Volume 6, Number 2 - April/May 2011

Lessons on safety procedures from oil and gas industriesIf oil and gas companies want to prevent safety lapses like the BP oil spill, they need a self-regulation regime akin to that in nuclear power, said a presidential report released in January 2011.
While we often read about the potential of nuclear energy to solve global warming and energy security problems, we rarely read about the nuclear industry’s expensive history of taxpayer subsidies and charges to utility ratepayers.
Frost & Sullivan’s nuclear expert, Enguerran Ripert, commented today on the energy crisis in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami.
The Azelik mine in Niger produced its first barrel of uranium just before the New Year. The mine, which is 32.7% owned by China Uranium Corp, a unit of China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), will be the first overseas uranium deposit developed by China once it goes into full operation later in 2011.
Japan was ravaged by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami on 11 March 2011. Besides the massive destruction and death toll in the country, Japan was almost immediately forced to deal with a nuclear crisis.
A KwaZulu-Natal based pipeline gas company, Spring Lights Gas, has entrenched itself into the energy market since its inception in 2002. The company has supplied piped-gas solutions to a variety of industrial customers in the region of south Durban and it is currently partnering with activist industrials in Pietermaritzburg, Newcastle, Richards Bay, Phoenix and Verulam.
PetroSA acting CEO Everton September told members of Parliament’s energy portfolio committee that its main concern is finding enough gas to keep its Mossel Bay gas-to-liquid refinery running. The plant currently produces approximately 5% of South Africa’s fuel needs, but its latest annual report shows that gas production from fields offshore in the southern Cape has declined over the past year.
New technology enables energy and cost reduction in the removal of carbon dioxide from natural gas under high pressure. This was the result of successful cooperation between the Japanese companies JGC Corporation and INPEX jointly with BASF SE. The performance of this new gas treatment technology enables a reduction of 25-35% in the cost of CO2 recovery and compression.
Despite significant progress in developing renewable and other alternative energy sources, and despite the US$35-billion liability that petroleum giant BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill caused early last year, deep-water drilling continues. In a report by financial advisory firm, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu’s Global Energy & Resources group, entitled 2011 Oil & Gas Reality Check, Deloitte says that oil and gas will constitute most of the world’s energy supply over the next 25 years.
The oil giant Chevron has been ordered to pay over US$8-billion in damages for polluting in Ecuador between 1964 and 1990. The award, which was granted on 14 February 2011, is one of the largest environmental damages claims ever given, but Chevron feels the claim is illegitimate.
The African downstream petroleum marketer Engen has purchased operations from Chevron in Africa – Mauritius and Tanzania.
Joanne Yawitch has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the National Business Initiative (NBI). Yawitch, who was the Deputy Director-General of Climate Change at the Department of Environmental Affairs, has led the climate change talks on behalf of the government.
Now in its third year, the Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (Soltrain) recently ran a train-the-trainer workshop focussing on advanced solar cooling, which can be applied for the cooling of buildings, products and industrial processes.
The world’s poorest continent will see gross domestic product growth of 6% this year and, potentially, between 6.2% and 6.5% in 2012.
In February, the Chinese embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo announced that China has signed a US$376-million deal to build a hydroelectric dam in the central-African country. The work is expected to create 2 000 jobs during its three-year construction phase and is funded using preferential loans from the China Exim Bank.
Tanzania’s National Development Corp. (NDC) signed a deal worth US$120-million with a wind energy company. Tanzania’s first wind farm, which will add an estimated 50 MW of energy to the national power grid, will begin construction early next year in the Singida region.
The South African petrochemical giant Sasol has confirmed that it will not continue with a planned coal-to-liquids plant project in Indonesia. Company spokeswoman, Jacqui O’Sullivan, said that Sasol will be focusing on more gas-to-liquids opportunities.
The South African president, Jacob Zuma, and the Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, has urged the United States to take stronger action on the issue of climate change. Both presidents, who are hosts of COP16 and COP17 respectively, have been working together and agreed that US president Barack Obama faces domestic political opposition to his taking the lead on emissions cutting agenda, and both called for faster action from Washington.
