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This year has seen numerous changes and new developments in the power generation industry, some dramatic and others more subtle but just as important. The changes seem to be associated with changes in terminology, and new terms seem to be popping up as regularly as new developments in the industry. The most dramatic change occurred in the renewable energy sector, where REFIT was replace with REBID, a change in more than name which seems to have galvanised the process into action. The question now remains how will the renewable energy fleet perform?… (more)


At a meeting of the South African Independent Power Producers Association (SAIPPA) on Wednesday 30 November 2011, Karen Breytenbach of the National Treasury of South Africa announced that the first bidding window of the first tranche of renewable energy generation had been 57% subscribed, with a total of 53 bids received for some 2127 MW of renewable energy (RE) generation capacity with a value of R64-billion… (more)

Eskom has released interim results which show a continued strong financial performance, with a surplus that will be reinvested in the business to ensure Eskom is financially sustainable and can repay the debt raised to fund its new build programme. The results for the six months to end September 2011 reflect increased net profit of R12,8-billion (2010: R9,5-billion), on revenue which increased to R63,9-billion (2010: R51,1-billion)… (more)

At the recent customary gathering of the three ghosts of Christmas to which I had been invited, I was strongly reminded of that haunting chorus of the three witches from the dreaded Scottish play, which goes, if memory serves, something like this: Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble. There are nasties like swelter’d venom, fillet of a fenny snake and the ubiquitous eye of newt and toe of frog aplenty swirling around in the foully bubbling brew… (more)

The low number of entry-level professionals in engineering and information technology is aggravating the shortage of critical skills needed to drive economic growth and boost employment, according to Sandra Burmeister, CEO of the Landelahni Recruitment Group. It is vital to soak up unemployment, particularly among youth, and job creation depends on a robust economy… (more)

The impact of the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which resulted from the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami on 11March 2011, will have wide-ranging consequences for the global energy mix as governments and companies seek to address the challenges of providing a sustainable supply of energy for the greatest benefit of all… (more)

Always a long shot, and not getting any better. With 104 operating reactors supplying a fifth of the country’s electricity needs, US has more nuclear power plants than any other country. For some time, the official policy has been that more would be better. Yet despite the government’s best intentions and generous loan guarantees, no one has ordered a new reactor for over three decades. In the meantime, the existing fleet is aging and life extensions are merely delaying the eventual day of reckoning… (more)

The trend toward deploying more intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) in substations and within the distribution grid is stronger than ever. However, in many utilities, different departments working to solve specific problems have deployed these devices in a piecemeal fashion. Often, a unified vision for substation automation and data acquisition has been lacking. With this proliferation of IEDs, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of data available… (more)

A stable power supply is essential in many production scenarios, and is desirable in all types of commerce and industry. Defects in the electrical power supply can cause all sorts of problems, and the most obvious defect to the consumer is the interruption of the continuous supply. An interruption can vary from a few milliseconds to many hours and can affect the production process in many ways… (more)

This paper describes the findings of a study done of the performance of two adjacent single circuit 400 kV lines in which the phase-to-ground and phase-to-tower clearances on one of the lines were increased above the standard clearances. The key finding that the design with increased clearances has been shown to withstand to a considerable degree the fire and streamer (excreta) stresses (without bird guards), whereas the standard line does not, is analysed. The implications for future designs are discussed… (more)

According to SACCI’s copper cable theft barometer, copper to the total value of R259-million was stolen in 2010 with the impact on the economy estimated at R5-billion per year. Proof of ownership has been a big hurdle in securing convictions of alleged cable thieves. To deal with this challenge and reduce cable theft, CBi-electric: african cables has embarked on an innovative approach to identifying cables. Since January 2010, more than 10-million cable core metres have been successfully marked using “CBiD… (more)

The electricity supply constraints in South Africa necessitated the implementation of demand side management (DSM) projects. The focus of this study is to determine the most cost effective load management strategy on an underground mine dewatering system.The mining sector was selected as it is one of the largest electricity consumers in South Africa. A substantial amount of energy is used to de-water the mining shafts of fissure and service water. Improved load management will result from automating the de-watering system… (more)

Power module packaging is driven by the ever increasing demand for higher power densities, reliability improvements and further cost reductions.The known reliability limitations of traditional solder joints and bond wires are holding back power density increases made possible thanks to higher junction temperatures and the future utilisation of wide band gap devices… (more)

A solar energy technology roadmap (SETRM) has been developed for South Africa, listing a number of systems that have been clearly demonstrated or commercialised; where a local industry could be stimulated with associate socio-economic growth, and that have a medium to high R&D intensity… (more)

A Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean is set to become the first island in the world to be powered solely by renewable energy. The $87-million project will provide electricity for the island’s 11 000 inhabitants using a combination of wind power and pumped water storage. ABB power and automation technologies are playing a leading role… (more)

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