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by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

At long last, the cabinet has approved and published the national Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, IRP 2010. Now this just has to be passed by parliament and published in the Government Gazette. Let’s hope there will not be further delays, and that a measure of certainty will prevail so that the electricity sector can get down to work. But what is IRP 2010? Why is it important? And what exactly does it say?… (more)


To be “green” may be regarded as fashionable, but in reality it is much more than that. Arguments abound as to whether CO2 emissions are the cause of climate change or not. However, when it comes to South Africa, one of the major concerns around being “green” is the efficient utilisation of energy… (more)

The cyber threat landscape has in recent times undergone devastating changes, exposing organisations to threats and vulnerabilities previously never prepared for nor protected against… (more)

The next generation network (NGN) has created much hype but in fact there has not been much action… (more)

Many organisations want to leverage new and emerging technologies such as voice over IP (VoIP) and unified communications. The shift in the PBX market to cloud telephony is being driven by a number of factors… (more)

The term “application optimisation”, and claims of improved application performance, wide area network (WAN) compression etc., sound straightforward enough – until one delves into the technical intricacies involved in achieving an effective increase in performance… (more)

With so much emphasis on optic fibre one seldom reads about microwave systems. At one time these were the main backbone of all inter-city communication. While little is being written in the media, microwave systems are making a comeback… (more)

The author asks what is being done to protect industrial control systems and the UK’s critical infrastructure. This should provide an alert to South African companies, as to the possible consequences of malicious hacking into control systems… (more)

When considering the implementation of an industrial wireless network, manufacturers and other end users must have a clear understanding of their wireless solution requirements, understand issues impacting the success of their installation and the return on technology investments… (more)

Telcos are under tremendous pressure to reduce costs, while at the same time improving the experience of customers. Trying to achieve this requires a thorough review of supporting IT systems’ operations support systems/business support systems (OSS/BSS) and a drive to automate service delivery processes… (more)

NASA releases images of man-made crater on comet

SA engineers take the lead in hi-tech processing development

CPUT to build s-band transmitter for UK satellite

Giant solar flare disrupts radio communication

• SES to launch five Africa-specific satellites
• Cameroon to roll-out 120 community telecoms centres
• Eritrea extends mobile phone service to new areas
• Airtel to invest in Sierra Leone network expansion
• Gambia’s Gamtel launches 3G services
• WACS submarine cable has reached Namibia
• Alcatel-Lucent chosen for Togo 2G/3G network expansion
• Low call rates help Rwanda’s revenue
• Uganda’s telecoms regulator to put brake on tariff cuts
• Nitel privatisation again on verge of collapse… (more)

In this issue, we feature a 46 megapixel camera with a 24×16mm APS-C X3 full-colour image sensor; a battery charger that can dock a cellphone, camera and an iPod simultaneously; a USB-powered soldering iron; a wireless telephone socket that sends and receives voice, fax and data, and a “business tool” hands-free phone that stores up to 80 names and numbers… (more)

Somehow it makes little sense that amateur radio, or ham radio as some refer to it, continues to thrive in the age of Twitter, Facebook and iPhones… (more)

The optronic sensor systems competency area at the CSIR unit for defence, peace, safety and security performs directed research and development and builds technology demonstrators in a wide range of fields… (more)

Recycling in South Africa has not yet reached the level of success that we would like to attain if we want to keep up with international developments… (more)

2011 is likely to be all about the continued maturing of the country’s online industry as marketers and publishers refine their digital strategies and extend their use of existing technologies… (more)

Intelligent transport system solutions improve safety and efficiency of the road network while slowing the trend towards worsening congestion… (more)

In the past, the term “biometrics” would conjure images of top secret security missions in action films. Indeed, this technology has been in use by military and police intelligence agencies around the world for years… (more)

Many South Africans are lax when it comes to internet and data security. This is the message I hear over and over again in industry discussions… (more)

In July 2010 the South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC) commissioned research by Whitehouse and Associates on how the SA electronics industry could accelerate exports. The findings were thought-provoking and in some cases, concerning… (more)

As technologies become faster and smarter, so too do the threats with which they are faced. Consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets for business and personal connectivity calls for new security measures… (more)

A strong communication network is regarded as one of the most important infrastructure layouts in utility and industrial automation environments… (more)

Short circuit events generate high current conditions in transformer windings. These currents inturn induce excessive forces in a transformer. Electromagnetic forces are important considerations in the design, manufacturing and operation of transformers. These forces can be subdivided into axial and radial forces each with unique considerations and mitigating measures… (more)

It is well known that the price of electricity in South Africa has been too low for years. The generation capacity crisis in 2008 prompted a review of Eskom’s build programme and associated funding plan. The original expectation was that there would be a short-duration adjustment to bring prices to the correct level, and thereafter electricity prices increases would follow inflation… (more)

Allow me to disabuse your erudite readers of the notion that I am a stark-raving green lunatic who would rather plaster solar panels all over the country-side than preserve nasty, smelly carbon-dioxide-spewing coal fired power stations that will cook the earth. At least that is the impression one might have – incorrectly – gained upon reading my remarks on the proposed carbon tax. Nothing is further from the truth… (more)

Products that allow electric plugs to be inserted incorrectly, thereby exposing users to live parts and the risk of a lethal electric shock, can be found for sale at major retail outlets in South Africa. But despite its mandate to enforce compulsory specifications and ensure public safety, the National Regulator of Compulsory Specifications says it has no grounds to take action. There is clearly something very wrong “within the state of Rome”… (more)

Students, who enrolled on the 2010 SSI Saturday school initiative, achieved a total of 39 distinctions in the perceived difficult subjects of maths, science and engineering graphics & design – the best results since the initiative was established in 2007… (more)

