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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)

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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)

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)

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)

The intermittent nature of many renewable energy (RE) systems makes them unsuitable for use as a sole source of supply, but combining different RE technologies or combining them with other conventional forms of generation can give better overall performance… (more)

 

With a number of tower blocks in downtown Johannesburg, ABSA has made use of rooftop space to construct SA’s largest groundmount-style, rooftop-based PV system eight storeys above street level… (more)

Telecommunications networks using radio or optic fibre-based systems require power at all points in the network. In rural areas grid power is often not available in the area, or close to the site of the installation… (more)

NERSA has released the results of licence condition audits of 18 municipalities which were undertaken in 2011 and 2012. Results show a range of compliance from extremely poor to excellent, with deterioration of plant featuring prominently in all cases. The question arises of what actions will be taken as a result of the audit and how can these municipalities be assisted to improve compliance… (more)

Theft of copper conductors has become a major problem in the electricity distribution industry. In addition to theft of feed conductors, theft of earthing conductors at substations and other installations places the safety of the whole network at risk… (more)

Large scale storage of electricity is becoming an increasingly important sector of the industry, with applications in generation, electric vehicles, load balancing and many other areas. Research is focused on developing new technologies as well as improving and advancing older systems. The cost of storage, which has been regarded as prohibitive in the past, is deceasing as a result, and the capacity of storage devices is increasing, making storage a valuable component of generation and distribution systems… (more)

The virtual power station (VPS) concept combines a number of separate distributed resources to behave as a single larger resource, to make additional generation capacity available on the grid. The resources may be generation plant or curtailable loads. Eskom has recently added its own generation to the portfolio of its demand management program… (more)

With a number of tower blocks in downtown Johannesburg, ABSA has made use of rooftop space to construct the largest groundmount style rooftop based PV system at a height above street level in South Africa… (more)

Telecommunications networks using radio or optic fibre based systems require power at all points in the network. In rural areas grid power is often not available in the area, or close to the site of the installation. Equipment consumption is usually less than 1 kW, and the cost of providing a grid connection for low consumption is prohibitive. In these cases solar PV systems provide an ideal alternative solution… (more)

 

South Africa is on the brink of introducing a system of carbon taxes, and in May 2013 the treasury published the carbon tax policy paper for public comment. The paper has indeed attracted a great deal of comment in the media. Predictably, all the comment has been negative, with criticism leveled against the tax proposal itself, the manner in which it will be introduced, the reasons given for its introduction, the levels of taxation and many other issues… (more)

Underground coal gasification (UCG) coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS) offers huge potential as a method of exploiting large coal resources on land and offshore. In addition to numerous projects worldwide, there are several projects both active and being planned in South Africa… (more)

Dry type cast resin transformers have been on the market for several years and have significant advantages over oil filled ones in many applications. A local company has set up plant to manufacture resin cast transformers and has produced the first batch for delivery to customers… (more)

Liquid waste handled by municipal wastewater treatment plants is being recognised as a source of biofuel that can be used to produce electricity in sufficient volumes to reduce the electrical load of the water treatment plant, and even produce surplus power to feed into the grid… (more)

AC power circuits and components are designed to cater for pure sinusoidal voltage and current waveforms. In many applications, distorted current and sometimes voltage waveforms are encountered, which can have deleterious effects on circuits and components… (more)

During the recent floods in Mozambique a section of the Cahora Bassa HVDC line was damaged. This had a huge impact on the transfer of power between Mozambique and South Africa with one of the 533 kV DC lines out of service. Quanta Services Africa was awarded the contract in February for the short term emergency restoration of this line… (more)

Power factor correction (PFC) is generally applied to save on maximum demand charges or power factor penalties levied by electricity distributers. If properly applied, PFC can also reduce energy consumption in many types of installation… (more)

EE Publishers is pleased to announce changes in the editorial team of Energize which will take place from the June edition. Roger Lilley, who recently joined EE Publishers, will take over as editor of Energize… (more)

Much has been said recently about the shortage of qualified entrants into the engineering profession in particular and technology based careers in general. The blame is generally placed on the shortcomings in the education system and its inability to prepare learners for careers, particularly in the teaching of mathematics and science. Part of the problem could be that secondary and even tertiary education is too broad, too general, not sufficiently career based and is more aimed at producing academic qualifications than employable staff. This editorial has its roots in two recent visits, occurring within a short space of one another… (more)

It is estimated that South African mineral smelters and chemical processes have the potential to generate more than 2000 MW of electricity from waste gases. In addition to reducing grid energy consumption, projects of this type qualify for clean development mechanism (CDM) funding and are becoming more and more popular as electricity prices rise… (more)

