Features & Latest News
News and Press Releases - 25 Degrees in Africa
South Africa is still catching up with the rest of the world when it comes to renewable energy for transport, according to Carel Snyman, green transport senior manager at the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi). “The idea is still that vehicles need to be powered by oil. I know with new programmes like the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) systems it is alternative transport. But this does not address alternative energy use,” he said. Snyman said when it comes to burning energy inside an engine, there are major losses in terms of heat. Normal petrol-driven cars were not very…
Following the signed power purchasing agreement with energy company Bio2Watt (Pty) Ltd in 2014, BMW South Africa received the first green energy at its Rosslyn plant in Pretoria on 10 October 2015. Through this agreement, between 25% and 30% of the BMW plant in Rosslyn’s electricity requirements will now be generated from renewable sources. The BMW South Africa / Bio2Watt renewable energy partnership is the first commercially viable biogas project. The biogas process relies on organic waste, which is directed into a digester where biogas is produced and then goes into a gas engine to produce electricity. This is inserted…
Despite building dozens of nuclear reactors across the world, Russia’s state-owned nuclear operator, Rosatom, is not saying what South Africa can expect to pay when it eventually starts its own procurement process. The company has 29 nuclear reactors in various stages of planning and construction. Leos Tomicek, vice-president of Rosatom Overseas, pleaded ignorance about any price estimates should South Africa press ahead and appoint his company to build the country’s next fleet of stations. “I do not know what the price would be because that depends on a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration,” he said…
South Africa is considering building an oil refinery that will process Iranian crude to bolster its petrol supply and reduce its dependence on foreign companies. Plans for the new refinery were being conceptualised, according to Tseliso Maqubela, the deputy director-general for petroleum and petroleum products regulation at the Energy Ministry, but he could not estimate the cost or time frame for construction. “There are benefits to owning a refinery – basically the profits are re-invested in the country and outflows can be controlled,” said Maqubela. “But most importantly, you are able to protect your own sovereignty. We could not bring…
South Africa will spend R213bn to strengthen its transmission grid over the next decade as it seeks to end power shortages that are slowing growth, according to Eskom. Leslie Naidoo, Eskom’s senior manager for infrastructure investment planning, said at a technical briefing on the utility’s grid plans that sourcing the funding would be “a huge challenge”. Overall, Eskom is spending R60bn a year on improving electricity infrastructure, Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe commented while presenting the ten-year plan to build 10 000km of high-voltage power lines. He said that while Eskom faced a funding gap of R280bn, which has delayed…
The Department of Environmental Affairs has issued an environmental authorisation for Shell South Africa Upstream BV’s proposed exploration drilling in the Orange Basin Deep Water Licence Area, off South Africa’s West Coast. This gives Shell permission to drill up to two offshore exploration wells in the northern portion of the licence area, which covers about 37 290km². Based on seismic data analysis, Shell has proposed to drill one or possibly two wells in the area. The drilling of the second well will depend on the success of the first. A final environmental impact assessment report on the proposed drilling says…
Top global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills today announces that it will be opening its first Africa office, in Johannesburg shortly.  Peter Leon, a top twenty global mining lawyer will join the firm as co-chair of the Africa practice alongside Brigette Baillie, a highly respected energy and infrastructure finance lawyer who will join as a partner in the firm's highly successful Africa practice.Peter and Brigette will be joined in Johannesburg by a number of high-quality partners from the Africa practice including Ed Baring, Head of the firm's Banking & Finance practice in Moscow, Bertrand Montembault, Head of the Paris Energy…
A building’s sustainability is influenced by many factors and product decisions, much of which is prescribed by building regulations. However, to get the optimal mix takes more than just a Coke and a smile. Jacques Laubscher, associate professor in the Department of Architecture at the Tshwane University of Technology, is part of a working group focused on building regulations in the face of climate change. Together with the other members on the steering committee, Henk Visscher from the Delft University of Technology and Edwin Chan from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, they involve built environment specialists from around the world…
Radical approach to tackle South Africa's water woes.   Unexpected water loss has a negative impact on both the consumer and the council that supplies it. An unknown leak in a pipe could easily see a consumer receiving a massive bill at the end of the month, one which they will probably dispute. This means that the council is unlikely to receive payment for this water anytime soon, and thus both parties end up losing out.What is required is something to bridge this gap, some form of insurance that covers the consumer for unexpected water loss while at the same time…
The proposed Thyspunt site, between Cape St Francis and Oyster Bay in the Eastern Cape, is currently the front runner for the construction of Nuclear-1, the first new nuclear power station to be built as part of governments plan to add 9 600MW to the grid by 2030. This proposed power station, however, will only have a capacity of 4 000MW. Following an environmental impact assessment (EIA) conducted by independent engineering consulting firm, GIBB, two sites were deemed feasible for the new nuclear build since no fatal flaws were found to disqualify either of them, but Thyspunt remains the preferred…
Five prominent female researchers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have been awarded SA Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chairs in their respective fields, as part of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and National Research Foundation (NRF) initiative to promote women in research.  The five new UCT SARChI Chairs are:•    Professor Tania Douglas, Biomedical Engineering and Innovation•    Professor Jill Farrant, Systems Biology Studies on Plant Dessication Tolerance for Food Security•    Associate Professor Nonhlanhla Khumalo, Dermatology and Toxicology•    Professor Hanri Mostert, Mineral Law in Africa•    Dr Amanda Weltman, Physical Cosmology Before this announcement, UCT was home to 34 SARChI Chairs,…
A new draft text has been released in preparation for the final climate change negotiations before the COP 21 Paris conference. The draft Paris treaty and COP21 decision will guide talks at an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) session from 19 - 23 October 2015 in Bonn, Germany. The draft negotiation text contains a draft Agreement with the core provisions as well as a draft COP21 decision covering technical details and necessary updates, according to an announcement on the Deconstructing Paris website. Should the negotiations in December be successful, all members at the…
The world's first thermoplastic oil tank for dry sump engines has now been developed by Hummel-Formen, a brand by ElringKlinger AG at Lenningen, Germany. The reservoir, which weighs around 2.6kg, is made from Ultramid® A3WG7, a BASF polyamide 66 with 35% glass fiber reinforcement which is resistant to oil and thermal aging. The tank is therefore 59 percent lighter than previous steel or aluminum welding constructions and has an improved, multi-functional oil separation system which is integrated in the tank. The complex plastic component is used in the new Mercedes-AMG GT, which has been available since spring 2015 and is…
The Sundale Free Range Dairy in East London has launched a water recycling plant which will greatly enhance their green status, as part of their on-going efforts to improve compliance with environmental standards. As users of between 200 000 and 300 000 litres of water per day, primarily used to clean the factory and production lines, crates and vehicles, dairies are some of the largest consumers of water. CEO Pierre van Rensburg says: “South Africa is a water stressed country and the deepening water crisis is becoming as pressing as the supply of electricity, if not more so. Owing to…
By Carel Snyman, senior manager for Green Transport at SANEDI The history of transport is the story of how we as humans have created and innovated increasingly smart and streamlined ways to get from here to there. Starting on foot, our resourceful imaginations have automated transport, taking us from horse drawn journeys to wheeled and winged adventures across the globe. Building ports and laying railway tracks and highways, we’ve expanded a network of connection across towns, cities and countries. Increasing population, more traffic jamsAs the world becomes increasingly urban, densely populated areas will face dramatic and seemingly intractable transportation issues.…
Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is seeing the start of the installation of more than 7500 square metres of solar panels on eight rooftops of key buildings on the 123-hectare property, as the landmark property expands its emphasis on going green. The installation follows a tender process that was completed in June of this year in which Sustainable Power Solutions was awarded the Engineering and Procurement Contractor (EPC) business. As part of this tender, SolarWorld Africa is the chosen Photovoltaic (PV) module supplier. The solar project will provide 4207 SolarWorld SunModule Plus SW260 Poly PV modules with an output of 1093.8kWp…
By Clinton Smith, Technical and Sales Director, Green Worx Cleaning Solutions Issued by Perfect Word Consulting (Pty) Ltd Washing cars has often been listed on the ‘top ten’ list of water wasters world-wide. While home-washing usually utilises far more water than professional cleaning services, either way, natural resources are going to waste. While the wasted water drains away, with it goes an onslaught of dangerous chemicals; seeping into the ground, entering the water table and endangering those that come into contact with them. Add to washing the car the chemicals and water needed to clean the showroom, remove grease and…
Australia will be one of the first countries in the world to get Tesla’s vaunted Powerwall battery storage system, available in the country by the end of the year. The Powerwall is a 7kWH home energy storage unit that sits on an interior wall. It has a lithium-ion battery, used to store energy created by solar panels on the household roof. Prof Anthony Vassallo, a sustainable energy expert at the University of Sydney, pointed out that the technology still has some way to improve – a 7kWH system will store little more than an hour’s electricity generated by a typical…
Kenya’s plans for nuclear electricity generation by 2025 have received a boost following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board and the China General Nuclear Power Corporation. The China General Nuclear Power Corporation operates a number of third-generation HPR nuclear power plants. Kenya is yet to settle on the model of reactors for its nuclear power plants. Thus, the Hualong One reactor, which generates 1 000MW of electricity, is among those under consideration as the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board continues with the technology assessment of nuclear reactor models available from various parts of the…
South Africa has geothermal resources that can be used to generate electricity and reduce its carbon emissions, but it is currently omitted from the renewable energy programme mix. Unlike many renewables, geothermal is stable and can be used as part of the baseload electricity supply. It may also provide an effective long-term energy source with minimal waste. A recent study by Taufeeq Dhansay, Maarten de Wit and Anthony Patt, published in the South African Journal of Science, “An evaluation for harnessing low-enthalpy geothermal energy in the Limpopo Province, South Africa”, challenged a common misconception about South Africa’s geothermal energy potential,…
South Africa has geothermal resources that can be used to generate electricity and reduce its carbon emissions, but it is currently omitted from the renewable energy programme mix. Unlike many renewables, geothermal is stable and can be used as part of the baseload electricity supply. It may also provide an effective long-term energy source with minimal waste. A recent study by Taufeeq Dhansay, Maarten de Wit and Anthony Patt, published in the South African Journal of Science, “An evaluation for harnessing low-enthalpy geothermal energy in the Limpopo Province, South Africa”, challenged a common misconception about South Africa’s geothermal energy potential,…
Easigas (Pty) Ltd (“Easigas”) and Reatile Gaz (Pty) Ltd have entered into an agreement to merge their respective Southern African LPG operations. Easigas is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Rubis Group (France), and has operations in South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana. Reatile Gaz, which has LPG operations in South Africa and is active in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, is ultimately owned 55% by Reatile Group (Pty) Ltd and 45% by Engen Petroleum Ltd. Reatile Group is a black owned and managed company with diverse interests in the Southern African energy sector. The merged operation will be owned 60% by…
Sasol and its partners have entered into an agreement with Petróleos de Moçambique (PETROMOC), Mozambique’s state-owned distributor of petroleum products, to purchase condensate from the central processing facility in Temane, Inhambane. “Promoting local content is key to ensuring that the oil and gas industry promotes in-county economic development,” said John Sichinga, senior vice-president at Sasol Exploration and Production International. “We have been focusing on identifying and sustaining Mozambican suppliers that can support and help develop our activities and participate meaningfully in the value chain of the growing hydrocarbon industry.” Sasol’s commitment to Mozambique began well over a decade ago, when,…
A team at the University of Stellenbosch – led by a former Intel strategic planner – believes they have found a way to generate cheap solar electricity using a small-scale array of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy. Once they have completed a prototype system in October, they have big plans for rolling out the technology. The idea behind the design – so-called concentrated solar power (CSP) – is simple. A field of mirrors on the ground tracks the sun and concentrates its rays on a central point which heats up. That heat is converted into electricity. The team’s aim…
