- Staff Writer, 20 April 2015Read more
Utility scale renewable energy is alive and well in South Africa with the Department of Energy announcing the preferred bidders for bidding window 4 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme. Thirteen more renewable energy IPPs totalling 1 121 MW in the wind, solar PV, biomass and small hydro sectors will now attempt to reach financial close of their projects in the last quarter of the year.
This takes the number of privately developed utility scale renewable energy power plants to 79, representing a generation capacity of 5 243 MW and R169 billion of private investment. The plants are all in various stages of development, with most of the window one and two plants already online. In addition to the REIPPP plants, Eskom has built the Sere Wind Farm and has plans for a concentrated solar power plant in the Northern Cape.
Minister of Energy, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, also announced that bidding window 4 of the REIPPP will be extended by a further 1 800 MW to reconsider unsuccessful project bids from windows 1 to 4. In addition, the Minister also announced 6 300 MW for renewable energy IPPs beyond bidding window 5 of the REIPPP.
Some of the wind energy projects have come in at a tariff of 60c per kWh. This is well below Eskom's average tariff of 76c kWh. Most of the solar photovoltaic projects are now below 80c kWh.
The announcements were welcomed by proponents of renewable energy in South Africa after lengthy delays in announcing the new batch of preferred bidders and stumbling blocks experienced by window 3 projects in reaching financial close.
The thirteen new plants are listed as follows:
- Ngodwana Energy Project, Ngodwana (Mpumalanga) - 25 MW (SAPPI)
- Roggeveld Wind Farm, Sutherland (Northern Cape) - 140 MW (Building Energy)
- The Karusa Wind Farm, Sutherland (Northern Cape) - 140 MW (Enel Green Power)
- The Nxuba Wind Farm, Cookhouse (Eastern Cape) - 139 MW (Enel Green Power)
- Golden Valley Wind, Cookhouse (Eastern Cape) - 117 MW (Biotherm Energy)
- Oyster Bay Wind Farm, Oyster Bay (Eastern Cape) - 140 MW (Enel Green Power)
- Sirius Solar PV Project One, Upington (Northern Cape) - 75 MW (Scatec Solar)
- Droogfontein 2 Solar, Kimberley (Northern Cape) - 75 MW (SunEdison)
- Dyason's Klip 1, Upington (Northern Cape) - 75 MW (Scatec Solar)
- Dyason's Klip 2, Upington (Northern Cape) - 75 MW (Scatec Solar)
- Konkoonsies II Solar Facility, Pofadder (Northern Cape) - 75 MW (Biotherm Energy)
- Aggeneys Solar Project, Aggeneys (Northern Cape) - 40 MW (Biotherm Energy)
- Kruisvallei Hydro, Bethlehem (Free State) - 5MW (Building Energy)
Image: Biotherm Energy's Konkoonsies Solar PV plant near Pofadder, Northern Cape (Image credit:Biotherm Energy)
- Kenneth Fullerton, 15 April 2015Read more
Ken Fullerton, a Field Specialist at PlaNet Finance and based in Johannesburg, South Africa, works in the field of sustainable development. He recently caught up with Sarah Soloane, a social entrepreneur, EnerGcare Independent Distributor, promoter of off-grid renewable energy solutions and winner of the Renewable Energy Prize at the International Micro Entrepreneurship Awards held in Paris, France in December 2014 to learn more about what has made her successful and how others can learn from her experiences and lessons. Read further to see what she had to say.
What does your role as an EnerGcare Independent Distributor entail?
My role involves helping people in my community to have reliable access to energy, help overcome unemployment and other social problems. The EnerGcare products are affordable to many people. I am responsible for marketing and selling off-grid clean energy products and I use many different approaches to do this.
When you first started what were your expectations?
When I first started I wanted to grow myself and help people in my community. One day I want to have my own shop where I sell my products and continue to serve my community. I also wanted my people to learn about energy saving products and why they should buy and use them.
Why do you consider yourself to be a social entrepreneur?
I particularly wish to serve the youth and women in my community and help to uplift their lives so that they can stand for themselves and do something for a better life. Many of my people live in bad conditions in shacks and do not have basic services. By helping them with such products I want people to learn from me, improve their knowledge and encourage them to work for themselves and be ambitious.
Tell us a bit more about the range of products you promote. Why are they socially beneficial to others?
