You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2013.

This article presents a short-circuit analysis conducted for the Kromco electrical power system using power system modelling, analysis and simulation software called “DIgSilent PowerFactory”. The main focus is determining the maximum short-circuit currents and fault levels at various locations on the network, and verifying the adequacy of power system components, to see if they can withstand rated prospective short-circuits… (more)

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Recent developments have shown that it is possible to generate sufficient energy from organic material contained in a variety of wastewater streams to provide a significant portion of the energy required to run the plant. It is however, an energy intensive operation… (more)

The testing of low-voltage, ride-through capability of wind turbine converters has recently been standardised in the 2nd edition of IEC 61400-21. Thus, testing the converters in the factory is important to shorten the on-site testing time required to meet IEC 61400-21 requirements… (more)

A recent academic study compared solar aided power generation (SAPG) solutions with that of a similar-sized stand-alone concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the South African context. The objective was to determine the real advantages of these technologies… (more)

In the beginning generation was local and supplied local demand. That changed because of technological advancements with improved efficiency and economies of scale. Modern society is highly dependent on the availability of cheap and reliable electricity. A revival of interest in distributed generation implies a full circle in the generation of electricity… (more)

With the improvement of electronic communications and computing technology, it becomes possible to integrate and improve the capabilities of the protection and automation systems on our power grids… (more)

Experts have discussed theoretical smart grid models for over a decade, but until now there has been no way to benchmark results globally. Ventyx and ABB selected VaasaETT to develop a smart grid global impact report, a global report into smart grids and their outcomes. This article summarises the report… (more)

 Half empty in the West, and half full in a handful of centrally planned economies, nuclear power’s prospects appear to be doomed in markets where private investors tend to make the decisions and assume the risks; while in other parts of the world, where central governments make the calls and the public’s approval is not as critical, its prospects may be better… (more)

Like many other perennial debates, the one about the rebound effect simply refuses to go away. The basic argument is that if you replace an inefficient car, or light bulb, or refrigerator with a more efficient one – everything else being equal – the typical consumer will drive farther, use more light and buy bigger fridges virtually cancelling any energy efficiency gains. Those who subscribe to this theory claim that making appliances and electricity consuming devices more efficient is mostly counter-productive because consumers will simply use more… (more)

Communications around the Fukushima accident were never going to be easy. But a carefree handling of the safety scale used has possibly done more harm than good. The nuclear industry, understandably indulgent with the Japanese administration in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima accident that happened in March 2011, has been growing increasingly impatient with the way recent developments have been communicated… (more)

Over the past 12 months, business and property developers in the high-income sector (houses priced at over R1-million) have started to leverage existing infrastructure to encourage the use of gas. They have implemented gas-to-power and gas-to-heat technologies respectively to counter the effects of increasing electricity tariffs and uncertainties in security of energy supply with the goal of establishing micro-gas utilities at new housing developments, such as the Waterfall Country Estate, which is based in the north of Johannesburg… (more)

Our winning letter-writer this month compares the NERSA compliance scores of municipalities which have outsourced their maintenance to those that have not… (more)

Sir, As usual at this time of the year, I went to visit the Three Ghosts of Christmas to enquire what their wishes in this season of goodwill would be. The senior Ghost of Christmas Past was naturally hankering back to the good old days of sixpacks, cheap coal and even cheaper electricity in abundant and secure supply. It looks like his wishes might be true for a long time to come with Coal 3 and the awesome nuclear fleet on the horizon… (more)

The cancellation of the pebble bed modular reactor project may have seemed to many as the end of the small modular reactor (SMR) concept. There are however, many projects in development worldwide, some of which are reaching fruition and which could provide an alternative to large plants, as they offer the promise of reduced cost and faster construction times… (more)

Recent events indicate that Eskom should concentrate on generating power and leave new build projects to professional project managers. The Medupi power station is two years late for a number of reasons, a major contributor being the boiler protection software which is part of the plant’s control and instrumentation system, and which keeps failing Eskom’s acceptance tests, but which should have been handed over to the utility in December 2012… (more)

EE Publishers has received substantial information that Eskom is currently in the process of terminating the Alstom boiler protection contract at Medupi power station. The boiler protection software in a coal-fired power station is a critical safely item subject to stringent regulatory controls. In the light of Eskom’s negative experience with Alstom, the utility intends to appoint an alternative contractor (likely to be Siemens) to complete the job. A change in software supplier by Eskom at this late stage poses further serious risks to the delivery of first power from Medupi, currently scheduled for the second half of 2014… (more)

The minister of public enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, has launched the official intake of 1000 additional artisan learners to be trained at six Transnet Engineering (TE) facilities across the country. The launch took place at Transnet’s School of Engineering in Salt River, Cape Town. The Department of Public Enterprises in collaboration with the Department of Higher Education and Training and Transnet commenced a programme to oversee the optimisation of State Owned Companies’ (SOCs) training facilities by enrolling additional artisans for the national pool to address the shortage of scarce and critical skills needed in the country in support of the New Growth Path… (more)

On 5 December 2013, Afrikaans business rights watchdog organisation, AfriSake, initiated court proceedings to prevent a contract between the City of Tshwane (Pretoria) and private service provider PEU Capital Partners (Pty) Ltd (PEU) from proceeding. The contract, with service fees to PEU estimated to be in excess of R27-billion over the contract period, was established in May 2013, when the City of Tshwane approved a 10-year arrangement to outsource its entire electricity metering and revenue collection activity to a private company, PEU… (more)

It’s time for South Africa to celebrate a major win. With the announcement of the successful bidders in bid window 3 of the REIPPP behind us, we should reflect on what the renewable energy industry has achieved over the last two to three years through the REIPPP process. With close to R150-billion worth of projects either under construction or soon to be when the projects of round three reach financial close, there is no doubt that we have an industry that’s delivering significant benefits to South Africa and its people… (more)

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