The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) research paper, Gridlocked, suggests that South Africa would get a much better return on its energy investments if it planned a smarter and more flexible electricity grid. In turn, a better grid would also boost the contribution of wind and solar energy. According to ISS researcher, Steve Hedden, electricity generation is becoming decentralised and intermittent, and the line between consumer and producer is blurring. At the same time, the electricity sector is transitioning away from a centralised monopolistic model, with new players taking on roles and responsibilities historically controlled by Eskom. The grid used…
The South African government plans to build 12 liquid fuel bulk terminals in the next 25 years to cope with the country’s soaring energy needs. The proposed construction at four of the nation’s eight harbours would give South Africa additional options, should plans to build an oil refinery fail to materialise, said Hamilton Nxumalo, general manager for planning, maintenance and capital projects at state-owned Transnet SOC Ltd’s National Ports Authority. The port of Ngqura, in the Eastern Cape Province, is favoured to house the refinery. Mthombo, which would be the sub-Saharan region’s biggest facility of this kind, would have capacity…
The African subsidiary of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM has officially launched its local website www.Rosatom.co.za. The website is aimed at increasing public awareness on nuclear, while also emphasizing the company’s commitment to transparency and education.  The website which is the first outside of Europe is testament to the company’s dedication to the growing African market. According to Viktor Polikarpov, Rosatom Regional Vice-President of Sub – Saharan Africa the website provides information on Rosatom and its comprehensive offering and educates the general public on nuclear and its related industries. By doing so, empowers them to make more informed…
A report released by global management consultancy, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), and its Johannesburg office, suggests some tangible measures which could help to reignite South Africa’s growth and confound a rising sense of pessimism about the nation’s future prospects. Deliverable in the short to medium term, these measures can lead to over one trillion rand being added to the annual GDP by 2040, provide opportunities to transform the wider South African society and create over 3.4 million jobs in the process. “South Africa has made extraordinary progress in so many ways over the last 20 years, with a doubling of…
This year’s Growth Innovation Leadership (GIL) 2015 Africa congress, held during August, brought together 280 C-level executives from various industry sectors from across South Africa and the African continent. These top minds and visionaries shared, engaged and inspired one another to come up with pioneering strategies and use innovation to address global challenges. Some of the highlights of the event include:•    90% C-level executives in attendance, ensuring appropriate networking opportunities and future prospects for clients attending.•    Discussion of key focus sectors that Japanese companies are looking at in order to invest in the African continent.•    Rapid-fire industry presentations of how…
Implications for Southern Africa if Kariba Dam collapses detailed in IRMSA and Aon risk report “The Kariba Dam is in a dangerous state. Opened in 1959, it was built on a seemingly solid bed of basalt. But, in the past 50 years, the torrents from the spillway have eroded that bedrock, carving a vast crater that has undercut the dam’s foundations. Engineers are now warning that without urgent repairs, the whole dam will collapse. If that happened, a tsunami-like wall of water would rip through the Zambezi valley, reaching the Mozambique border within eight hours. The torrent would overwhelm Mozambique’s…
GIL 2015: Africa congress highlights substantial business opportunities for the continent as a result of convergence CAPE TOWN, South Africa – 26 August, 2015 – Convergence across industries is resulting in the rapid emergence of new business models as well as substantial investment opportunities for the African continent. As Frost & Sullivan Senior Partner, Dorman Followwill, highlighted in his opening presentation at the Growth Innovation Leadership (GIL) 2015 Africa congress that took place in Cape Town last week - Africa is the continent of the greatest opportunity today. Japanese companies have already started looking to Africa for investment. “Africa has…
Studies of the genes involved in oil synthesis in microalgae allow scientists to use a gene promoter to increase algal production of triacylglycerols, which in turn enhances potential biofuel yields Biofuels are an environmentally-friendly, low-cost and renewable energy source that show promise for reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Although many biofuels have been created from plant and animal fats, scientists are increasingly interested in the potential for large-scale oil synthesis from microalgae. Now, Hiroyuki Ohta at Tokyo Institute of Technology, together with scientists based at institutions across Tokyo, Japan, have uncovered a way of enhancing the production of fat-based molecules called triacylglycerols…
Overall, activity in the oil & gas industry across the African continent has slowed in the wake of the declining oil price in late 2014. JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, August 5, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- •         93% of respondents expect a Brent crude price range of US$50 – 80 in 2015; •         90% of respondents expect a price range of US$60 – 90 in 2016; and•         87% of the respondents expect a price range of US$60 – 90 in 2017.Overall, activity in the oil & gas industry across the African continent has slowed in the wake of the declining oil price…
South Africa is a beautiful country with abundant natural resources but worryingly, recent studies conducted indicate that by 2030, there will be a 17% gap between water supply and water demand.  That is if we continue a similar water consumption pattern without planning for future demands. It’s wise to assume that water is one of the most precious commodities in our country. It’s up to each individual, but the SME business sector can also make a significant difference in the preservation of water.  Let’s just take the restaurant trade for example. As a restaurant owner, you would have a few…
Load-shedding has a severe financial effect on South African food production in the primary production, post-harvest and retail sector. Power interruptions may also be depriving the country of quality nutrition. This is according to Dawie Kriel, Head of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration (HVAC&R) at Energy Partners - a leading energy solutions provider in South Africa - who says that the interrupted electricity supply is costing the local food production industry millions every month. Kriel explains that the entire supply chain, from primary production through to the consumer, are impacted in one way or another and says that farmers…
G & W Mineral Resources is part of the Zimco group of companies in South Africa, itself a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ecobat Technologies group in the UK, giving G & W Mineral Resources access to global technology and resources.G & W operates 6 mines, producing Bentonite, Kaolin and various other minerals. The production is consolidated in Wadeville where the minerals are milled, bagged and distributed sub Saharan wide in either paper-bags, bulk bags or tankers. Sustainable development is a key element of all decision making to ensure continued economic, environmental and social value and reputation. Recently as part of…
A second independent study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) found that renewable energy from South Africa’s first wind and solar (photovoltaic) projects created R4 billion more financial benefits to the country than they cost during the first six months of 2015. The study is an update and continuation of an initial study that was published in January this year, which covered the calendar year 2014. The benefits earned were two-fold. The first benefit, derived from diesel and coal fuel cost savings, is pinned at R3.6 billion. This is because 2.0 TWh (terawatt-hours) of wind and solar…
South Africa’s energy supply challenge has created opportunities for companies to innovate in their use of energy, and to become a world leader in industrial energy efficiency, experts said in Durban on Tuesday. SA was already exporting its industrial energy efficiency knowledge and skills to 17 countries, said Ndivhuho Raphulu, director of the National Cleaner Production Centre of SA (NCPC-SA). This follows a successful global pilot programme run in SA by the UN’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). “The energy shortage gave us real impetus to build skills and capacity with our Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project,” Raphulu told the opening…
By Nasim Khan   If the global energy transition is any indicator, solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has come a long way from being a subsidy-driven optionality to earning a meaningful position in the global power generation portfolio. Driven by market fundamentals - falling PV prices, increasing efficiencies, and the rising costs of grid electricity from other sources - solar PV is now being installed at an unprecedented pace by utilities, developers, and large corporations around the world.   It is in this dynamic context that the solar industry needs to focus its attention on what really matters to its customers,…
Can a luxury home keep itself warm and comfortable without electrical heating in the dead of a Highveld winter?  This is the challenge multinational Saint-Gobain has set by inviting key individuals around the country, to partake in the Stand 47 Winter test.  South Africans are in the midst of a cold and dark winter as load shedding forges ahead and energy costs have increased by almost 12 percent. While millions of households will endure cold spells to keep down their energy costs, multinational Saint-Gobain encourages the nation that they have a solution. With their latest Winter Test already underway at…
South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) has proven so successful that the same model could be replicated across the continent, presenting excellent opportunities for South African firms to leverage their skills on these projects.   This is according to Kieran Whyte, Projects and Energy Partner at leading global law firm Baker & McKenzie: Johannesburg, who says there has been an exponential rise in interest on renewable energy projects in Africa over the last few years following the success of the REIPPP programme in South Africa, as well as renewable projects in Morocco. “The rest of Africa…
The local manufacturing and installation of solar photo-voltaic units could create more than 2000 jobs over the next three to five years, according to Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture Alan Winde. While the boom in solar power is positive from a job creation perspective, the increasing need for both businesses and residential energy users to have access to alternative energy solutions has resulted in a growth in unqualified solar power companies. This is according to Manie de Waal, Divisional Head of Solar & Storage at Energy Partners - a leading energy solutions provider in South Africa…
Highlights: •    Offshore natural gas discoveries made in Mozambique since 2010 have propelled the country as a new investment destination in sub-Saharan Africa •    By exploiting these resources, the country could become one of the largest exporters of liquefied natural gas in the next decade   •    Gas-related infrastructure projects set to flourish in the Cabo Delgado Province (Palma-Pemba) in the next decade   Read more:
Ludwigshafen, Dresden (Germany) – BASF and Fraunhofer IPMSCNTannounced today that they have joined forces to develop innovative solutions forthe semiconductor industry. BASF has installed a modern tool for electrochemicalmetal deposition at the Fraunhofer IPMS Center for Nanoelectronic Technologies(CNT) in Dresden.   In pilot tests at the CNT, the latest technologies and innovative chemicals are furtherdeveloped and tailored for BASF customers. BASF and Fraunhofer are using the sametool and technology used by customers, enabling customers to significantly reducequalification effort. This saves customers development time, reduces their costs, andallows them to work more efficiently. When the pilot tests at the CNT are…
Monday's 8% WTI crude decline is setting up a big opportunity for buyers. And there could be more to come. But this is driven by momentum, not by the fundamental conditions in the physical market.   To the point: Demand is heading towards record levels both internationally and in the U.S.   The Greek issue is not new and it has not changed. It is just popular now as deadlines are pushed. It will fade and its drag on oil prices will ease.   The Chinese stock market is either correcting or crashing depending on who you listen to but…
The South African Government and the European Commission discussed today the pressing issue of climate change and stressed the importance of intensifying urgent actions to address the challenge at the international, regional, national and grassroots levels.   Ms Edna Molewa, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs, and Mr Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission for the Energy Union, met to discuss cooperation on climate change. The Vice-President and the Minister's delegation also visited the Khangezile School in Springs near Johannesburg to see at first hand a practical example of South Africa-European Union cooperation with regard to the application…
Miles Per Acre Per Year During the late innings of the ICE-age (as in the Internal Combustion Engine age) it has become clear that feeding gasoline and diesel to the next billion new cars is not going to be easy, or cheap. In China alone, 500 million new vehicles can be expected to jam the roads between now and 2030.   That may sound far-fetched but considering annual sales have already made it to 25 million units per year (vs. around 17 million in the U.S. – China became the top market in 2009), it only requires a 4 percent…
The newly released Renewables 2015 Global Status Report shows that 2014 was yet another record year for renewables. First published in 2005, REN21’s Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) provides a comprehensive and timely overview of renewable energy market, industry, investment and policy developments worldwide.  It enables policymakers, industry, investors and civil society to make informed decisions. The report is based on up-to-date renewable energy data, provided by an international network of more than 500 contributors, researchers, and authors, and is the most referenced report on renewable energy market, industry and policy trends.   The report documents the evolution of renewables…
With a global approach to sustainability, multinational Saint-Gobain believes that through efficient building strategies, we can maximise both economic and environmental performance. Sharing one of the brand’s sustainability projects, marketing manager Kerry Henning wants people to know that building sustainably is not only energy efficient, it is also luxurious. Sustainable construction is not only about the building – it is acknowledging that it is a living, breathing entity. It is how it makes the people who live there feel.   As a company, Saint-Gobain believes that sustainable habitat is within reach, and as such, they provide sustainable products and solutions…
