You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2012.

In the modern world nothing happens without electricity, and yet in our land it is often referred to in disparaging terms by the general public, by our customers and by the media… (more)


Already we are seeing the cost of the renewables added to Eskom’s price for electricity,the cost is high. What is the rationale for chasing after renewables in this way? It is clearly not sustainable – nothing which needs a subsidy is sustainable… (more)

“It was a good year, I dare say,” ventured the Ghost of Christmas Past. ‘No blackouts, no revolving brown-outs, the lights were kept on and we were assured continually that everything was on track. A complete waste of that good standby generator I acquired after the big blackout of 2008… (more)

The underlying foundation of the country’s economy is that electricity has been cheap, readily available and abundant. Our economy and its industrial base is a power-intensive one, and South Africa has one of the highest power consumption to unit of GDP ratios anywhere… (more)

Integrating large amounts of intermittent wind is challenging, to put it mildly. If you believe the numbers, that is all it takes to supply the world with half of its energy needs by 2030: a mere 4-million 5 MW wind turbines on top of 100 m towers, spinning gracefully with no carbon emissions. Wouldn’t that be lovely?.. (more)

Eskom has submitted its third multi-year price determination (MYPD3) application for review and approval by Nersa to cover the period 2013 to 2018, and the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG), which represents South Africa’s mining and industrial companies, hopes that various key issues surrounding Eskom’s pricing increase application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) will be properly unpacked and explained to consumers… (more)

With the recent 16% tariff hike announcements (over 5 years) to help strengthen Eskom’s financial position, and the level of push-back from stakeholders, alarm bells are ringing. The question is seldom asked as to whether these 16% increases are not maybe too low… (more)

Thirty-four nuclear energy facilities in the path of Hurricane Sandy have responded well and safely to this powerful storm, demonstrating their resilience against severe natural forces. Careful planning and comprehensive preparations days in advance of the storm paid off at all of the facilities, which were prepared to take the steps necessary to maintain safety against high winds, record flooding and disturbances on the regional electric grid… (more)

We have only got one planet, and we must love her and everything that lives on her, and do everything we can to protect her. We must always act in such a way as to cause the most benefit and the least costs to people and the environment… (more)

The Deriner Dam on the Coruh River in northeastern Turkey is gigantic in every respect. At the heart of this mammoth project is an underground hydroelectric power plant. Its four giant turbines will generate 2100 GWh of power per year – the annual consumption of a city of 1-million people… (more)

This paper presents a review of how hardware-in-loop testing of protection relays on a real-time simulator has been put to use in a range of applications. In some of these applications, models of relatively large parts of the transmission network have been used on a real-time simulator, In other cases, models of small-scale but representative study systems have been used to allow careful  evaluation of the suitability of different relay technologies for practical field conditions… (more)

Modern industrial and substation automation networks require careful planning and design for performance and redundancy.  Mission-critical processes require data within strict time constraints but other important data flows also need to be accommodated on the same networks. Traffic partitioning using VLANs can address data separation while traffic prioritisation is used to ensure that network performance criteria are met when multiple data flows are required to share common trunks… (more)

Current legislative demands have led to an increase in the complexity of modern wastewater treatment adhering to effluent limits at the plant’s outlet. Furthermore, energy cost trends show that energy efficiency is growing in importance in wastewater treatment and industry in general. The challenge and (future) key to success for operators will be their ability to manage required plant reliability, reduce complexity and optimise energy efficiency… (more)

The Department of Water Affairs (DWA), is responsible for the sustainable supply of useable water in South Africa. This water is not only used for residential and agricultural purposes but also to provide water for industrial processes, the mining industries and cooling water for power stations. South Africa is divided into 19 water catchment areas. This case study focuses on the Usutu-Vaal government water scheme (GWS). In Mpumalanga close to Standerton, which supplies water to Sasol and four power stations – Tutuka, Matla, Kriel and Duvha. Water is also transferred from Matla to Kendal power station… (more)

Recently Eskom released its multi year price determination (MYPD3) document, requesting from the national energy regulator a 16% increase per annum of its average electricity selling price, each year for the next five years, beginning in May 2013… (more)

EE Publishers – Asset location navigation on a small budget – Mozilla Firefox

The use of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) navigation devices has become widespread these days. Most now have the ability to create and upload their own points of interest (commonly known as custom points of interest). These GNSS devices can cost in the region of R1000 to R3000 for normal in-car type devices while handheld devices can be in the range of R1500 to R6000… (more)