There are a wide range of EnerGcare products. There are products for lighting, cooking and for charging your cell phone. The product that I have been the most successful at promoting is the EcoZoom efficient cook stove. All the products are easy and safe to use, help the user save money because they are efficient, they are healthier than many of the products currently being used (such as candles, paraffin/kerosene and brazier cook stoves) and they are reliable. They are socially beneficial because they are helping people overcome many of the energy challenges being faced in South Africa such as no electricity connection, high electricity, paraffin and oil costs and power cuts.
What strategies and techniques do you use to market and sell these energy efficient products to potential customers?
I use a variety of different strategies and I understand that sometimes different ones are more likely to use than others. In order to market and sell my products I make use of a wide range of marketing materials provided to me (such as EnerGcare branded banners, clothing, flyers and posters) and I use demonstration products to explain to people how a product actually works and what its benefits are. I market products in different locations such as through my church network, by going house to house and door knocking, by distributing marketing materials and through family and friends. Because of the hard work I have already put in and the efforts I have made I am now starting to get referrals where potential new customers phone me after having heard about me from an existing customer. This shows that interest is growing and people are looking for affordable new solutions to the energy challenges they face.
Are there any key features, techniques or aspects that you believe define you as a social entrepreneur rather than just a ‘regular’ one?
My personality and who I am today has been largely influenced by my background. I grew up in a rural village and saw first-hand how hard my parents had to work to look after me. My mother regularly had to walk long distances to collect water and firewood, it was difficult for me to learn due to a lack of electricity and my family had very little money to purchase candles. Since my youth I have always maintained a strong desire to help other people particularly because many families are still living in the dark.
How does your community feel about what you are doing and the products you are providing? Have you had positive reactions from them?
I feel that my community thinks that they are very lucky to have me as I share knowledge and information with them and bring them solutions to their energy problems. Women, in particular, appreciate the role I do because I am sharing history with them and together we can turn the old history into the new future. After returning from Paris with my International Micro Entrepreneurships Award many of the ladies in my church group took me out to lunch to congratulate me. I found that very special.
What would your advice be to other aspiring social entrepreneurs looking to make a positive impact on their communities?
People must do something to support and stand up for themselves if they are unable to find a job. They should not just wait for the government to do something for them as this sets a bad example to others and might not ever happen. The South African government is currently overwhelmed trying to rectify many socio-economic development challenges. I am willing to give further advice and support if people contact me like I did when I was a panel speaker at the recently held Citi Micro Entrepreneurship Awards event in Johannesburg. People can sell anything that can help them in life as they must want to support themselves and their families properly.
How was the experience of attending the International Micro Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony in Paris? It must have been amazing!
It was excellent, it was wonderful! Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be invited abroad and get to go to Paris to receive an award at an international ceremony. I thank God for the chance to be selected as an entrepreneur and to show everyone the potential I have to grow and continue succeeding by helping others. I will never forgot the memory.
Sarah, do you have any final advice or thoughts to share?
My advice is that to be an entrepreneur you don’t always need to have a formal education. You need to have the desire to help yourself and others around you. You also need to be persistent and believe in yourself as you are likely to have challenges along the way.
- eThekwini Energy Office, 16 March 2015Read more
EThekwini Municipality in its commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change is continuously facilitating and implementing a range of renewable energy projects in the city. The Energy Office has been spearheading a number of initiatives to prepare Durban for a future with a higher level of decentralized, renewable energy generation in the city. In recognizing the need for a strategic and co-ordinated approach to facilitating these projects, the Energy Office has developed the "Durban Solar City Framework" that focusses on electricity generation through photovoltaic panels.
Key aspects of the Framework are to create awareness of this solar energy technology, to educate and empower potential solar energy users, and to create a market for solar products.
The center-piece of the Durban Solar City Framework is the Durban Solar Map. The Solar Map is a powerful tool to assist potential users of solar energy to assess the potential of solar electricity generation of their roof spaces, and to link potential customers with solar professionals.
The Durban Solar Map is an interactive and easy to use website that covers the entire eThekwini Municipality. The website is based on aerial photography and permits the users to locate their building, and to quickly and easily obtain an estimate of the solar energy that could be produced by photovoltaic panels on their rooftop along with data on the financial attractiveness of such investment.
Users can search for their address and visually identify their roof. They will then be instructed to outline the area where they consider installing photovoltaic panels. This potential installation will then be assessed and basic information will be presented instantaneously, including the size of the installation (in m² and in kWp), the electricity is will generate (in kWh per annum), the investment costs and the potential savings on the electricity bill. Go to www.durbansolarmap.co.za to view the map.