South Africa is predicted to be short of fresh water within 35 years, a crisis that will be linked to the country’s current energy woes. Unless the energy crisis is addressed, SA is destined for long-term power and water shortages primarily because power will be need to produce clean water. Trevor Blench, chairman of Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL), says the solution lies in developing small thorium-based nuclear power stations, which are far safer than uranium-based power stations and more affordable. Thorium reactors use dry cooling or minimal water, either inland fresh water from rivers and dams or sea water along SA’s…
The lack of low cost, large scale energy storage systems is a big problem for solar power. Today, the typical solar cell can only store energy for only a few microseconds. As a result, customers equipped with solar panels will for the foreseeable future remain dependent on the electric power grid.   This is why so many green energy gurus consider hybrid systems combining solar and storage to be the mother of all disruptive technologies.   A new study by chemists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) suggests that rather than combining solar and storage, it may be…
Greening in the South African commercial property sector has reached a significant milestone with 100 Green Star SA certifications by the Green Building Council SA.     The pace of green building certifications has been rising rapidly in South Africa. In 2009 the country’s first green certification was awarded by the GBCSA. In April 2014 the country celebrated 50 Green Star SA ratings and, only a year later, this had doubled to one hundred, with 25 certifications awarded in the first quarter of 2015 alone.   Established in 2007, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has pioneered transformation…
Advanced combustion technologies to play a crucial role in limiting emissions, finds Frost & Sullivan Decreasing air quality levels in highly industrialised nations are forcing governments to bring in radical measures for emission control. Most of these programs will be aimed at cutting down the number of internal combustion engine (ICE)-propelled vehicles on the road. As a result, the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to exceed 2 million units globally by 2020. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of Emission Control Programs in Key Markets Towards 2020, finds that while alternative propulsion vehicles continue to make…
Consortium led by ACWA Power establishes global cost benchmark with Middle East’s largest PV plantDUBAI, United Arab Emirates/TEMPE, Az. – June 23, 2015 – First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced thatit has signed an agreement to supply its high performance photovoltaic (PV) modules to power the 200megawatt (MW)AC second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, the UnitedArab Emirates. Earlier this year, a consortium led by ACWA Power, a leading water and power developer, owner and operatorbased in Saudi Arabia, and TSK, a Spanish engineering and construction company, was selected by the DubaiElectricity and…
The privatisation of ten independent power plants (IPPs) in Nigeria capable of fetching up to $5,6 billion is stalling due to a lack of gas supply, the chief executive of Aiteo Power and Gas, Ransome Owan, has affirmed. The country broke up its monopoly on power generation and distribution by privatising the sector two years ago, hoping to attract foreign investors.   Since the privatisation, the amount of power produced has stagnated, failing to reach a 2012 peak of 4 500MW of electricity owing to gas constraints, plant outages and tripped circuits, according to Transmission Company of Nigeria. The government…
Asian countries are making a vital contribution to achieving global sustainable energy goals, according to a new World Bank report. But while the region performs strongly in ensuring electricity access for people and using more modern renewable energy, there is room for further improvement on energy efficiency and access to clean, smoke-free cooking.   Asia accounted for about 60% of the global progress on energy access and clean energy objectives during 2010 to 2012, according to the report titled “Progress towards sustainable energy: Global Tracking Framework 2015”.   On a global basis, the report found that 222 million people worldwide…
Engen KlevaKidz, a national campaign that educates rural and township communities about the safe handling and storage of paraffin, will run in the Western Cape from 8 to 25 June 2015, visiting 20 schools in disadvantaged communities, where the household use of paraffin is widespread and paraffin-related accidents are common.   “Over the years of Engen’s involvement in paraffin safety we have become aware that children aged 8 to 13 are often the primary daytime caregivers of their younger brothers and sisters. It is with this in mind that we target them with the message of safety,” says Engen’s corporate…
Transnet concluded a R30 billion loan facility agreement with China Development Bank (CDB) for the funding of hundreds of locomotives the company is building with China South Rail (CSR) and China North Rail (CNR) as its build programme gathers momentum. Transnet will be drawing the first tranche of R18 billion over four years.   The proceeds of the loan will be used to fund the company’s 232 diesel and 359 electric locomotives which it is building with CNR and CSR respectively. These locomotives are part of Transnet’s record-breaking 1 064 locomotives acquisition programme.   Focused on executing its Market Demand…
Eskom says it is set to continue with planned maintenance during the winter months, while the power utility also dispelled prospects of a total electricity blackout.   Acting Eskom chief executive officer (CEO) Brian Molefe said the power utility will conduct 5 500 megawatts planned maintenance over the winter period. This is necessary as the utility has an aging plant fleet. The maintenance to be conducted is three times more than the maintenance that has been done in previous winters.   Going into the winter season, the parastatal anticipates this winter to be colder than previous winters which will have…
Engie, a French mega company that generates and distributes electricity around the world including coal-powered, has pulled out of bidding to build a new 1 000MW coal-fired power plant in South Africa citing concerns over supporting new coal generation, according to a report in RenewEconomy.   Engie recently opened a new wind farm in South Africa and is leading a consortium in building the Kathu solar park, a 100MW solar plant in South Africa. The company is one of Europe’s major gas companies, but also owns plants ranging from coal to nuclear and increasingly solar, hydro and wind.   At…
Italy-based renewable energy developer Enel Green Power (EGP) has begun construction of the 82.5MW Pulida solar power plant in the Free State. The facility is capable of generating more than 150GWh annually once fully operational, enough to power around 48 000 homes.   The energy generated by Pulida will be sold to South African utility Eskom through the 20-year power supply agreement that EGP was awarded in October 2013 under the third round of South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).   EGP has also been awarded the right to build the Aurora (82.5 MW), Paleisheweul (82.5…
Hydrogen fuel-cell technology is being used successfully to provide standby power to support basic energy requirements such as charging stations for tablets, fax machines and computers in three schools in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape.   This is part of a pilot project led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in partnership with the private sector. Anglo American Platinum sponsored three platinum-based fuel-cell systems, including installation and ongoing maintenance and operations. Air Products is supplying the hydrogen fuel requirements, while Clean Energy Investments (a South African company co-owned by the DST and Anglo American Platinum) commissioned the fuel…
Several commentators have remarked that current conditions in the world and in business are characterised by VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. From where I am sitting, it certainly feels that way.   In business, we face relentless pressure and change from within our industry, from new technology, changing customer demographics and preferences and increasing regulation, and from the broader operating environment. One only needs to glance at news headlines to appreciate the VUCA reality: on-going economic challenges in Europe; oil price volatility; violent instability in the Middle East with spill-overs to other regions; and growing concerns around inequality, poverty…
By Coface, the international credit insurer   The government’s 2015 budget has named the country’s infrastructure as a “National Strategic Priority”. The proposed spend includes R105 billion on housing and associated support infrastructure and an additional R18 billion to boost grid connections and the availability of off-grid electricity.   In addition, government has implemented a number of strategies to assist the struggling electricity utility Eskom who’s current issues have been pinpointed as a contributory factor to the current state of South Africa’s economy. The government has set up a “War Room” headed by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to look at…
Reminding of a treehouse in a lush, living forest, 25 Verde, a residential complex in Turin, Italy, features a unique steel structure with a wide variety of trees and shrubs intertwining terraces across the five storeys, water ponds and lush gardens covering the roof.   Designed by architect Luciano Pia, the project aimed to create a facade for the block of urban homes that serves as a natural filter between the internal inhabited space and the surrounding streets.   Bursting with greeneryThe building’s metal structures resemble tree trunks holding up the wooden planking of the terraces, where 150 trees are…
The Green Star SA Interiors rating tool, launched by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) in February, encourages tenants to rate interior fit-outs with the overall aim to reduce the environmental impact of interior projects. At the same time, it is set to change the way in which professional teams approach projects, and could increase the demand for sustainable products that are certified by approved third-party certification systems.   The Green Star SA Interiors rating tool considers interior fit-outs from an all-round perspective and rewards high-performance tenant spaces that are healthy, productive places to work and incentivise best…
Reliable, growth ready energy strategies to become available with NRG Renew Africa’s first acquisition   Strengthening its capabilities in South Africa, NRG Renew today announced the acquisition of Kayema Energy Solutions Pty Ltd, [a full services energy improvement firm]. Enhancing its ability to analyse and deliver a tailored mix of distributed energy resources, the acquisition helps NRG further address the growing demand from corporations and multi-nationals for the reliable and efficient energy they need to sustain business operations.   Driven by new technologies and economic growth opportunities, today’s business environment demands reliable, cost-effective, and rapidly scalable energy solutions. These energy…
Dr Chris Iddon CEng MCIBSE – Natural Ventilation Design Manager with SE Controls, explores the inter-relationship between, indoor air quality, temperature control and energy management and assesses how a more holistic approach to ventilation control and building design is already paving the way for more efficient and effective solutions.   The technological, economic and environmental benefits of modern natural ventilation systems are well documented. The ability to move air through a building without exerting mechanical energy not only provides free cooling, but also a highly effective method of maintaining good indoor air quality, by removing pathogens, pollutants and exhaled carbon…
Energy Partners, a leading energy solutions provider in South Africa, today announced ground-breaking savings of in excess of R400,000 per month at its Pioneer Foods beverages production plant in Wadeville, Johannesburg.   This is according to Johan Kritzinger, Divisional Head of Boilers and Steam at Energy Partners - a leading energy solutions provider in South Africa - who says that Energy Partners recently began selling its steam to the plant on a rand-per-ton basis, whereby the energy solutions provider installs, maintains and manages its own boilers on the Ceres premises. “We entered into a commercial agreement with Pioneer Foods whereby…
Lindsay Sher to spearhead growth for specialist energy recruiter Cape Town, South Africa, 08 June 2015 – Petroplan, the global oil, gas and energy recruitment specialist, has appointed Lindsay Sher as Regional Recruitment Manager – Sub-Saharan Africa. Ms Sher has been hired to increase Petroplan’s footprint in the region and expand the company’s local recruitment team in South Africa. Ms Sher brings 12 years’ recruitment experience to the role and joins Petroplan’s Cape Town office from one of South Africa’s largest permanent recruitment companies – where she was Head of Commercial & Engineering Recruitment. Ms Sher will be responsible for the overall…
Anticipated final investment decisions on LNG projects will facilitate massiveenergy and infrastructure expansions by 2016 CAPE TOWN, South Africa – 2 June, 2015 – Mozambique is a low-income country with aneconomy that is heavily reliant on subsistence agriculture, as well as a few mega projects in thealuminium, extractive and power industries. However, poor basic infrastructure is hamperingeconomic and social development. The anticipated deployment of gas monetisation strategies;including liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, gas-to-power projects and possiblypetrochemical plants, have the potential to unlock the country’s vast natural gas productioncapability. It will create the impetus to build massive energy and industrial…
While solar systems are often still purchased on a power output capacity basis, the payback sits in the energy produced. And while it is easy to assess the capacity, the energy output is far more complicated to predict and requires understanding of the local meteorology, the measurements, the uncertainties surrounding those measurements and predictions, and most importantly, real world performance.   An independent study conducted by Arup has found that the thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules from First Solar can produce over 4% more energy per year than crystalline silicon panels in various South African environments with diverse climates, temperature,…
A town in the Eastern Cape Province has benefited from smart water metering technology, which has contributed to a reduction of water leaks and wastage, as well as ensured an increase in revenue for the municipality. Jansenville, is a town in Cacadu District Municipality, within the Municipality of Ikwezi, located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa and covers an area of approximately 25km2. The town has 1 600 residential units with approximately 6 000 residents. Early in 2014, Elster Kent Metering were approached by the then Department of Water Affairs to put forward a solution that would generate…