According to a study by the United Nations (UN), the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angola could see a surge in Chinese investment by developing economic projects for specific areas.
Cape Town-based Mulilo Renewable Energy (MRE) and the China Longyuan Corporation has signed the biggest private partnership agreement for the provision of renewable energy in South Africa.
At the SSI “Engineering for Education” function held in Pretoria during the first week of February, master of ceremonies John Robbie said: “Education is about caring and the Lead SA campaign is about partnerships between the private sector and government, and with this initiative SSI is part of Lead SA.”
Johnson Controls, an organisation that delivers products, services and solutions that increase energy-efficiency in buildings, has introduced the York magnetic centrifugal chiller (YMC2), which offers superior efficiency and sound performance, and is claimed to be 10% more efficient than conventional, variable-speed chillers.
The Carbon Trust has selected ACAL Energy to receive a £1-million investment by winning the Polymer Fuel Cell Challenge, an initiative with the aim of accelerating access to new markets for fuel cell products.
In a report published by Balancing Act, an online publishing and consultancy business covering broadcast, telecoms, Internet and computing in Africa, it was stated that the number of green mobile base stations deployed in Africa remains small, representing a mere 3.1% of the total number of deployments worldwide (9 558).
South Africa continues along a carbon-intensive energy strategy, ranking us the 14th largest emitter on the planet. Our emissions are about 1/8th of the total emissions of the European Union (EU). Eskom is also the 2nd most carbon-intensive electricity utility on the planet, ranking only behind Huaneng Power in China on emissions.
Are we overestimating energy-efficiency’s effect on reducing carbon emissions?Energy-efficiency technologies and strategies are generally considered to be a win-win situation. You reduce your electricity bill (and your carbon footprint) and the technologies pay for themselves over a period of time. Besides the initial required capital – a company, homeowner or organisation will be able to see the effects of their savings almost instantly.
By Dr LJ Grobler and Gustav Radloff, Energy CyberneticsSo, your building sports the latest and greatest “green gadgets”. Your air-conditioning system is in the top echelon of energy-efficiency ratings, most of your lamps have been replaced with CFLs, and so the list goes on. You have done your bit.
During the past four years, the South African solar water heater market has experienced phenomenal growth and the market is currently preparing for a second high-growth phase that will be larger than the previous growth surge, says global consultancy Frost & Sullivan (F&S).
An increasing number of corporate real estate executives are willing to pay more to lease green office space. These real estate executives also say they consider sustainability issues when making decisions about locations, says research from CoreNet Global (an organisation for real estate professionals) and Lang LaSalle (a commercial real estate company), which was released in February 2011.
Verbatim will reveal the world’s first commercially available organic LED (OLED) lighting panels that are colour tunable, white tone tunable and dimmable during the Fuori Salone show in Milan from 12-17 April.
The IRP 2010 isn’t an “energy plan” or an “infrastructure plan”, it’s a electricity generation capacity expansion plan. It is required by law and is the accountability of the Minister of Energy.
Malawi’s energy sector, which had 63 days of power outages in 2009, has received a significant boost from the US. The Millennium Challenge Corporation has given Malawi a US350-million grant to upgrade the country’s power supply, whose dire condition is a major brake on the nation’s economic growth.
Mining and industry in Zimbabwe have been hurt by power shortages over recent years. In an economy which is only starting to recover from hyperinflation that crushed the economy about two years ago, its power shortages have left many businesses in shambles.
Eskom has been implementing a coal supply strategy over the past three years in order to ensure security of supply for its power stations. Eskom faces substantial challenges to secure the long-term coal supplies it requires for existing and new power stations, Chief Commercial Officer Dan Marokane told a coal conference in Cape Town on 2 February 2011.
The Journal Sentinal (a Milwaukee-based newspaper) recently reported that an environmental group is urging the US Export-Import Bank to deny finance to South Africa’s coal-fired Kusile powerstation project. The environmental groups are asking the bank to deny financing for Kusile, saying the power plant annually would spew greenhouse gases with a global warming potential equal to 36.8-million tons of carbon dioxide.