Thermal imaging technology has a number of characteristics that make the technology a good choice to prevent vehicle-related accidents in mines. Vehicle-related mine accidents are a major cause to mine fatalities which means that effective collision avoidance systems are an essential part of any mine’s safety systems… (more)

DEMs are used in many applications, including hydrology [1, 2], terrain analysis [3], soil science [4], disaster risk mitigation [5], image pre-processing [6] and climate surface generation [7]. The use of DEMs in geographical information systems (GIS) has increased in recent years, mainly due to the greater availability of free DEMs covering most of the globe… (more)

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have developed a method to use a specialised NASA 3D imaging radar to characterise the oil in oil spills, such as the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The research can be used to improve response operations during future marine oil spills… (more)

Spatial development planning of the dynamic Gauteng Province as recently highlighted in the Census 2011 results, has become a fast paced process drawing from a range of different professional planning disciplines. An urgent need has thus arisen for an integration of public infrastructure and service provision planning, with the private sector’s vision for growth and development for the province… (more)

The commercialisation of local spatial knowledge is an emerging problem across communities all around the world. Users creating spatial and attributive data through the use of commercial tools such as Google Map Maker, are extending corporate databases, but aren’t able to use the very same data when they need to… (more)

The US research community is conducting a deep ice coring project in West Antarctica for studies of climate, ice sheet history and cryobiology. This project is collecting a deep ice core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) ice flow divide and integrating approximately 40 separate but synergistic projects to analyse the ice and interpret the records… (more)

2012 is the quincentenary of the birth of Gerard Mercator. Although best known for the map projection named after him, he was also known for the Mercator atlas, indeed even the introduction of the word “atlas” and for his work in cartography but maybe not so much for his basic work as a land surveyor. This article is a short introduction to his life and work to highlight the exceptional place he has in the history of our profession… (more)

Getmapping (through its African subsidiary Geosense) has recently completed the capture, processing and delivery of over 2500 km2 of high resolution (6,25 cm) imagery covering the entire City of Cape Town metropolitan area using the latest A3 camera technology from Visionmap… (more)

Naively, maleficent, insulting, unfortunate, gross generalisation, deliberately and simplistic. What strange emotive  choice of words from Mr. Boonzaier, a surveyor, in respect of an article written to land surveyors practicing within a certain context, which setting is completely outside the scope and practise of a technical surveyor. Boonzaier’s  response hints at emotional baggage which response may indeed be (to use Boonzaier’s  word) maleficent… (more)

The recent article by Karl van Rensburg on land surveyors involvement in pre- and post-survey activities (PositionIT September 2012) and the subsequent response by Chris Boonzaier (PositionIT October 2012) has prompted me to write this response. Firstly, I take exception to Mr Boonzaier’s assertion that land surveyors should not “reclaim the work currently being performed by town planners”… (more)

Outlined below is the opening address by the president of the Institute of Mine Surveyors of South Africa (IMSSA), Jurgens Visser, in which he welcomes delegates to IMSCON 2012 and the 90th annual general meeting of IMSSA. Most of us, whether we like it or not, are creatures of habit. We continue to do things because they have worked successfully in the past. That is not to say, of course, that we ignore new ideas. We all know that in today’s competitive mining environment we cannot afford to do so. Nonetheless, we are usually so busy, that we don’t have time to sit back and look at our own particular business, from an outsider’s point of view… (more)

It is a very proud moment for me today as I stand here in this auditorium to bear witness to the Council for Geoscience’s hundred year celebration of geological excellence. Indeed, the CGS has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1912 as the Geological Survey of the country to become one of the best geoscience institutions in the world… (more)

During the course of this year, it has been interesting to hear people debating the need to keep the geospatial professions relevant and to heighten their perceived value to a range of key players in the private and government sectors. It is increasingly clear that surveyors’ specialised and hard-earned measurement skills are under threat as surveying  tools become simultaneously easier to use and increasingly accurate… (more)

This paper outlines solution requirements and mobile technology best practices for the municipal sector, focusing on managing a diverse physical asset portfolio and related services… (more)

The LVSS is an end to end system that enables more efficient management and control of electricity consumption and distribution using real time information. For the purpose of demand management, the low voltage smart system (LVSS) was piloted in a residential area in the Gauteng province over the last 4 years. The intent of this paper is to explore benefit cases beyond the initial intent of LVSS and traditional utility use of smart metering systems. The focus is on consumer facing benefits and to use the system as a tool to gain more insight into user behaviour… (more)