Comment by: Johan Muller, Programme Manager for Energy & Environment, Frost & Sullivan Africa   According to recent media statements, South Africa would commence a procurement process in the second quarter of the current financial year to select a “strategic partner or partners” to build 9,600 MW of new nuclear capacity, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced on Tuesday. The basis of this decision still seems to be the IRP2010 document which was accepted by parliament.   The nuclear debate is a complex one, and in this case it does not warrant a debate on whether nuclear is a safe technology,…
The Deputy Minister of Energy, Ambassador Thembisile Majola, says transformation in the petroleum sector remains a critical imperative of the Department of Energy (DoE).   “Transformation is a critical imperative in this sector and we are charged with the responsibility of creating an enabling environment and conditions for broader participation,” she said at the national Fuel Retailers’ Association (FRA) Conference, which runs alongside the Automechanika international trade fair at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.   Majola pointed out that the partnership between industry (including the oil industry) and government needs to find ways to make it possible for more…
One of Kaytech’s world-renowned drainage systems came to the fore recently at a private residence in the suburb of Chancliff on the outskirts of Krugersdorp in Gauteng. Having endured many months with a blocked French drain, costly pumping of the septic tank and eventually a blocked sump, the desperate homeowner contacted Kaytech for a solution to his problem. As a complete replacement for his traditional French drain, Kaytech’s Winnie van der Merwe recommended its Infiltrator Chamber System, the top performing septic manufactured drainfield system in the on-site industry with over 42 million installed worldwide. The open surface architecture of the…
uzlon Group, a leading wind turbine manufacturer, will install and commission 47 of its S97 120m hybrid tower wind turbine generators (WTGs) with rated capacity of 2,1MW each, for a 98MW project by Mytrah Energy, a leading independent power producer (IPP) in Telangana, India. It is scheduled for commissioning in 2016.   The S97 120m is the world’s tallest hybrid tower designed to harness the wind energy across low wind sites. It is a combination of lattice and tubular structure, which ensures a higher yield and an increased power output of 12 to 14% over a 90 metre tower. This…
The African Development Bank (AfDB) plans to boost the energy generation capacity at hydropower plants to 40 000MW, with connections to Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt, according to its Development Effectiveness Review on Energy 2014 report.   The report suggests that Africa’s hydro and solar potentials could secure energy supply for the continent. Moreover, Egypt has a great opportunity to reach universal access to energy through its great solar energy.   The AfDB committed $13bn over the past two decades to build up the energy sector in Africa. The majority of this amount went towards building national generation capacity and…
A new solar electricity generation system that developers claim is the most efficient in the world, is being tested in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape Province.   A Swedish company, Ripasso, is behind the project, which combines military technology with an idea of a zero-emission engine developed by a 19th-century Scottish engineer and clergyman. The massive 100 square metre dishes slowly rotate, following the sun to capture the maximum solar energy.   While traditional photovoltaic panels are able to turn as much as 23% of the solar energy that strikes them into electricity, with the average output…
South Africa hopes to restore its energy ties with Iran, its energy minister was quoted saying by Iran’s Shana news agency, three years after international sanctions halted oil trade between the two countries.   “South Africa is aiming for a framework of cooperation with Iran regarding crude oil, Query: LNG, LPG, gas and petrochemicals,” Tina Joemat-Pettersson was quoted as saying by Shana during a visit to Tehran.   “South Africa’s private sector can invest in various parts of Iran’s oil industry,” she added.   Mohsen Ghamsari, director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said on Saturday…
The government has commissioned an investigation into the possible impacts and potential mitigation opportunities of shale gas if it is found in the country.   Announced by Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor on 12 May, she said that the Strategic Environmental Assessment for shale gas development will be conducted as a science-based assessment over 24 months to improve the understanding of the risks and opportunities for the shale gas development.   The study area will include regions of the Karoo Basin which currently have exploration rights, and the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape Provinces, where applications are…
Three more large organisations have demonstrated their commitment to the energy cause by becoming the latest corporates to participate in the 49M Business Energy Rating Index.   Sun International, MMI Holdings and Tiger Brands (Consumer Brands, Grains and International) have submitted their information on their annual energy consumption, less than a month after 49M launched its first Business Energy Rating Index.   The 49M Business Energy Rating Index measures the electricity consumption of South African companies in terms of various parameters, the first of which being the usable space (all under roof operations excluding garages and store rooms as per…
The government will begin with the procurement of nuclear power by July and hopes to have a successful bidder by the end of the year, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said in Parliament on 19 May.   The nuclear power programme on which government has embarked, has been fiercely debated with no evidence presented yet that it is affordable. There is also some uncertainty over whether the 9 600MW of nuclear power mooted will be required as the current Integrated Resource Plan is five years out of date and a new one has not been adopted by Cabinet.   Joemat-Pettersson also…
The UJ Energy Movement will go on a technology and innovation roadshow in June, travelling via Kimberley and Upington to Windhoek and Gaborone in a solar-powered vehicle designed and built by University of Johannesburg (UJ) students.   As far as they know, it will be the first solar-powered electric vehicle to venture across the border into sub-Saharan Africa. The team will also be attempting the solar-only land speed record on the trip.   A series of public lectures will be held at UJ in the week before as well as during the roadshow, and the team will also be visiting…
Promethium Carbon is offsetting its carbon footprint for the 2014 financial year by planting close to 100 trees.  The trees are being planted at the Skeen Primary School in Alexandra about 10 km from Promethium’s office in Bryanston.   “The trees will grow and offset both our direct business related emissions such as travelling and the diesel generator as well as the emissions associated with our electricity consumption,” said Promethium director Harmke Immink. “In line with our carbon neutral strategy, Promethium Carbon supports various carbon offset providers like Food and Trees For Africa FTFA,” she said. “Promethium has been carbon neutral since…
Energy Advisor helps process manufacturers reduce energy costs by up to 10% annually through improved energy targeting and utilization.   Emerson Process Management, a business of St. Louis-based Emerson (NYSE: EMR), today unveiled Energy Advisor, a real-time energy management information system that automates the process of monitoring and managing energy consumption across mills, plants, and refineries. With real-time, meaningful information about a site’s energy performance, process manufacturers can identify inefficiencies and irregularities and take corrective action, saving on average 5 to 10 percent in energy costs annually.   In energy-intensive process industries like chemical, metals and mining, oil and gas,…
By Simon Clarke, Practice Lead & Partner and Anthony Dane, Senior Consultant: Air Quality and Climate Change (AQCC) for the Sub-Saharan division of Environmental Resource Management (ERM).   There is an evolving climate change mitigation regulatory environment in South Africa with government’s approach stemming from two key objectives:- to contribute its fair share to the global climate change mitigation; and - to remain competitive in an increasingly carbon constrained global economy.   The government is developing measures to transition to a lower carbon economy, including a carbon tax and the development and allocation of carbon budgets for industry.   Trading…
Ukraine will end electricity and coal imports in the next seven to eight months as the government continues to cut expenditure. The Ukrainian energy budget for this year doesn’t allow for energy imports, says the deputy minister of energy, Alexander Svetelik.   He added that coal imports and power exchange would be possible in the case of emergencies, such as the disruption of coal supplies from Donbas not controlled by Kiev or problems with operations of other Ukrainian mines. Some 28 million tons of coal will be needed for electric power generation in the current year. Kiev has to accumulate…
African seaborne gas exports will play a bigger role in meeting global LNG trade growth than the United States, whose supply will be capped by mass domestic switching from coal to gas-fired power generation, according to the West’s energy watchdog. Africa’s LNG exporters in Nigeria, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea are set for a new supply wave coming from major new discoveries off the coasts of Mozambique and Tanzania, home to some of the biggest discoveries in a decade. By contrast, the United States will fall behind as abundant gas supply muscles coal out of the domestic energy mix, creating huge demand…
Africa’s first 100-kilowatt (kW) platinum based fuel cell that runs on natural gas has been installed at the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg, which will provide base load power to the entire building. The cell could power the equivalent of about 100 average South African homes.   Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says South Africa, home to 80% of the world’s known platinum reserves, is at the forefront of developing fuel cell technology and could gain entry into the manufacturing and distribution of fuel cell components. They would be targeting 1 000MW of platinum fuel-cell generated electricity supply by…
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) recently invested R22 billion in two South African concentrating solar power stations, taking 20% stake in the Ilanga and Xina solar thermal electricity plants in the Northern Cape. These two solar plants are expected to produce 100MW each, using solar thermal electricity power.   Xina Solar One is a 100MW parabolic trough plant with a five-hour thermal energy storage system. The plant will use molten salts that enable the plant to meet evening peak demand, when there is no sun. Located close to Pofadder, next to KaXu Solar One, the plant will provide enough energy…
Oil companies importing oil face the prospect of paying spillage insurance, the amount depending on how much of the commodity they bring into the country, or having their permits revoked.   The South African Revenue Service (SARS) plans to collect an annual levy, which would be used to clean up oil spills, according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) chief executive officer, Tsietsi Mokhele. The money will be placed in a fund set up for such occurrences.   Although South Africa has never had a major crude-oil spill, it has had spillages of processed oil from ships, which are…
South Africa is set to more than double its renewable energy build programme, after the Department of Energy announced it would ask for permission to tender for 6 300MW more power.   Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson also released the list of 13 independent power producers that had been successful in the fourth bidding window of the country’s renewable build.   This would build 1 121MW of renewable energy, with half the allocation going to wind farms – each with over 120MW of capacity. These had bid to supply electricity at around 62c per kilowatt-hour. Eskom’s figures show that Medupi will…
South Africa’s distribution grid is a 20th-century relic and must be changed to serve the country’s modern electricity needs, says South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) Smart Grid programme manager, Dr Minnesh Bipath. “What we are looking for in the industry, is bold leadership to drive the change,” he states, citing the now defunct Electricity Distribution Industry Holdings (EDI) and Regional Electricity Distributors as examples of consecutive initiatives that have failed to produce the desired results over the past decade.   The EDI initiative, which was terminated in 2008, provided information about the maintenance and refurbishment backlog of the…
By Matthew le Cordeur Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have welcomed the announcement on Thursday by South Africa's Department of Energy that it would expanding opportunities for private sector to contribute to the production of power in the country. The Department of Energy approved 13 new renewable IPP bids, which means there will now be 79 IPP projects with 5 243MW being added to a national grid desperately in need of power. Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said at a briefing in Cape Town that she had requested a further expedited procurement process of 1 800MW from all technologies. Added to that,…
Last night the EIA once again capitulated on the myth that rig counts don't matter and the productivity of wells would largely offset, leaving the industry on a continuous path to higher output. The current consensus of 500,000 B/D additional growth in 2015 US production now appears very much at risk.   Look how far we have come, folks, from all that media hysteria this past year. Yesterday, Reuters even wrote an article stating that the EIA prediction of a sequential decline in oil production in May vs. April would be the first, if proven, true prediction. Meanwhile, fact checking…
The global solar revolution – Opinion editorial by Arthur Chien, VP of Talesun Energy, South Africa’s The sun is said to be the world's largest source of power by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear according to new "technology road map" reports published by the International Energy Association (IEA). The reports further predict that solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could generate up to 16% of the world's electricity. The population growth in the years to come will most likely result in a stronger demand for energy and as such, the country’s electricity grid will be under huge pressure.…
Cat dealer Barloworld Power is adopting a global, regional and local focus to serve southern Africa’s developing oil and gas sector, the company has told industry representatives at a recent customer seminar in Cape Town. This approach fits well with a significant ramp-up by Caterpillar in power systems R&D and products to serve the oil and gas sector in recent years. Today Barloworld Power offers the on-and offshore industry a full range of Cat engines running on diesel, crude oil, pipeline and field gas, as well as dynamic gas blending systems, together with transmissions, pumps and fluid ends, enclosures, parts…
