location for combustion to generate heat.”
The City is currently in talks with an industrial client who is interested in making use of landfill gas in their factory. Further developments will be announced as they arise.
“Projects of this nature are crucial to ensuring that South Africa moves forward in a sustainable manner. By earning carbon credits, these projects create environmental capacity for future development – thus creating jobs and opportunities. This kind of responsible thinking, coupled with the remarkable expertise of our officials, shows that the City truly is doing its part to make progress possible,’ said Councillor Sonnenberg.
Source: Cape Business News