Quality of supply (QoS) in electrical energy is important for the sustainability of a local utility. The annual budget has to be based on a realistic assumption that retailing electrical energy will realise a projected profit. Sewerage, water and others are services rendered by local utilities operating within budgets subsidised from the profit made by selling electrical energy. But selling electrical energy is in itself not sustainable if the quality does not empower the user to generate profit… (more)

Developing an understanding of the financial and economic implications of network infrastructure service levels requirements and the potential trade-offs between service levels, cost and the impact on the economy… (more)

A case study on the implementation of an integrated protection settings management system (PSMS) at City Power… (more)

This paper provides an overview of the importance of losses in a distribution transformer. Current distribution transformer loss specifications are reviewed and an evaluation of the capitalisation formula is given with regards to four utilities… (more)

Organisations in the electrical engineering environment do not always acknowledge risk factors related to specific employees’ predisposition for high risk taking behaviour that could have a negative impact on their activities. Rather, organisations concentrate on structuring their engineering environment and activities to comply with health and safety (H&S) legislation in the belief that such compliance could afford a guarantee against incidents… (more)

Wrong labeling/markings were identified as one of the causes of industrial accidents where property is damaged and/or people are injured or have lost their lives… (more)

This paper looks at the dangers and hazards of entering and working in live substations and enclosures. It looks at some specific examples and incidents and the reasons why persons entering these areas must be trained and deemed competent to work in a substation unsupervised. It looks at the pre-entry requirements, as well as identifying potential or actual dangers and hazards and legal requirements… (more)

The life of a responsible person, in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), General Machineries Regulations (GMR), can sometimes get quite nerve wracking when not only the requirements of the OHSA has to be adhered to but also the requirements of other legislation such as the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA). The first deals with safety of people and second deals with the rights of people and sometime these requirements come into conflict… (more)

Many countries are still coming to terms with the sudden and debilitating financial crisis of 2008. Some governments have been able to stave off the world recession by pouring reserve funds into public works programmes, but these coffers are now empty… (more)

The Government Gazette 31250 requires that smart meters be installed for all customers consuming more than 1000 kWh/month by 1 January 2012. Many municipalities have installed such meters and implemented TOU tariffs. Many of these tariffs leave much to be desired for. This paper will illustrate the requirements and features of a quality domestic/small commercial TOU tariff… (more)

Transformers form an integral part of the power system value chain. They are used at different voltage levels throughout the power delivery process, starting from step-up operation at the generation power plant and going through various step-down operations to different voltage levels along the way down to distribution voltage levels… (more)

The South African electricity distribution industry is confronted by numerous and significant challenges that impact directly on the sustainability of the industry and the ability to provide a reliable service to electricity customers. While the distribution grid served the country well in many aspects, the electricity grid is aging, outmoded, and stressed… (more)

Smart metering (SM) systems are rolled out at a high rate internationally for various reasons. It is however true that SM as a component of smart grids will play a significant role in the electricity distribution industry to enhance energy efficiency and support revenue management. This paper elaborates on the functionality of SM to support various aspects of distribution management in the African context… (more)

The principles of the technology of today’s power grids have not changed significantly in the past 100 years. Electricity is a product that has to be generated at the time of need. The level of power generation is set to match the instantaneous demand. With the constraints in power resources, this has to change, hence the development of the smart grid… (more)

Renewable energy (RE) facilities need to conduct compliance studies, in order to prove that their facility has the necessary capability in order to meet the currently published grid code, as well as to ensure that the farm does not contravene the existing NRS and other published standards… (more)

A range of national and local policies and strategies promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in response to the electricity crisis and national climate change commitments. This trend is not only local, but global. In South Africa this is taking place in the context of rapidly decreasing renewable energy costs and simultaneous rapidly increasing grid electricity costs resulting from the new build programme… (more)

Rural electricity distribution is less reliable and more expensive to operate than urban networks and generates less revenue. Long overhead line lengths, inherent high fault frequency and the often considerable time taken to find and access faults result in long outage durations, poor regulatory performance and, often, financial penalties… (more)

Mobile technology has taken the world by storm and is developing further every day. The capability of transferring data over GSM networks at a relatively low cost has also revolutionised the world even more than the industrial age and there is no end to the possibilities yet. New ideas and new processes are now possible in the field of infield data collection… (more)

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