Given the threat of both an energy and water crisis, President Jacob Zuma has encouraged the private sector to “go green”, with government now looking to increase the energy efficiency incentives on offer.   But how green do you have to go to be considered officially green, and how will this be measured and rated?   “Support for green initiatives was also stated in the budget speech, but I believe that businesses still find themselves in an uncertain position as to what it is they’re supposed to do,” says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa…
South Africa has grown its wind energy generating capacity by 560MW for 2014 (GWEC). With a physically and financially constrained grid, getting more wind power online remains a challenge for the foreseeable future. But when there is a will, there is a way, according to some experts on the ground. By Katherine Steiner-Dicks   Wind power is the most competitive way of adding new power generation capacity to the grid, according to Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) secretary general Steve Sawyer. In Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico and elsewhere, wind is competing directly and successfully with heavily subsidized incumbents, as…
Tidal Lagoon Power, the company behind the world’s first tidal energy scheme at Swansea Bay in South Wales, hopes to create 70 000 jobs in the construction phase alone, if it can roll the programme out to five other, larger schemes at a total cost of £30bn.   The company is looking at sites for a factory to assemble wave turbines in the wider Swansea area, while a tender for generators has already been awarded to General Electric in Rugby, Warwickshire. George Osborne announced a formal undertaking to open talks with Tidal Lagoon Power in his budget speech.   The…
The Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Investments Company (ROMPCO) has announced the successful completion of a project to expand the existing 865km of gas pipeline from the Central Processing Facility (CPF) at Temane in Mozambique to Secunda in South Africa.   The project involved the installation of a pipeline in parallel to the existing pipeline, from the CPF for 128km, where it connects back into the main pipeline.     Named Loop Line 1, the expansion project increases ROMPCO’s gas transmission capacity. Loop Line 1 was built to transport gas to customers at the energy hub of Ressano Garcia in Mozambique,…
Enough nuclear explosive to fuel half a dozen bombs, each powerful enough to obliterate central Washington or most of Lower Manhattan, is locked in a former silver vault at a nuclear research centre near Pretoria.   Technicians extracted the highly enriched uranium from nuclear weapons in 1990, then melted the fuel down and cast it into ingots. Over the years, some of the cache has been used to make medical isotopes, but roughly 220kg remains, and the United States (US) is worried that these nuclear explosives could be stolen and used by militants to commit the worst terror attack in…
Royal Dutch Shell is pulling back from its shale projects in South Africa due to lower energy prices and delays in obtaining an exploration licence for the onshore Karoo Basin.   A more than halving of crude oil prices since June has put high cost projects such as shale gas exploration in jeopardy around the globe, and Shell South Africa said waiting six years for a licence for the Karoo had not helped. Shell had applied for an exploration licence covering more than 95 000km2, almost a quarter of the Karoo.    A study commissioned by the company said extracting…
A land claim brought against South Africa’s largest sugar farmer threatens to stop a R1,1 billion ($90 million) renewable-energy project that will produce electricity by burning leftover cane leaves and tops.   Charl Senekal Suiker Trust, which has 5 000 hectares (12 355 acres) of irrigated cane land and is a grower for Tongaat Hulett Ltd., is part of a group that plans to build a 16,5MW biomass facility in KwaZulu-Natal, according to a presentation on the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s website.   The group has made a proposal to the government and if all the communities agree…
Air Liquide will invest about €200 million in the construction of the largest Air Separation Unit (ASU) ever built at Sasol’s synthetic fuels and chemicals complex in Secunda, South Africa.   Through this agreement, Air Liquide will build, own and operate a 5 000-ton-per-day air separation train to supply oxygen and nitrogen to Sasol’s proprietary synthetic fuels and chemicals manufacturing process. This is the 17th train to be built at Sasol’s Secunda complex.   Using the latest air separation technology and economies of scale, this train will be the most energy-efficient oxygen train on the Secunda site with a significantly…
Sunbird Energy, an Australian-listed firm, has agreed to supply gas to South Africa’s power company, Eskom, in line with the utility’s plan to use gas to run its turbines rather than costly diesel.   Sunbird said in a statement its Ibhubesi Gas Project (IGP) in South Africa would supply Eskom’s Ankerlig power station with 30 billion cubic feet of gas a year for up to 15 years. Ankerlig has an installed capacity of 1 350MW and has used diesel since it was constructed in 2007.   IGP, a joint venture between Sunbird, a South African-focused gas explorer, and South Africa’s…
The first power was produced out of Medupi’s Unit 6 on 2 March 2015, making it the first of the Medupi power station’s six units to be connected to the national power grid. According to Tshediso Matona, Eskom’s chief executive officer, this is the final stage marking an exciting milestone towards full commercial power. “Within the next three months, South Africa will see Medupi Unit 6’s full potential of 794MW being fed into the South African national grid,” he said. In anticipation of commercial operation, a power station manager has been appointed and the past six years has been spent training a…
An independent study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) found that renewable energy from South Africa’s first wind and solar (photovoltaic) projects created R0,8 billion more financial benefits to the country than they cost during 2014.   The benefits earned were two-fold. The first benefit, derived from diesel and coal-fuel cost savings, is pinned at R3,64 billion. This is because 2,2TWh (terawatt-hours) of wind and solar energy replaced the electricity that would have otherwise been generated from diesel and coal (1,05TWh from diesel-fired, open-cycled gas turbines and 1,12TWh from coal power stations).   The second benefit of…
Texas is famous the world over for two things on a massive scale: oil and droughts. Now the slick but dry state is becoming famous for water: that precious element that both resolves the drought problem and also makes it possible to pump more oil out of the ground.   Not only does Texas have the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford shale, but it also has the Gulf of Mexico and its massive oil deposits and endless gallons of seawater that are now economically treatable thanks to next generation water processing technology.   As NASA predicts a decades-long 'mega…
JDR, a leading provider of technology connecting the offshore energy industry, has expanded its footprint by establishing a new service and maintenance facility in Port Harcourt and Lagos, Nigeria in partnership with Royal Niger Emerging Technologies. In the agreement, which also establishes a long-term trade partnership, the Global Service division of JDR is providing local content to the West African oil and gas market with Nigeria as its first location for services in the region.      JDR specialises in the design and production of steel and thermoplastic subsea production umbilicals, subsea power cables and Intervention Workover Control Systems (IWOCS), as…
One doesn’t have to be a scientist to realise that there is something special about affiliating with nature and that being in contact with the natural world stimulates our senses and impacts our wellbeing.   Over the years, good architects have intuitively incorporated natural elements into urban designs in an attempt to create better spaces for people in the built environment, without cognitively putting a name to it. With urbanisation becoming ever more prevalent, these practices, categorised under the term “biophilic design”, are helping to satisfy our innate biological need for contact with the nature.   In a report written…
BASF’s Open Innovation Contest will award up to five winners who come up with the best ideas to store energy from renewable energy sources with €100 000 each. The winners may also have the chance to collaborate with BASF in a research project based on their ideas.   This competition is an important part of the co-creation programme, Creator SpaceTM, which BASF has initiated in its 150th anniversary year.   Worldwide more and more electricity is being produced from renewable energy sources. However, since electricity produced from sun and wind depends on weather, time and season, there are phases with…
In a bid to find a safer, cleaner and more sustainable fuel source to use in nuclear reactors as an alternative to Uranium, a South African company, Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL), has partnered up with Thor Energy in Norway to test, qualify and license a Thorium-Plutonium fuel. to research the feasibility of using a Thorium-Plutonium mix.   In using this mix, most of the Plutonium that is added to the Thorium, is destroyed in the process. Having achieved very favourable results this far, almost two years into the five year test period, the prospect of using a mix of Thorium…
KIC InnoEnergy announced today the 2014 results of its sustainable energy innovation project support programme, which recorded 28 newly enrolled high potential project consortia in the space of just one year, adding up to 65 new projects since 2013. The success of this investment programme, which aims to boost sustainable energy innovation in Europe, is largely based on KIC InnoEnergy’s game-changing approach to the innovation challenges faced by Europe’s research and business communities. The programme offers a business environment unique in its ability to effectively remove the usual barriers to innovation, such as smart and safe partnering, strong IP protection,…
Frost & Sullivan publishes its new Annual Global Power and Energy Outlook   The decline in the global oil prices – brent crude is down from US$100 a barrel in August 2014 to US$58 a barrel in February 2015 – is the current hot topic in the energy sector. Not only is this having an impact on factors like petrol prices and manufacturing costs, but it will also have implications for the power generation sector – coal, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, bioenergy, grid modernisation, energy storage and microgrids. Conventional generation will continue to dominate global installed capacity, although compared…
A project in the province of the Northern Cape has addressed the critical needs of the population growth in the area, whilst ensuring that the surrounding environment is not compromised. The Homevale waste water treatment works (WWTW), have undergone a significant upgrade. The capacity of the works, have been increased by fifty per cent, which will ensure that whilst today’s needs are met, waste water from future developments taking place in the area will also be accommodated for. The site of the Homevale WWTW is located within the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality (LM) and is significant, in that the plant…
The current low business confidence levels experienced in South Africa can be attributed to the challenges that the country faces with electricity supply. This is according to Arthur Chien, VP of Talesun Energy, who says that the answer to a sustainable energy future for businesses in South Africa is a synergy of renewables, including solar energy, and energy efficiency, both of which must be advanced aggressively in the country in order to meet the energy demand.   He points to the recently released statistics by SACCI which reveals that business confidence levels for this time of the year are the…
Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s first budget was announced on the 25th February in the context of South Africa’s electricity supply demand mismatch, a mismatch that is severely curtailing growth and damaging international investor confidence. As a consequence, behind the focus on personal tax rates, sin taxes and a constrained fiscal environment, Minister Nene’s first budget speech contains measures that will drive action on energy management for South African companies.   To begin with, the budget indicates a number of significant price drivers for electricity over the next few years. These drivers of higher electricity prices include: •    The increase in the…
BP’s annual energy outlook predicted that the world economy would double in size in the next 20 years, resulting in the demand for energy rising by almost 40%. The company said two thirds of this demand would be met from fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – and that this would lead to a 25% increase in carbon emissions.   BP said slower growth in China and India coupled with greater energy efficiency would mean that the demand would rise by 1,5% a year over the next two decades, rather than the 2,5% a year recorded during the past…
Rwanda’s energy production got a boost with the inauguration of an 8,5MW solar field valued at $23,7 million in Rwamagana, 60km from the capital city, Kigali. The new field is East Africa’s first utility-scale solar energy project and the largest on the continent, outside of South Africa.   The project is made up of 28 360 photovoltaic panels on a 20-hectare plot of land, and supplies 6% of Rwanda’s power needs. It will do so by harnessing the sunlight for 25 years, according to the power purchase agreement.   Rwanda has suffered from an acute electricity supply shortage, leading to…
The National Energy Regulator (Nersa) confirmed the resignation of its chief executive officer (CEO), Phindile Baleni (née Nzimande), who leaves the organisation to pursue other interests.   Baleni has resigned from her position as CEO after four years of dedicated professional leadership at Nersa and is serving her notice period in February 2015.   The minister and the Department of Energy will soon embark on the process of recruiting a new CEO. While the search for a replacement CEO is ongoing, the minister of energy will appoint an interim chief executive officer.   Source: Nersa Link: http://www.nersa.org.za/
Sasol announced that it is formulating a comprehensive plan to conserve cash in response to lower international oil prices. While the detailed actions underpinning its response plan are being refined, certain decisive measures have already been agreed to and are being implemented.   These include identifying opportunities for additional cash savings, targeted over the next 30 months. The focus areas are capital portfolio phasing and reductions, capital restructuring, working capital improvements, margin enhancement and further fixed cost reductions. Cash flow improvements actioned in terms of the response plan will be over and above the current target of at least R4…
