South Africa: Energy Snippets - 14 May 2019

Last Updated: 29 May 2019
Article by Charles Marais

IEA says world cannot "press pause" on renewables, as capacity growth stalls

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has expressed concern over the “unexpected flattening” of renewable-energy capacity additions in 2018, which, at 180 GW, remained in line with additions recorded in 2017.

It was the first time since 2001 that year-on-year additions of renewable energy failed to grow and coincided with a 1.7% rise in greenhouse-gas emissions to an historic high of 33 gigatonnes.

Engineering News, 6 May 2019

Agri SA says concerned by Nersa’s reluctance to register small-scale embedded generator projects

Agricultural industry association Agri SA said on Monday it was concerned about what it called the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's (Nersa) reluctance to register small-scale embedded generator projects. 

In a statement, Agri SA said its members had the potential to supply the electricity needed to prevent future rolling blackouts, known as load shedding, through small-scale solar photovoltaic installations.

Engineering News, 6 May 2019

ANC wants banks to be forced to fund South African coal mines

South Africa’s banks should be forced to invest in new coal mines in the country, the ruling African National Congress’s head of economic transformation said.

Nedbank Group and Standard Bank Group have said “they are not going to put money in coal anymore,” Enoch Godongwana said in an interview on Carte Blanche, a Johannesburg-based investigative television programme. “To me, that’s an invitation for prescribed assets,” he said in a reference to the party’s investigation of whether to force pension funds to invest in developmental projects.

Engineering News, 6 May 2019

Egypt expects giant solar park to be fully operational in 2019



Egypt expects the 1.6 GW solar park it is building in the south of the country to be operating at full capacity in 2019, the investment ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The US$2 billion project, set to be the world's largest solar installation, has been partly funded by the World Bank, which invested US$653 million through the International Finance Corporation.

Engineering News, 6 May 2019

Behind the scenes: Robben Island’s solar

Working on an extremely sensitive site, both historically and ecologically, made the Robben Island solar project logistically challenging: requiring environmental clearance for every planned activity to ensure that the sensitive environment was not exploited. How well has the project fared?

According to the microgrid developer, SOLA Future Energy, the Robben Island project required having an archaeologist on site in case anything was discovered while clearing the area and digging trenches for cabling. The team was also sent on penguin handling training, in order to remove the island’s rare African penguins safely from the site during construction.

ESI Africa, 6 May 2019

Smart metering solutions for utilities

Smart metering solutions for utilities. Previously, due to lack of technology, utilities and municipalities had to manually read and document meter readings. This process not only posed a challenge for the utilities but also for the customer because human error was inevitable. 

A wave of change has entered the metering market as technology advancements present ever-more innovative solutions to age-old challenges. South Africa joined the race when it introduced the rollout of prepaid electricity meters.

ESI Africa, 7 May 2019

Platform launched for solar professionals in Africa

A new initiative, the Africa Solar Industry Association (AFSIA), has been launched to promote solar power in the African region.

AFSIA will focus on large scale grid-connected projects to off-grid solar home systems, through to hybrid systems including diesel and storage to solar water pumping, solar stoves or solar water heaters.

ESI Africa, 7 May 2019

CSP with energy storage to ensure stable power supply



Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) with thermal storage will bridge the dispatchable energy gap according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

The company’s latest report, Energy Storage – A Key Determinant for the Future of Concentrated Solar Power Market, reveals that retirements of coal-based plants and increase in influx of intermittent renewable power sources in order to achieve climate goals provide potential market opportunity for CSP with thermal storage.

ESI Africa, 7 May 2019

Capturing the potential of Africa’s rising sun

The hottest news on the solar front is the growth in corporate power purchase agreements where the off-takers are energy intensive users, such as mines. Driving this willingness to invest in solar is a need to secure affordable energy supply. 

ESI Africa spoke with Gulnara Abdullina, General Manager: Middle East and Africa at JinkoSolar, on this and other market considerations.

ESI Africa, 7 May 2019

Is your standby power clean and quiet?

Low emissions and muffled noise are prized attributes in standby power units, which are not easily available in the market. This inspired a Cape Town company to look beyond its usual applications to offer a range of gas powered gensets worthy of the clean energy revolution. 

Self-generation is a topic that inevitably arises when a commercial or industrial operation wants to expand beyond a point at which its electricity supplier can provide power, or when power outages become damaging to operations and products. But apart from these less desirable reasons for making the self-generation switch, there are also highly positive reasons of lowering one’s carbon footprint, attaining a higher level of overall energy efficiency, and – the bottom line – saving money.

ESI Africa, 7 May 2019

Eberhard calls for renewables to play a far greater role in South Africa

Energy expert Anton Eberhard has called for renewable energy to play a far greater role in South Africa, adding that solar and wind energy had saved the country from what could have been a far darker place during the recent spate of load shedding.

“Independent power producers have mitigated load shedding. If we didn't have wind and solar, we wouldn't have had Stage 4 . . . we would have had Stage 5 and 6 [load shedding]. South Africa would have been in darkness, so renewables are already proving their economic worth.”