When call centres were introduced several years ago, they were regarded as the ultimate in efficient handling of fault reports and complaints from customers. The current reality is that poor training and poor management makes them ineffective and virtually inoperative… (more)

It is traditional for the first issue of a new year to take a look at what the year ahead holds. Crystal gazing gives a murky picture, but one thing is certain: with no prospect of any substantial amount of new generation capacity coming on stream until late in 2013, or even worse, early in 2014, the electricity supply situation is going to remain tight for most of the year… (more)

The history of Cigré in South Africa? How long has Cigré has been going in South Africa? Cigré has been going in South Africa for about 70-80 years. There are certain rules that you have to abide by to set up a national committee such as having a certain number of local members, putting together a constitution and submitting  that to Cigré in Paris. If you look at New Zealand as the latest national committee, they used to be part of the Australian national committee, and Cigré have just allowed them to join as an independent national committee… (more)

One of the most regular claims that appears in the news is that the cost of renewable energy is constantly declining, and may soon approach parity with grid electricity. The increasing use of solar PV in urban off-grid systems, particularly for non-essential applications,  seems to give credibility to these statements, and there could be a developing market for such systems in this country… (more)

While government departments and Eskom are forging ahead with plans and programmes to ensure that all is in place to facilitate meeting the planned 9600 MW of nuclear power generation included in the IRP 2030, industry, who will have to provide the plant, are waiting in the wings, hamstrung by a lack of commitment to plans. Government has the National Nuclear Electricity Executive Co-ordinating committee (NNEECC or NEC2), and the Nuclear Energy Technical Committee, who advises the above, and both are busy with self-assessment exercise to establish the readiness of the country to proceed with the plan… (more)

Eskom has managed to pull us through the winter peak without a single unplanned blackout. Well done. But we are still running close to the edge, and failure of any energy sources could put us in the pit. This was achieved at a cost of shutdowns in industry, power buy-backs etc., as well as as well documented impact on economic growth in the country. So we are still in crisis mode, and unless action is taken soon we will remain there for along time to come… (more)

The initiative was born in 2008 when I met my partner and colleague Dr. Michael Kast, during a tender briefing at Eskom about the setup of a 100 MW wind farm.  After the tender meeting I met my partner on several occasions and we further discussed the option to at least manufacture components for large scale wind turbines in South Africa… (more)

Small power generators and IPPs have come into the spotlight with the announcement by Eskom that own-generation will be included in the IDM program and by the DOE of the REIPP for small generators. It would appear that the small operator is finally being recognised, and the market for small generation is expected to take off as a result… (more)

The Cigré Steering committee held its 2012 meeting from 24 to 27 April at the Thandeka lodge in the Waterberg. The meeting included an Africa day on 26 April, where South African companies, Powertech Transformers, Pfisterer, and Eskom gave presentations on the work done by their companies to the committee. Mike Rycroft Editor of Energize, attended the meeting and interviewed the President, Andre Merlin… (more)

Carbon taxes and levies have the effect of increasing the price of energy in the countries where they are introduced, and this is causing migration of manufacturers to countries with less stringent emission control laws. This so-called “carbon leakage” is becoming a major concern, and countries  are introducing a host of mitigation measures to plug this “leakage”. This country would be well advised to consider the experience of others before putting a price on carbon… (more)

The RFI issued in December 2011 by the Department of Energy for non-renewable IPPs achieved an amazing response totaling some 61 000 MW, 50% more than our total generating capacity. Sub-Saharan Africa is said to be an energy poor region, but this response shows that the potential to generate adequate electricity for the region’s needs exists… (more)

I started off my career as a software engineer working on a project at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station for the first year. Later IST got involved with software and hardware development projects through securing the RTU and SCADA contracts with Eskom. This development work was performed in partnership with the then Westinghouse Systems UK. This involved me working on and off in the UK with Westinghouse from 1992 – 1994 on the so-called SMART SCADA systems for Eskom Distribution. With the introduction of standard products supplied by IST into the South African market, customer support and software debugging became a part of my life!… (more)

Live line working entails contact by linemen with energised conductors. Various techniques have been used, including the use of helicopters, aerial platforms, ladders and other methods to insulate the linemen from earth. Development of a robotic arm which can hold conductors while work is being done has considerably simplified the process and improved safety… (more)

The recent increase in electricity tariffs is certain to effect margins for energy intensive companies. South African Calcium Carbide (SACC) have opted to develop a co-generation facility using flare gas from the production process to reduce the impact of higher tariffs and increase production capability… (more)

by Mike Rycroft, Mark Botha and Chris Yelland, EE Publishers
 
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. But the adjustment did not develop in line with expectations, and price increases much higher than inflation are expected for many years to come… (more)

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