The Presidency has announced targets and funding for municipalities which would benefit from the electrification programme announced by President Jacob Zuma during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week.   During the SONA, President Zuma mentioned that there are still an additional 3,4 million households awaiting electricity. He mentioned that the Amathole District Municipality, , Alfred Nzo District Municipality, Lukhanji Municipality and OR Tambo District Municipality from the Eastern Cape and the Umzinyathi District Municipality from kwaZulu Natal would benefit from the programme during the 2015/16 financial year.   Source: South African Government News Agency Link: http://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/electrification-programme-explained
A World Bank report released at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town has called on mining companies to work more closely with electricity utilities in sub-Saharan Africa to meet their growing energy demands.   The report finds that the mining sector’s demand for power in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to triple between 2000 and 2020 to more than 23 000 MW. This could overtake the non-mining demand for power in some countries.   Many mining companies were still opting to supply their own electricity with diesel generators rather than buying power from the grid. According to the report, another 10GW…
The Department of Energy (DoE) is working to secure 16 000MW of new power supply for South Africa in the medium term. Plans include accelerating private sector bids for co-generation, gas and coal-fired power, obtaining hydroelectric power from the Grand Inga Dam in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and signing up renewable energy projects, acting director-general of energy, Wolsey Barnard, said at the African Energy Indaba.   He said 32 of the 66 renewable energy contracts awarded were delivering more than 1 500MW of power to the grid. Of about 43 000MW of installed capacity, South Africa has only…
By Frost & Sullivan’s Chemicals Materials and Food Research Analyst Abdul-Baasit Abdullah   Introduction Water is one of the most abundant resources available, covering more than 70% of the earth’s surface. However, 97.5% of that is salt water. The remaining 2.5% is fresh water, of which 68.7% is frozen in ice caps and glaciers. Only 1% of all the water on the planet is available for human use, writes Abdul-Baasit Abdullah at consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan. Water problems are two-fold:  the lack of access to clean water and the lack of sufficient water. The water and wastewater treatment (WWT)…
South Africa’s government is forging ahead with plans to spend as much as one trillion rand ($85 billion) on new nuclear plants, ignoring objections from environmental activists, opposition parties, unions and even its own advisers. Bids will be sought from the United States, China, France, Russia and South Korea to add 9 600 megawatts of atomic power to the national grid to address energy shortages in Africa’s second-largest economy, President Jacob Zuma said in his annual State of the Nation Address. The first output is targeted for 2023, he said.   Detractors of the nuclear plan argue that the plants…
PAUL OLIVIERPaul Olivier has been elected to take over as Managing Director of Jeffares & Green Engineering & Environmental Consulting,   as from 1 March 2015.  He has been with the firm for 30 years.   Paul qualified at the University of Witwatersrand in 1982 with a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, obtained a Diploma in Business Management in 1987 followed by a Master’s degree (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria in 1990.   In 1993 Paul was instrumental in forming Dynatest Africa, a specialist pavement engineering and equipment company jointly owned by Jeffares & Green and Dynatest International.  He has…
Energy leaders see energy price volatility and the future of a climate framework as their top critical uncertainties, according to the latest research by the World Energy Council.   The 7th annual edition of the World Energy Issues Monitor, entitled “Energy price volatility: the new normal”, is a barometer of the top issues set to shape the energy sector for the year ahead. The report has gathered the views of more than 1,000 energy leaders, including ministers and chief executives from nearly 80 countries.   In Africa, market-distorting energy subsidies and difficult access to capital markets are also key issues.…
The Department of Energy has prioritised maintenance on existing power infrastructure, and are planning to add another 16000MW of new generation energy to the mix.   Acting Director General for the Department of Energy, Dr Wolsey Barnard was standing in for Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson at the African Energy Indaba on Tuesday, 17 February 2015. During his keynote speech he referred to Government’s5-point plan to deal with the current energy challenge and highlighted the importance of addressing emergency measures and expediting other resources.   He said that it would take time, about 20-30 months, to attend to Eskom’s maintenance backlog and…
It may be difficult to look beyond the current pricing environment for oil, but the depletion of low-cost reserves and the increasing inability to find major new discoveries ensures a future of expensive oil.   While analyzing the short-term trajectory of oil prices is certainly important, it obscures the fact that over the long-term, oil exploration companies may struggle to bring new sources of supply online. Ed Crooks over at the FT persuasively summarizes the predicament. Crooks says that 2014 is shaping up to be the worst year in the last six decades in terms of new oil discoveries (based…
Eskom’s recent announcement that a total power grid collapse is a “very significant possibility for the foreseeable future”, calls for the rapid development of alternative energy sources, particularly renewable energy. According to Arthur Chien, VP of Talesun Energy, a leading supplier of energy solutions, innovation is critical in the energy industry to ensure the economic growth and longevity in the country.   He says that the energy outlook for South Africa can be transformed dramatically by investing in renewables, such as PV solar power, and meet the energy demands that are currently not being fulfilled.   “Innovation in the renewable…
Frost & Sullivan publishes its new Annual Global Power and Energy Outlook    CAPE TOWN, South Africa – 18 February, 2015 – The decline in the global oil prices – brent crude is down from US$100 a barrel in August 2014 to US$58 a barrel in February 2015 – is the current hot topic in the energy sector. Not only is this having an impact on factors like petrol prices and manufacturing costs, but it will also have implications for the power generation sector – coal, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, bioenergy, grid modernisation, energy storage and microgrids. Conventional generation…
By: Nicole Cassandra Naidoo Nuclear is one of the most reliable sources of energy for South Africa at the moment, says deputy energy minister, Thembisile Majola. Majola says that once Medupi comes online, this doesn't mean that the challenges are over. PHOTO: infrastructurene.ws “We have been using nuclear energy for over 30 years in this country. It’s our most reliable energy source right now, it’s our cheapest and it’s a source of energy that, I think, we’ve developed a lot of expertise around,” she said.   “Around the nuclear debate, we lose sight on some of the key things. South…
Actis, the global pan-emerging market private equity firm, today announced the launch of a pan-African renewable energy generation platform, Lekela Power.  Actis is investing alongside Mainstream Renewable Power, the global wind and solar developer, which will own the other 40% of the platform.   Lekela Power is the eighth such energy platform Actis has created, following a proven replicable strategy of aggregating energy assets into scalable regional platforms.  This focused approach was most recently demonstrated in the development of Ostro Energy, a renewable energy platform which Actis launched in India last week. Actis’s other energy platforms include Globeleq Mesoamerica in…
Africa’s first grid-connected biogas plant will begin supplying power by March 1, according to Johnnie McMillan, managing director of Tropical Power Kenya Ltd.   The $6.5 million Gorge Farm Energy Park anaerobic digester in Kenya will consume an annual 50,000 tons of organic waste sourced from a neighboring 800-hectare (1,977-acre) farm owned by VegPro Group, one of Tropical’s investment partners. “We expect to achieve a 5 1/2-year payback and that’s made possible by the aggregate tariff of what we sell to the grid, the locals around here and VegPro, which is East Africa’s biggest exporter of fresh vegetables to the…
The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) is conducting demonstrations of cool paint on low-income houses to improve thermal comfort for residents as well as building energy-efficiency. The Cool Surfaces Project is the South African involvement in the United States Department of Energy’s Global Superior Energy Programme (GSEP) Cool Roofs and Pavements Working Group.   According to Denise Lundall, project officer for energy-efficiency at SANEDI, the Cool Surfaces programme is currently focused on bringing thermal comfort in the informal and formal structures of low-income communities, including those that are off-grid, while simultaneously collecting data about the performance of these…
An ultra-high strength, high-performance offshore grout, MasterFlow 9500 from Master Builders Solutions by BASF, is the first product of its kind to receive a DNV GL (Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd) certificate for offshore concrete structures. This type approval certificate issued by the international test and certification body, which specialises in oil, gas and maritime services as well as in energy and sustainability, officially confirms the quality of the offshore performance grout. “Being the first to receive this certificate feels like having received an award,” says Luc Westhof, global key account manager for wind turbine grouts at BASF. “The certificate…
Looking at the world’s present energy infrastructure, the largest source of energy is burning coal, oil and gas, followed by nuclear power generation using Uranium. While there is currently great concern about CO2 emissions and a focus on cleaner technologies globally, there is also concern about the long term availability of these energy sources. Coal reserves are not inexhaustible and with many predicting that coal could run out sometime in the next 100 years, the quest to find alternative energy sources is becoming increasingly crucial.   Thorium could be a good solution, according to Trevor Blench, chairman of Steenkampskraal Thorium…
Comment by: Johan Muller, Programme Manager for Energy & Environment at Frost & Sullivan “When you manage to look past the theatrics of last nights' SONA 2015, and focus on energy, investment direction, and confidence being given to internal and external stakeholders, then it becomes evident that SONA 2015 was a lacklustre event. The event, however, was also closely followed by local and global investors and parties interested in investing in South Africa.   Here are some of the key messages one can take away from President Zuma's address: Given the fact that South Africa is currently in an energy…
FOLLOWING significant growth in its renewable energy business, AfriCoast Engineers SA has developed a sister company to expand its vision. The leading engineering firm today (SUBS: 10 Feb 2015) announced that new company, AfriCoast Energy, will now be responsible for all future renewable energy projects – particularly wind and solar – while it will also play a key role in guiding AfriCoast Engineers’ current basket of renewable energy projects. John McGillivray, former project director at AfriCoast Engineers SA, has been appointed chief operating officer at AfriCoast Energy. “AfriCoast Engineers SA’s growing footprint in the renewable energy sector over the past…
The oil markets are showing some life, having rallied 11 percent over a two-day period. But if a bigger rebound is not around the corner, it won’t just be oil companies that will be feeling the pain: their lenders will also face some steep losses if drillers can’t come up with the cash to cover debt payments.   Drilling for oil is an expensive process. Until the oil begins to flow, companies have to shell out cash without seeing much in return. Without revenues from other wells already in production, oil companies have to take on debt to finance operations.…
Oil companies have eyed the Arctic for years. With an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil lying north of the Arctic Circle, the circumpolar north is arguably the last corner of the globe that is still almost entirely unexplored.   As drilling technology advances, conventional oil reserves become harder to find, and climate change contributes to melting sea ice, the Arctic has moved up on the list of priorities in oil company board rooms.   That had companies moving north – Royal Dutch Shell off the coast of Alaska, Statoil in the Norwegian Arctic, and ExxonMobil in conjunction with Russia's…
In last week's article I posted a chart from the International Energy Agency'srecent Oil Market Report that shows global demand for refined products catching up to supply by the 3rd quarter of this year. My opinion is that all of the analysts who are now blaming the sharp drop in oil prices on a “glut” of supply could change their tune quickly as consumers adjust to lower fuel costs. Just as higher costs reduce demand for any commodity, lower costs will increase demand. This is especially true for a commodity that has a direct impact on standard of living, like…
The Clearwater Mall in the South African Strubens Valley powers itself using solar energy from its own rooftop PV plant.A typical shopping- and leisure-centre in the densely-populated Province of Gauteng has switched over to solar power. The tried-and-tested Powador 60.0 TL3 solar PV inverters by KACO new energy supply the electricity. In Strubens Valley, on the western outskirts of Johannesburg, one attaches great value to comfort. That includes the Clearwater Mall with over 250 shops, restaurants, cinemas and sports studios… in short: a shopping- and excursion-centre for the whole family. Naturally, it is all air-conditioned. It becomes immediately obvious that…
While Thorium has been dubbed by some as the new generation wonder fuel for nuclear reactors, others have shot it down due to several failed, or stagnant research attempts to develop it as an energy source and the complexities that comes with it.   Trevor Blench, chairman of Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL) explains: “Thorium cannot be used as a fuel in its natural state as it isn’t fissile. In order to make a nuclear reactor function, a fissile material is needed to release energy through fission.   The Thorium challenge“Thorium is like a sleeping dog and you have to wake…
By: Mark Mobius PH.D. Executive Chairman Templeton Emerging Markets Group in Singapore Emerging and frontier markets are a focal point of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which takes place during the week of January 19. One of the sessions, “Achieving Africa’s Growth Agenda,” is of particular interest to me. Our team still believes Africa overall has good long-term potential despite some near-term obstacles, one being the recent drop in oil prices, which could negatively impact countries that are highly dependent on oil revenues. We believe infrastructure investment will be a key driver of economic development in Africa…
