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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)

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)

I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the 24th AMEU Technical Convention here at ICC East London, hosted by Buffalo City
Metropolitan Municipality. I trust that you will enjoy your time with us and that the AMEU convention programme for the next three days and the affiliate’s sports day will fulfill all your expectations. I want to thank the 2013 convention team for their effort in ensuring that this event is a resounding success, taking into account the increased challenges year by year to keep up with the standards set by our predecessors… (more)

It is truly a great honour and privilege to welcome all of you to the beautiful Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, which holds its place in the country’s history as having been named after a river (Buffalo River), at whose mouth lies the only river port in South Africa. That we have chosen Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality to host this year’s technology convention is quite fitting with the theme of the conference which seeks to focus our attention to how best municipal electricity utilities can support South Africa’s infrastructure and service delivery objectives. Buffalo City, like many municipalities across the country, is facing a number of infrastructure and service delivery challenges. These are hindering its ability to increase its contribution to the country’s
economic growth and providing a better life for all. This is after all, part of the reason we exist… (more)

A good working relationship has been established between the Department of Energy (DoE) and the AMEU, and this longstanding relationship is appreciated. The important role that the AMEU is playing, not only in keeping the lights on at a municipal level, but also as a professional association that is operating on different levels within the energy environment, is recognised and valued… (more)

On behalf of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, NERSA, it is my pleasure and honour to be given the opportunity to say a few words at this Convention under the theme of “Supporting SA infrastructure and service delivery objectives.” This is indeed an important theme to explore over the next three days, particularly in light of the current infrastructure development programmes on which our country has embarked upon as well as quality of supply challenges as they are being experienced by customers. It is true that almost twenty years into democracy, the country still faces the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The country still remains a highly unequal society where too many people live in poverty and very few work. To eliminate poverty and reduce this inequality, there is an urgent need to grow the economy faster and in ways that benefit all South Africans… (more)

It gives me great pleasure to address you on this important occasion of your convention, assembling as it does during the important period in our country when we have resolved to make the important and yet decisive turn towards more meaningful, radical and faster economic transformation… (more)

South Africa’s electricity supply industry stands at the threshold of critical transformation. This moment presents an opportunity for innovation to improve service delivery and to enhance industry sustainability. However, it also requires important decisions to be made for the optimal deployment of available resources… (more)

A disaster can be defined as a progressive or sudden, widespread or localised, natural or human-caused occurrence which causes or threatens to cause death, injury or disease, damage to property, infrastructure or the environment, or disruption of the life of a
community and is of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected by the disaster to cope with its effects using only their own
resources… (more)

eThekwini Municipality’s integrated development plan includes a quality living environment programme. Asset management is included in this programme. The integrated asset management plan includes the management of electricity, water and sanitation, roads, transport, parks and leisure, stormwater, solid waste and property and buildings assets… (more)

Whether they are called cities or towns or municipalities, local government organisations of all forms around the world shoulder the same responsibility to provide essential services to their constituents. Amid flat or shrinking budgets, local governments today are expected to accomplish more with fewer resources. Municipalities are under pressure to rollout services to more constituents while maintaining good levels of service, but they often struggle… (more)

An Eskom-funded demand response (DR) pilot, for which Comverge provided aggregator and CSP services from 2011 to March 2013, achieved significant outcomes proving that the market is ready for DR. Municipalities, using ripple control relays, played an important role during the pilot but there is still much more value to be gained. This presentation showed key lessons learned, challenges encountered, and incremental benefits to municipalities well beyond conventional DR… (more)

This paper will cover the evolution of MV power cables over the last century and will cover some pros and cons of all the different types of insulation mediums utilised for MV power cables. In South Africa most utilities still install three-core paper insulated lead covered (PILC) cables and are considering three-core cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulated cables. No utilities install three-core ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) insulated cables which are extensively utilised in the mining industries… (more)

As growing demand for electricity continues to stress the electrical transmission grid, many transmission lines have become thermally constrained. These constraints are due to the subsequent sag that occurs as bare overhead conductors are operated at higher loads and temperatures, due to their high coefficients of thermal expansion… (more)

China introduced ground-breaking legislation in 2005, the Renewable Energy Law of the People’s Republic of China. The “Renewable Energy Law” was a national framework to promote the uptake of renewable energy (RE) throughout the country… (more)

Most renewable generation will have the ability to either generate and/or absorb reactive power. However, that
does not necessarily mean that the plant (wind or solar) will be grid compliant. This paper will illustrate the
relationship between the plant capabilities and the grid code and identify some of the key factors that determine
if auxiliary compensation equipment is needed to obtain compliance… (more)

Embedded generation (EG) could provide many benefits in terms of reduction of system technical losses and increased load carrying capacity. EG options are being focused on by users of electricity in South Africa in order to improve energy savings and increase revenues derived from the sale of electricity… (more)