Engineering News, 7 May 2019

Energy dept launches updated Wind Atlas for South Africa

Department of Energy Acting Director-General Zizamele Mbambo has launched the Wind Atlas for South Africa High Resolution Wind Resource Map, which has expanded its coverage to three-quarters of the country. 

Addressing delegates at a seminar this week, Mbambo emphasised the importance of accurately determining the availability of wind resources.

Engineering News, 7 May 2019

Jeka Energy completes solar PV power plant for Air Products

Jeka Energy has completed the installation of a solar photovoltaic roof-mounted power plant for Air Products’ Kempton Park facility.

This renewable energy provides most of the energy required by the Air Products facility.

The installed system uses the generated solar energy as it gets harnessed, hence the daytime solar energy generation. However, an allowance has been made for future expansion to an ultimate hybrid system that will incorporate energy storage systems.

Engineering News, 7 May 2019

Lead batteries: The true power behind microgrids

While there are various options for battery energy storage, lead batteries arguably provide by far the most cost-effective and sustainable solution. Add these batteries to microgrid systems and this combination opens a world of opportunities for remote communities.

For Africans living without access to reliable electricity and communities seeking electric power microgrids, using solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind generation with battery energy storage offers a lifeline. It guarantees better health care, access to education, and many other life-changing opportunities. Microgrids are usually wholly disconnected from public electricity supply networks, and the alternative to solar PV or other renewable energy sources is diesel generation. This alternative is expensive and needs regular deliveries of fuel whereas a solar PV or wind installation with energy storage has minimal operating costs once implemented.

ESI Africa, 9 May 2019

Investment platform open for solar plants in West Africa

West African solar energy company, Daystar Power, has partnered with Trine a Swedish investment platform to finance solar plants in West Africa.

The partnership opens up investments in Daystar Power’s solar power installations, previously limited to large-scale investors, to the wider public.

Daystar Power and Trine initiated their partnership by opening a round of debt investments for a total of €500 000 (US$559 878) for Daystar Power’s latest captive power installations for commercial customers in Togo and Senegal.

ESI Africa, 9 May 2019

Solar hybrid systems to power Senegalese communities

The German hybrid solutions provider, DHYBRID, has been selected to supply seven solar PV diesel hybrid systems in remote Senegalese locations with hybrid control and energy storage systems.

The total output capacity is 2 MW, the storage capacity 2 MWh. The plants will enable Senegal to supply power for very isolated sites and to diversify its energy mix.

ESI Africa, 9 May 2019

Kibo presents power station DFS to Mozambique government

Johannesburg and London-listed Kibo Energy’s Benga power plant project, in Mozambique, is advancing “well ahead” of its development schedule, CEO Louis Coetzee said on Thursday, reporting that the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the coal-fired power station had been presented to the Energy Ministry and power utility Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM).

“Working in Mozambique has been notably straightforward as evidenced by the timely advancement of Benga,” said Coetzee, adding that the support and feedback it had received on the 65%-owned Benga project had been “highly encouraging”.

Engineering News, 9 May 2019

Zimbabwe warns of power cuts as dam levels fall, ageing plants stutter

Zimbabwe's state-owned power utility on Thursday warned it may ration electricity supplies as low water levels reduce output from its biggest hydro plant, while ageing coal-fired generators are shuttered or running at reduced capacity.

Power cuts would hit the mining sector hardest, which contributes more than two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s export earnings, adding to difficulties in a country already grappling with a lack of U.S. dollars, soaring prices and shortages of fuel, food and medicines.

Engineering News, 9 May 2019

Malawi seeks investor for 258 MW hydropower plant on Shire river

Malawi has signed an agreement with the World Bank to develop the planned 258 MW Mpatamanga hydropower plant, on the Shire river.

Department of Energy Affairs spokesperson Saidi Banda says that, under the agreement, the Malawi government and the World Bank’s private-sector support arm, the International Finance Corporation, will provide equity for the project and procure a private investor.

Engineering News, 10 May 2019

Construction of nuclear plants will reinvigorate local manufacturing

One of the main objectives of government is to reinvigorate the local manufacturing sector and one of the ways to achieve that is to forge ahead with the construction of nuclear plants, says nuclear project management company Nuclear Africa CEO Dr Kelvin Kemm.

This has the potential to create employment and revitalise small to medium-sized businesses, particularly those that are black-owned, such as earthmoving and general building construction companies in the Port Elizabeth area.

Engineering News, 10 May 2019

Unreliability of coal power stations calls for a nuclear solution

With coal power stations starting to reach the end of their lives, owing to insufficient maintenance, the country’s only option going forward will have to be nuclear energy, says University of the Witwatersrand radiation and health physics unit director Professor James Larkin.

“There are numerous international studies that show the negative effects of coal-fired power stations. Nuclear power generation is extraordinarily safe, compared with other energy sources.”

ESI Africa, 10 May 2019

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