In a documentary that aired recently on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's popular The Fifth Estate program, an allegory of Vladimir Putin was presented. The wily Russian president was described growing up in a shabby St. Petersburg apartment, where he would often corner rats.   Now, punished by low oil prices and Western sanctions against Russian incursions in Ukraine/ Crimea, Putin is himself the cornered rat. Many wonder, and fear, what he will do if conditions in Russia become increasingly desperate. In the last six months oil prices have plunged over 50 percent and the Russian economy is hurting. The country…
Are you prepared for rolling power outages?   The growing constraints on South Africa’s power grid makes load shedding an unwelcome reality that many households and businesses will have to contend with during 2015. While this has many implications, one of the most concerning is the fact that power outages compromise safety and security. In an extended outage, the battery back-up on security equipment such as automated gates and fences, alarm systems, security cameras and outdoor motion passives may well run out before power is restored. The fact that automated gates are not operational presents a further complication during load…
There has been a rapid increase in Turkey’s energy consumption, and the country needs to invest about $120 billion in energy projects by 2023, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.   “Turkey has grown tremendously during the last 12 years. This has doubled our energy consumption. We’ll be doubling our energy consumption by 2023. We need to increase our energy consumption rapidly,” Erdoğan said at the Energy Markets Summit, organised by the Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA), according to Reuters.   He noted that the Kirkuk-Yumurtalık oil pipeline has again become active, while ground has again been broken for…
Access Power MEA, a power project developer for the Middle East and Africa, and EREN, a leader in renewable energy, announced the launch of Access Infra Africa, dedicated to investing in the early stage development of power projects in Africa. The partners intend to implement an ambitious development plan leading to the realisation of a portfolio of power assets in Africa worth over $500 million.   The deal comes at a time of renewed interest in African renewable energy projects, with the United States-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) Initiative, a fund designed to support early-stage projects in sub-Saharan Africa, recently…
The two plants – Kathu Solar Park and Redstone Solar Thermal Power – will develop 100MW of power each and were the preferred bidders in the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), stated officials from the Department of Energy.   Kathu Solar Park will be backed by a consortium led by GDF Suez and comprising the Sishen Iron Ore Company Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier and Public Investment Corporation. The plant will incorporate parabolic trough technology and will be equipped with a molten-salt storage system that will allow four-and-a-half hours of thermal…
The Cape Flats Nature Reserve building at the University of the Western Cape is a major milestone in South Africa’s struggle to ease its dependence on fossil fuels. It runs on hydrogen, an infinitely renewable fuel that, when used to generate power, produces no emissions apart from water and heat.   The building’s electricity is supplied by a prototype hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) power generator that was launched in November by the university’s Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Systems Centre of Competence. Developed in collaboration with the local heating technology company Hot Platinum, the generator is a testament to South Africa’s…
An independent study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) found that renewable energy from the country’s first wind and solar (photovoltaic) projects created R800 million more financial benefits for the country than they cost during 2014. According to the chief engineer at the Integrated Energy Research Centre at the CSIR, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, the study was based on actual hourly production data for the different supply categories of the power system.   “The benefits earned were two-fold. The first benefit, derived from diesel and coal fuel cost savings, is pinned at R3,7 billion. This is because 2,2…
The South African minister of mineral resources, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, said he would prefer that the country’s laws on oil and gas exploration should be split from mining legislation.   “The key thing is to try to separate the oil and gas from your traditional mining, in other words, have a separate bill for that,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “If I could achieve this, I would be very happy. We must check the legal position to see if this can be done.”   President Jacob Zuma declined to sign…
South Africa’s investment in coal-related research and development (R&D) was inadequate, given the fact that coal would continue to dominate the country’s energy supply for the foreseeable future, a recent study by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) showed.   In its study, titled “The state of energy research in South Africa”, which was aimed at improving the understanding of the energy research landscape in South Africa to support the South African National Energy Development Institute to fulfil its functions in terms of energy research support and coordination, ASSAf noted that clean coal technologies were not sufficiently funded…
As South African utility Eskom anticipates months of load-shedding, Eskom’s chief executive officer, Tshediso Matona, has identified the Koeberg nuclear power plant as one plant where maintenance has not been neglected. He has singled out this plant, alongside the Matimba coal plant, to act as a blueprint for the development of best practice and operator capabilities vital to strengthen the country’s vulnerable electricity supply system.   “We have arrived at a point that does not allow us to ignore the health of our plants. Our reserve margin is so thin that every incident creates a major systems issue and could…
Power expert and director of the South African National Energy Association (SANEA), Brian Day, says powerships are an appropriate solution for South Africa’s current power crisis. Turkish Karadeniz Energy Group is one of several companies globally that rent powerships to countries experiencing temporary power constraints.   According to the company’s website, Karadeniz powerships “are high technology floating power plants designed and constructed to fulfil the urgent electricity needs of the countries through rental contracts of power purchase agreements (PPAs)”. The capacity of individual ships range from 45MW to 500MW. They operate on either liquid fuel or natural gas, or a…
Sika has bundled and consolidated its sustainability activities: The guiding principle “More value, less impact” sums up the new strategy. The company now measures itself against six defined targets and is one of the first companies in Switzerland to report its performance in accordance with the latest guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI G4). The recently published sustainability brochure outlining the “More value, less impact” campaign provides a comprehensive overview of Sika´s sustainability commitment in the next 5 years.  (View on www.sika.co.za). Sustainability is a driver of innovation and hence of the business success enjoyed by Sika. The new medium-term…
The ACWA Power Solafrica’s New Bokpoort Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Plant is not only being built to harness solar power to supply into Eskom’s grid to assist in alleviating the country’s power crisis, but will also satisfy one of the National Development Plan’s most crucial agendas and that is job creation in an area that sorely needs it.   Royal HaskoningDHV was appointed in 2010 to carry out the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the R5billion ACWA Power Solafrica Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power Plant situated at Bokpoort, which is 25kms north of Groblershoop in the Northern Cape.  In addition to…
14,000 gigawatt hours of energy generated per year is sufficient to power Kingdom of Bahrain   TEMPE, Ariz./ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – January 19, 2015 – First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced that it has achieved 10 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity installed globally, making it the first thin film PV module manufacturer in the world to achieve this milestone. The announcement was made at the start of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, where First Solar is showcasing a comprehensive range of solar energy solutions.   Founded in 1999, First Solar made its…
World Energy Council report highlights the critical global and regional energy issues Berlin, 20 January 2015 – Energy leaders see energy price volatility and the future of a climate framework as their top critical uncertainties, according to the latest research by the World Energy Council. The 7th annual edition of the World Energy Issues Monitor, entitled “Energy price volatility: the new normal”, is a barometer of the top issues set to shape the energy sector for the year ahead. This year the report has gathered the views of more than 1,000 energy leaders, including ministers and chief executives from nearly…
U.S. oil and gas rig counts dropped to their lowest level in over four years, falling by an additional 74 units for the week ending on January 16. The lower count provides fresh evidence that low oil prices are forcing drillers to pare back operations and slash spending.   While that may soon begin to cut into actual production figures, a new Wood Mackenzie report finds a lot of nuance in the oil patch, painting a complex picture of what to expect in 2015. The report identifies several trends beyond the simple narrative that low prices will force a cutback…
Globally, the total amount of spend on renewable energy investments was estimated at $214.4 billion by the end of 2013, with 19% of global energy consumption being renewable energy, as stated in the Renewables 2014 Global Status Report. According to Arthur Chien, VP of Talesun Energy, South Africa has actively contributed to this percentage, placing 17th out of 40 countries as the most attractive destination for foreign investment in renewable energy (Renewable Country Attractiveness Index).   “So far foreign investment has helped the country to achieve top status as renewable energy investors among countries like China, the US, Germany and…
The management committee of the South African Independent Power Producers Association (SAIPPA) is pleased to announce the election of Mr Sisa Njikelana as its new chairperson. Sisa Njikelana served as a member of parliament for 10 years until May 2014. He also served as Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Energy. Furthermore 5 of the 10 years were spent in the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry.  SAIPPA represents the interests of a number of independent power producers in South Africa and is an active player in contributing to both civil and government debates and policy formation processes at this complex time…
This New Year, an old trend may become a new trend as conventional drilling in North America is once again in the spotlight at a time when oil prices continue their slump and the unconventional becomes increasingly uneconomical.   Advanced horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking for extraction is much more expensive than conventional drilling. While these high-cost methods are the technology that ushered in the North American shale boom, in times of oil price troubles, plenty are moving back to the basics. Unexplored conventional plays are set for a mini-boom of their own.   The surge in high-tech exploration and…
Could Thorium help address the world’s many energy production woes? More and more countries are starting to show interest in this unique element and much research has been done in past years to find ways to make it work.   Trevor Blench, chairman of Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL) believes that Thorium may be the only substance on earth that could provide the human race with power, almost indefinitely. “There is lots of it all over the world and the energy that a Thorium atom produces is a million times more than you get from burning an atom of coal,” he…
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 as a result 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…
The collapse of the oil price has created losers and winners, and like every major movement in a commodity sector, the trick for investors is figuring out which side of the trade to be on. The most obvious victim of the slide in Brent and WTI prices over the last 6 months has been the major oil producers. Holders of these equities have seen price slides up to 33 percent. The question for oil company investors now is how to determine which of these companies are prepared to weather a sustained period of oil prices around $50 a barrel, or…
Comment provided by: Johan Muller, Programme Manager for Energy & Environment at growth consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan   “Eskom is unable to meet the current energy demand needs of South Africa. Reserve margins are at an all-time low, with loadshedding becoming more prevalent. These IPP deals are a way for the Department of Energy to diversify the energy mix, and for Eskom to supplement its own generation capacity by signing off-taker agreements. It is a step in the right direction, albeit not a very big step given the size of the projects. In total they are still less than…
South Africa is poised to add yet more concentrating solar power (CSP) capacity, with two additional preferred projects named by the Department of Energy (DoE) and two others reaching financial close in December.   The development brings to seven the number of active CSP projects being pursued by independent power producers in the country's sun-drenched Northern Cape province. In addition, Eskom is pursuing its own CSP project near Upington in the same province.   The 100 MW Kathu Solar Park and the 100 MW Redstone Solar Thermal Power project were named as the latest preferred bidders, while the DoE and…
World's leading molten salt energy storage technology to deliver lowest price electricity from Concentrating Solar Power in South Africa.   The South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) awarded preferred bidder status for a 100 megawatt (MW) Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) project to a consortium led by SolarReserve, a leading global developer of utility-scale solar power projects and advanced solar thermal technology, and International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power), the Saudi water and power developer, owner and operator. The project was developed in response to the DOE's Round 3 (CSP) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).…
Photovoltaic (PV) is the fastest growing power generation technology in the world, according to the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA). Between 2006 and 2009 the installed capacity globally grew on average by 60% per annum. Today more than 35GW of PVs are installed and operating worldwide, producing more than 30 terawatt hours of clean energy per year.   In a statement issued by global electro-technical company, DEHN, it is pointed out that since self-generated electricity is generally cheaper and provides a high degree of electrical independence from the grid, PV systems will become an integral part of electrical installations…