The World Reconstruction Conference (WRC), together with the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, will host a global innovation competition. The WRC is organised by the World Bank and the United Nations.
During the Gauteng public consultation workshop on South Africa’s draft Green Paper, the then Environmental Affairs director general Joanne Yawitch urged the public to comment on the national climate change Green Paper.
The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has called for tenders for eight 100 MW geothermal power plants (a total of 800 MW of geothermal electricity) in the Silali-Bogoria Block. According to GDC, this geothermal-rich block has an estimated potential of 3 000 MWe, of which they will be developing 2 000MW in four phases. The first 800 MW phase is expected to reach the grid by 2017.
Andrew Gilder, IMEBWU Sustainability Legal Specialists (Pty) Ltd.
The Vienna-based Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) has called for proposed clean energy projects targeting Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. The partnership expects to fund approximately 30 projects with €4.5-million funding that was contributed from Norway and the UK.
On 24 February, Nasa launched its latest earth-observing satellite from Vanderberg Air Force Base in California. The satellite, which is called Glory, will study tiny airborne particles and their influence on climate change.
South Africa’s nuclear energy building programme suggested that Eskom and its suppliers would require 3 000 scientists and engineers. It would also require 24 000 artisans, but 30% of the state-owned utility Eskom’s engineers are close to retirement.
After the 15th UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen, there was a general feeling of disappointment and failure. Last year’s COP in Cancun, however, generated more positive reactions. But how are we going to move from Cancun to this year’s COP17 in Durban to ensure success?
South Africa’s long-awaited National Domestic Waste Collection Standard came into effect on 1 February 2011. The standard which is published under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (Act No. 59 of 2008), aims to provide a uniform framework within which domestic waste should be collected in South Africa.
Nearly 84% of Tanzanians don’t have access to electricity and the opportunities and improved quality of life that electricity can provide. That figure rises to approximately 98% in rural areas.
Camco, an international company specialising in climate change solutions, and Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), an independent economic policy research institution, recently released a case study entitled “The Construction Industry’s Path towards a Low Carbon Trajectory” with funding from the British High Commission. According to the case study, the South African construction industry has been increasingly focused on both the introduction of green practices and on energy-saving technologies.
A local researcher’s perspectiveThe head of the Environment Agency, Chris Smith, recently warned that corporate Britain is ill-prepared for the impacts of climate change. Smith said that businesses needed to start creating adaption plans now or face severe disruption in the decades ahead.
On 10 March, the chemicals company BASF published its Report 2010, which shows that it had reached an important goal last year: Specific greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 29% compared with 2002, meaning that the company reached its goal for 2020 for the first time.
MAKE Consulting’s Market Outlook 2011 predicts that the global wind turbine market will expand in 2011, with an estimated growth of 18%, after the global growth in new grid connected wind capacity slowed down in 2010.
Thousands of people living in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan region will benefit from warm water that has been heated by the sun.
In February, SDE Energy announced that Kenya’s Ministry of Energy had granted official approval for them to build a 100 MW power plant on the Kenyan coastline. The plant will be powered by wave power and will be the first of its kind in East Africa.The power plant will be constructed in conjunction with the indigenous firm Sea Wave Gen.
In 1965, The Gambia gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The country, which is geographically surrounded by Senegal, formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty, but tensions have flared up intermittently since then.
The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which sets emission reduction targets for developed countries and not developing countries, is under a cloud. With 2012 quickly approaching (and the end of the initial commitment period coming to an end), the future of the clean development mechanism (CDM) raises a number of questions.
Agribusiness, investment funds and government agencies have been acquiring long-term rights over large areas of land in Africa over the past few years. Together with applicable national and international law, contracts define the terms of an investment project and the way risks, costs and benefits are distributed.
Professor Patricia Harvey of the University of Greenwich, a leading expert in biofuels who is currently working on projects that will produce green energy from agricultural and food waste in three African countries, recently spoke to 25º in Africa about the project.
The San Fransisco Public Utilities Commission, which is going to be home to a number of green building innovations, has commissioned a disguised “green” sewage treatment plant – in the middle of their lobby.

GIL Africa 2017