Globally the developing world is characterized by large inflows of people into urban areas giving rise to large informal settlements. In South Africa government estimates that around 10% of South Africa’s 51-million people live in un-proclaimed urban informal settlements. This equates to more than 5,1-million households. In May 2010, the President’s Coordinating Council estimated that South Africa has a housing backlog of 2,1-million housing units, affecting 12-million people in 2700 informal settlements… (more)

This paper describes GIBB’s experience and presents some of the key challenges in undertaking projects of this nature
in deep rural communities. Some of the major benefits which have arisen due to these undertakings are presented. New access to household electrification potentially affects both home and market production in ways which change the nature of work in the home and in ways that increase market labour. Providing new public infrastructure to a location may also induce employed and unemployed individuals to migrate into the area…(more)

Eskom, acting as the electricity agent of the government, through the Department of Energy (DoE) and Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), has been mandated to execute the on-going government-funded electrification programme to meet the extended goals of the Universal Access Plan… (more)

Most South African electricity utilities, especially within municipal jurisdictions, only monitor performance and compliance requirements of their business processes against the requirements of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). Other important business aspects are ignored because they are not mentioned in the IDP… (more)

Mention the word “Medupi”, and faces go red with embarrassment, angers flare and all kinds of comments and explanations are offered. The reality is that we need additional supply capacity, that we are facing all kinds of challenges to build new power stations and implement renewable IPP solutions… (more)

Regulations have and still play a major role in the successful penetration of renewable energies in the power grid. In South Africa, the White Paper on Renewable Energy of 2003 has set a target of 10 000 GWh of energy to be produced from renewable energy sources (mainly from biomass, wind, solar and small-scale hydro) by 2013. The incorporation of these renewable technologies, especially wind and solar, can only happen through unlimited access to the power grid… (more)

Electricity utilities in Africa are faced with numerous environmental and safety challenges. Some of these include public pressure (consumer pressure, lobbying, voter preferences), new standards and legislation (Constitution, ISO14001), new business opportunities (attracting and retaining customers, reducing, re-using and recycling materials), reduction of risk (financial, legal, ecological and reputational) and ethical or moral considerations, given the current safety concerns across industries and the climate change and environmental crisis… (more)

A summary report on the investigation and proposals following an electrical incident that occurred on 11 March 2013 at a switching station in Boksburg that resulted in the injury of four council employees… (more)

The challenges of electrification of many new and existing distribution networks are at the cusp of the evolution of the smart grid. Utilities are charged with meeting network performance measures and improving network infrastructure whilst facing cost down pressures… (more)


Deploying the smart grid into the LV network creates a number of challenges relating to the sheer size, security and reliability of the network. If we are to obtain maximum benefit from the LV smart grid the network has to support both command and control as well as information retrieval. This paper examines how features such as: operations and maintenance, asset management, network planning, theft detection, customer communications, tariff structures, load management and matching impact LV smart grid networking requirements… (more)

Smart grids are seen as a combination of technologies, not just the power products and systems forming the physical transportation of electrical energy. Information technology such as smart meters, advanced SCADA systems, forecasting tools, business intelligence and many other examples of modern software solutions are adding smartness to the power system parts of tomorrow’s smart grid networks… (more)

As municipalities struggle with revenue collection, the issue of accurate billing and credit control is becoming more and more important. This calls for intelligent systems to help the billing team to minimise billing errors and to cope with the volume of additional customers coming online on daily basis. This paper outlines the approach adopted by City Power, a Johannesburg municipal owned entity, to address current challenges as part of the smart grid concept… (more)

It is expected that the global urban population will grow by about 44-million people every year. Of this world population 70% is expected to live in cities by 2050. This puts huge stress on resources and forces us to change the way we think and operate cities. We need to do more with less… (more)

Public policies, environmental and energy saving concerns are driving the local take-up of energy-efficient lighting. LED, or solid-state lighting solutions are becoming more and more popular, owing to their excellent levels of performance and rapidly falling prices. The lighting industry’s need for proper international standards or local standards to ensure the safety and measure the performance of LED products is obvious. As new products are being introduced rapidly, new standards are required quickly. Manufacturers claim the standardisation of performance requirements is an important first step towards fair comparison of luminaires… (more)

As a physicist by training, I tend to think in numbers. As the chief executive of Eskom, I focus on many numbers, but one number in particular – 4,3-million – has great meaning to me because that’s how many households Eskom has brought electricity access to since 1990. These new connections have brought social development and economic opportunities to many. South Africa’s approach has become a model for other countries. Yet it is precisely the scope of this success that has created new and complex challenges for our country, putting serious strain on our existing infrastructure. That is why it is more important than ever that the utility not only continues its short-term activities, but doubles its efforts to complete the longer-term new build programme, while beginning a process of changing the way this country consumes its resources… (more)

The 7th Cigré southern African regional conference was held at the Lord Charles hotel in Somerset West from 7 – 11 October 2013. The program consisted of a day of tutorials, a study group colloquium, two days of technical papers and a day of technical visits. An interview of Klaus Frölich, president of Cigré, is included… (more)

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