Namibia became the first developing country to submit a report on mitigation measures and their effects, according to a statement released during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 20th Conference held in Lima in December 2014.   The report, referred to as a biennial update report (BUR) provides a summary of Namibia’s actions to implement actions taken to mitigate climate change, as well as their effects. It also includes information on greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the report spells out financial, technological and capacity-building needs and support received.   Biennial update reports are an integral step towards the implementation of…
Governments from all over the world came together in Lima for the UN Climate Change Conference in December last year, to lay the foundation for a new universal climate change agreement in Paris in December 2015.   According to Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the UNFCCC, the goal is to bring more than 190 countries together to move in a single direction to spare this world from dangerous climate change and achieve the opportunistic green, low-carbon economy that is desired.   For the first time industrialised companies went on stage and were questioned by other countries about their ambitions in terms…
“The rising cost of energy paired with the unreliability of the national electricity supplier has become a growing concern for SA businesses that are heavily dependent on electricity supply. In the light of this many business owners are starting to consider renewable sources of energy such as Photovoltaic (PV) solutions – better known as solar power –as a sustainable energy source, which is now accessible without risking upfront capital.”   This is according to Manie de Waal, Head of Sales at Energy Partners, a leading energy solutions provider in South Africa, who says that a company can collaborate with a…
In the aftermath of another wave of load-shedding, constant reports about Eskom’s state of affairs and the significant increases in the costs of electricity over the past few years, there’s certainly a lot being said about electricity.   Everyone seems to be blaming everyone else – ESKOM, the Government, previous Governments, suppliers, contractors and so on.  The constant in the blame-game is the ‘supply side’ of the electricity crisis – power stations being late, coal silos, maintenance, diesel outages, and so forth – leaving us all literally and figuratively powerless.     The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA)…
By Neil Cameron, GM, Johnson Controls Building Efficiency   South Africa remains locked into an energy crisis – there is not enough power to run the country and there are delays in building new power stations. This is going to impact business and manufacturing, and is likely to lead to investment losses. Businesses response – investing in generators – is short-sighted; implementing a building management system (BMS) is a better long term solution, especially as the benefits of Big Data and smart grids start to emerge.   Buildings account for 40% of the world’s energy use. Employees working in these…
As we ring in the New Year, let's take stock of where we are at with the oil markets. 2014 proved to be a momentous one for the oil markets, having seen prices cut in half in just six months.   The big question is what oil prices will do in 2015. Oil prices are unsustainably low right now – many high-cost oil producers and oil-producing regions are currently operating in the red. That may work in the short-term, but over the medium and long-term, companies will be forced out of the market, precipitating a price rise. The big question…
Low oil prices today may be setting the world up for an oil shortage as early as 2016. Today we have just 2% more crude oil supply than demand and the price of gasoline is under $2.00/gallon in Texas. If oil supply falls too far, we could see gasoline prices doubling within 18 months. For a commodity as critical to our standard of living as oil is, it only takes a small shortage to drive up the price.   On Thanksgiving Day, 2014 Saudi Arabia decided to maintain their crude oil output of approximately 9.5 million barrels per day. They've…
The oil and gas boom in the United States was made possible by the extensive credit afforded to drillers. Not only has financing come from company shareholders and traditional banks, but hundreds of billions of dollars have also come from junk-bond investors looking for high returns.   Junk-bond debt in energy has reached $210 billion, which is about 16 percent of the $1.3 trillion junk-bond market. That is a dramatic rise from just 4 percent that energy debt represented 10 years ago.   As is the nature of the junk-bond market, lots of money flowed to companies with much riskier…
Swift collective action by members of the South African Plastics Industry and local environmental officials prevented what could easily have been an environmental disaster last week, after gale-force winds blew 23 containers off a cargo vessel, the Seroya Lima, as it was anchored off Port Elizabeth’s Bluewater Bay.   The containers were dislodged and fell into the sea. Fortunately none of the containers contained any toxic or dangerous materials, but the polystyrene packaging that surrounded and protected several thousand bottles of ink cartridges for printers, were washed up along at beaches from Cannon Rocks to the mouth of the Sundays…
The Radisson Blu Sandton in Johannesburg, Gauteng is the latest hotel in the Rezidor Hotel Group to achieve the Green Leaf™ Eco Standard. This newly built hotel includes the latest efficient technologies implemented to reduce the environmental impacts of the hotel and is complimented by the staff who have taken responsibility for the holistic energy management of the building.   Green Leaf™ Eco Standard is a global standard for measuring, managing and verifying sustainable business performance in an impartial manner. The Standard is designed to meet and exceed compliance with South African and international Codes of Good Practice and integrated…
For the past 25 years, the Eskom eta Awards have been recognising and rewarding excellence in energy efficiency. This year the standard of entries shows that energy efficiency and the green movement are no longer just the preserve of tree huggers,  it has entered the mainstream and most importantly it makes business sense.   The awards encourage entries across a variety of spectrums, including the commercial, industrial, residential, innovation and youth sectors.   “This year I have been blown away by the quality of the entries. We’re no longer just seeing people experimenting with unusual ideas, we’re seeing businesses, homeowners…
The South African Wind and Energy Association (SAWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) recently hosted the fourth annual Windaba. At this year’s event, themed “Power2the people: Improving lives through Wind Energy, ArcelorMittal South Africa was acknowledged as the best contributor to local content in the wind energy sector.   Jan Kotze, Product Manager, Plate and Renewable Energy Projects at ArcelorMittal South Africa says: “The ArcelorMittal South Africa team is proud of this accolade as it clearly demonstrates our commitment to the growing wind energy industry, as does our effort to upgrade the Plate Mill to increase supply of…
Climate change, specifically the warming of the climate system, is unequivocal, whether we like it or not. In the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), many of the observed changes since the 1950s were found to be unprecedented over decades to millennia.   The final part of the IPCC’s AR5, the Synthesis Report was released in November. This report is based on the reports of the three Working Groups of the IPCC, including two Special Reports. It provides an integrated view of climate change as the final…
Despite emphasising that all energy sources had costs and benefits, and noting that “no energy source was better than the other”, Econometrix managing director and senior economist, Rob Jeffrey, told delegates at the Southern African Energy-Efficiency Convention in Johannesburg that if carbon costs were excluded, wind, nuclear and solar energy generation sources were considerably more expensive than coal-fired energy sources.   He added that fundamental weaknesses of renewable energy sources currently prevented these projects from being able to provide affordable, reliable power to the national grid. Moreover, a major growth in renewables would drive up energy prices, which, in turn,…
Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) again scooped the highest accolade at the WasteCon Top Green Organisation Gala Event, which took place in East London recently. VWSA enhanced its environment sustainability credentials when it won the Large Organisation Category with High Impact in the Environmental and the Clean Production fields. This is the second time that VWSA has won this category. The biennial Top Green Organisation Awards is hosted by the Eastern Cape's Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) and Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa's (IWMSA).The competition is aimed at recognising and showcasing the achievements of…
Solar and energy storage will increasingly be integrated together at commercial sites, homes and microgrids. But to be honest, they are an odd couple with very different personalities.   Solar is passive: solar modules are typically planted in a fixed position to generate power for 20 or 30 years. You have to hose them off occasionally, but active maintenance and management reimains fairly minimal. Except for the occasional inverter glitch, lifetime energy output is also somewhat predictable.   Storage systems, by contrast, are active, continually discharging and/or charging to arbitrage pricing or balance loads. Maintenance and upgrades are part of…
Stability of fuel supply is set to improve dramatically following the successful completion of the Engen Petroleum Depot Terminal Upgrade Project, located in the CFM Port in Beira, Mozambique, in November 2014. The upgrade project involved the implementation and connection of a pipeline from the Engen depot to the Companhia Do Pipeline Mozambique - Zimbabwe Limitada (CPMZ) Pump Station inside the port. Leading fluid conveyance products and solutions expert Incledon supplied a wide range of world-class products to the project, which is now operational after a two year construction period. The company was sub-contracted to provide valves and above-ground mechanical…
When it takes up to four million pounds of sand to frack a single well, it’s no wonder that demand is outpacing supply and frack sand producers are becoming the biggest behind-the-scenes beneficiaries of the American oil and gas boom. Demand is exploding for “frac sand”--a durable, high-purity quartz sand used to help produce petroleum fluids and prop up man-made fractures in shale rock formations through which oil and gas flows—turning this segment into the top driver of value in the shale revolution.   “One of the major players in Eagle Ford is saying they’re short 6 million tons of…
Johannesburg, 25 November 2014: South Africa takes the 83rd spot globally among 129 countries and receives a score of 96 in this year’s annual Energy Trilemma Index published by the World Energy Council (WEC). This marks a decline of 4 places, from position 79, since last year. Every year the WEC’s Energy Trilemma Index measures the performance of country energy and climate policies in balancing the triple challenge of the energy trilemma. It assigns a score to each dimension of the trilemma – energy security, energy equity (affordability and access), and environmental sustainability – and pinpoints areas for improvement. The…
Local orders, production, jobs and investment returns under pressureManufacturing companies serving the ZAR 120 billion South African renewable energy industry today called on Government to urgently finalise the financial close of the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Financial close has been delayed and fears are arising escalating that the viability of manufacturing facilities and the accompanying jobs and companies may be threatened if finality does not come before year end. Uncertainty about the timing of announcing the preferred bidders for Round 3.5 (for concentrated solar power only) and Round 4 has also added…
By Neil Cameron, GM, Johnson Controls Building Efficiency As the global urbanisation trend picks up, smart cities are emerging. With efficiency as a key driver, these cities make use of Information Technology (IT) to intelligently and dynamically harness the natural, infrastructure and technology resources needed to operate optimally and sustainably. In South Africa, smart cities are likely to be a reality within three to five years – to build them and to leverage the benefits they offer, we need smart buildings.   The concept of smart buildings is not new, but awareness and adoption of the technologies and approaches needed…
In the last five years, the cost of energy has become a growing concern for SA business and is especially troublesome for companies that are heavily dependent on Eskom’s electricity supply. However, while business leaders know that energy efficiency is already critical for business survival, many avoid following through on the implementation due to the misperception that it is too complicated or a costly process.   This is according to Manie de Waal, Head of Sales at Energy Partners, a leading energy solutions provider in South Africa, who says that the hike in energy costs by the state owned utility…
The reinstatement of load shedding by state-owned power utility Eskom poses a real threat to the growth of corporate South Africa and highlights the need for businesses – across various sectors - to implement alternative energy sources in preparation for 2015.   This is according to Manie de Waal, Head of Sales at Energy Partners, a leading energy solutions provider in South Africa, who says that if the past is any example, this was the first in a series of blackouts and that Eskom’s current inability to deliver uninterrupted electricity has a massive impact on companies’ annual earnings. “The full…
We know that water — in all its forms — is a vital component of the human diet. It’s also one of the healthiest beverage options on the retailer’s shelf, and should therefore be included along with sunscreen and a hat in any basket or sportsbag making its way to a beach, a park, a picnic spot or a sportsground this summer.   This is the message from South African National Bottled Water Association CEO, Charlotte Metcalf, as the country begins winding down in anticipation of the traditional December break.   “Sensible travellers and holiday makers will ensure their suitcases…
As nuclear power generation looks set to become an increasingly-prominent option for renewable energy production in South Africa, it is vital that local manufacturing companies are included in the large-scale and costly infrastructure rollout to ensure long-term efficiency and sustainability. International manufacturing and engineering company DCD Group is a driving force behind the promotion of raising local content thresholds in local energy sector. DCD MD Rob King believes that the concept of appointing foreign companies to build local nuclear power stations exclusively is illogical and a lost opportunity to boost the local manufacturing sector. “There is certainly capacity in the…

GIL Africa 2017

275x265