MultiChoice has built a new 500 m2 data centre at their premises in Randburg, which is provided with a high reliability electricity supply system and an energy efficient cooling system. Data centres are becoming stressed by increased capacity requirements and the higher density of IT equipment, consolidation and virtualisation ,and MultiChoice required a data centre solution that could meet it’s growing IT requirements… (more)

China is rich in coal and water resources, which are unevenly distributed throughout the country.  Coal deposits are predominantly in the north and northwestern regions, while water resources are mainly in the southwestern region.  In contrast, Southeastern China is densely populated and has extensively developed industry and agriculture, but is deficient in coal and hydro resources… (more)

The IRP 2010 20 year electricity capacity plan is crucial towards determining South Africa’s long-term electricity demand, as well as how this demand should be met in terms of generating capacity, type, timing and cost.  At current projected GDP rates, South Africa is looking at another 120 – 140 years of coal consumption, which is twice as long as uranium will last. Within the next 150 years, or at least within the next 80 years, renewable energies will need a substantial investment in order to meet electricity demand and pick up the eventual shortfall of uranium and coal… (more)

There is a move towards introducing renewable energy (RE) sources into the South African energy mix. At present developers of RE generation projects do not have a clear idea of the available capacity for connection of projects to the transmission network. To address this situation a study was undertaken to determine the available connection capacity for new generation at the different MTS substations. This article gives a brief summary of the results of the study… (move)

Following the first article on electrical arc flash safety (Energize October 2009), South Africans are accepting electrical arc flash hazards as an everyday reality in the workplace.  Electrical workers discuss the topic with interest and display an understanding of the phenomenon… (more)

Wireless communication is a natural fit for railway applications, particularly train-to-ground connections and rolling stock. It is crucial that clients on moving trains not lose any data during handover (the time spent roaming between APs). For train-to-ground communication links not using the 802.11 roaming mechanism, the handover time may take up to 10 seconds… (more)

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and e8,a global organization of 10 world leading electricity companies, for the first time, have brought together all major stakeholders that need to collaborate to accelerate the global roll-out of EVs (electric vehicles)… (more)

Major cooperative projects are paving the way for the launch of electric vehicles. Experts from industry and universities are creating the technological basis for linking vehicles to the power grid. In fact, field tests are now under way, especially in Denmark and Germany. One key objective is to use electric cars as energy storage units that compensate for fluctuations in wind power… (more)

Wind is a variable resource and as such is generally regarded as not being capable of contributing to firm power. A probabilistic approach that takes both demand  variation and wind generation profiles into account shows that wind can  be used as a firm power source… (more)

Wind power generation is being steadily employed all over the world, particularly in Asia and the USA, with offshore applications playing an increasingly important role. What good are the perfect location and high wind speeds, however, if the power generation system does not feature properly matched components. Wind turbines featuring power electronics are becoming increasingly popular all over the world. Semikron provides application-specific solutions combining power electronics with customer support… (more)

It is not only essential that we begin transforming the way we use energy, but it is also important to ensure a reliable supply. As in any industry, proper lubrication is key in ensuring a smooth operation, and in keeping costs to a minimum. The worse stance one can take is that spending money on lubrication systems is simply another overhead cost. From this viewpoint, lubrication should be minimized to help the organization survive in today’s global economic situation. It is therefore imperative to note that proper lubrication is a savings and not a cost… (more)

The sustainable energy sector in South Africa is a slumbering giant about to be roused. The era of cheap and abundant coal-generated power has made way to a new age of sustainability – natural resources and human resourcefulness have become the most valued commodities in our endeavour to generate the power needed to sustain the economy and our rapidly developing country. And we must do this in such a way that future generations will inherit security of supply and sustainable sources of energy… (more)

The size and uniqueness of the Gautrain rapid rail link are unparalleled in Africa and the successful commissioning of the first phase of the project against a much-accelerated programme was a significant achievement. The consortium was awarded the contract in July 2008 and work began on the project in January 2009… (more)

Both the positively and negatively-charged ends of lithium-ion batteries can now be created by means of genetically engineered viruses that coat themselves with iron phosphate and attach to carbon nanotubes to create a network of highly conductive material… (more)

Friction welding is a solid-state welding process that generates heat through mechanical friction between a moving work piece and a stationary component, with the addition of a lateral force called the “upset” to displace and fuse the materials together… (more)

The Moses Mabhida Stadium is a state-of-the-art, world-class installation. It is equipped with the latest technology solutions, which assist the stadium to effectively integrate and centralise its access control, CCTVs, fire detection and smoke control, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting and sound systems… (more)

Factory automation is one of the most common applications where industrial Ethernet is utilised to establish a reliable network communication between the control room and the factory floor. With the development of industrial Ethernet from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet, factory automation improves from the analogue time to the gigabit era… (more)

Passive harmonic filters offer a practical solution to harmonic mitigation on power systems with a large concentration of non-linear loads connected to the distribution transformer or supply generator…  (more)

A circuit breaker is one of the most important and essential safety mechanisms in electrical systems. Many different classifications of breakers can be made, based on voltage class, construction and interrupting type, and structural features… (more)

As they gain importance in process control and engineering, variable speed drives are gaining new formats, roles and capacities. There is a greater demand for medium voltage variable speed drives (3,3 kV to 6,6 kV) with many of these units being used in applications that were traditionally the domain of slip ring motors… (more)

This article serves to address a technical nuance of solar panels: that of their high source impedance. The technical description of source impedance is introduced and then expanded to describe this impedance component in electricity distribution… (more)

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) have a reputation for running cool. Touch one and all you’ll feel is a serene glow. But just try and pack dozens of them together in a tight space and they’ll get so hot that they can burn out within seconds… (more)

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