- EDF Energies Nouvelles, 29 January 2015Read more
EDF Energies Nouvelles is announcing the commissioning of the Grassridge wind farm in South Africa by InnoWind, its local subsidiary. This wind farm, which has an installed capacity of over 60 MW, is the first of the group to be developed, built and operated on the African continent.
Located in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality of the Eastern Cape province, the 61.5 MW Grassridge wind farm consists of 20 Vestas V112 wind turbines, each with a unit capacity of 3.075 MW. The Grassridge wind farm is the first of the three projects awarded to EDF Energies Nouvelles in 2012 under the competitive tender for renewable energies projects held by the South African government. The electricity generated at the Grassridge facility is bought by the grid operator under a 20-year power purchase agreement. In line with the tender specifications, a portion of the revenue from the sale of electricity is to be used to promote enterprise and the local economy. The Grassridge wind farm is thus 40%-owned by local partners and 60%-owned by InnoWind (an 80%-held subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles).
Antoine Cahuzac, Chief Executive Officer of EDF Energies Nouvelles, commented: "The commissioning of EDF Energies Nouvelles' first wind farm in South Africa, a country that has been pursuing a major drive to promote renewable energies since 2011, represents an important milestone in the company's international expansion. Our South African affiliate's cooperation with local partners demonstrates our desire to build solid roots and champion local development."
- South African Renewable Energy Council, 28 January 2015Read more
The South African Renewable Energy Council welcomes the conclusions of a recent CSIR report showing that the net cost of South Africa's renewable energy in 2014 was less than zero and reiterates that the industry is willing, ready and able to do much more to ease the country's electricity shortage, now predicted to lead to load shedding for the next 3 – 5 years.
The CSIR report "Financial benefits of renewables in South Africa in 2014", released on 21 January 2015, demonstrates that the 1,600 MW of renewable energy installed by December 2014 has saved the country ZAR 5.3 billion in diesel, coal and avoided load shedding while costing the country only ZAR 4.5 billion in tariffs.
"The results of this study truly underline the economic value of renewable energy to the South African electricity consumer", said Mike Levington, board member of SAREC who has been participating in recent discussions between government and business. "While Round 3 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme ("REIPPPP") has seen the prices for electricity from the major renewable technologies generally fall well below the likely cost for new Eskom power, the constrained grid and the very high costs for diesel/load shedding have meant that renewables built under Round 1 saved the country more in 2014 than they cost."
The CSIR report noted that the country was saved ZAR 3.7 billion in diesel and coal fuel costs and a further ZAR 1.6 billion through the avoidance of 120 hours of load shedding. Government's far-sightedness in establishing REIPPPPP in 2011 is now yielding dividends in making a measureable contribution to easing Eskom supply problems and will contribute even more as the plants presently under construction come online on a continuous basis through 2015 and beyond. Moreover, it is expected that the preferred bidders for Round 4 will be announced soon, potentially putting another 1,100 MW of renewable energy into the pipeline to produce electricity. The CSIR report was done on conservative assumptions and did not factor in the job creation and socio-economic benefits of the REIPPPP programme, with more than ZAR 11 billion already pledged by the industry for investment into rural communities over the next twenty years.
Professor Wikus van Niekerk of Stellenbosch University's Centre for Renewable & Sustainable Energy Studies is unequivocal in his response: "We are electricity constrained as a country and using far more peaking power for mid-merit generation than we should", he asserted. "Renewable Energy, particularly wind and PV, are "fuel-savers" and could therefore make a significant contribution at this time, saving Eskom and the country money. There are however a number of barriers to particular for roof PV projects put in place by Eskom that need to be addressed to allow even Eskom-subsidised projects to connect to the grid. A reasonable feed-in tariff for rooftop PV - lower than at the Eskom generation cost at Medupi and Kusile - could facilitate a number of roof to PV projects to come online, still in this year."
Pancho Ndebele, also of the SAREC Board, stresses that renewable energy is the most feasible supply option that can be deployed at scale within the timeframe of the severe electricity crunch. "A total of 6,000 MW of renewable energy projects were bid in Round 4 of REIPPPP", he stressed. "These are projects that have done all feasibilities, received environmental and all other regulatory approvals and have been assessed by lending institutions as being financially sound. They are ready for implementation and will be funded by private capital at very affordable rates. Importantly, a number of these projects can be constructed and connected to the grid in a 14-24 months' time frame. In light of the load shedding and fuel savings demonstrated in the CSIR study, these projects can take considerable pressure off diesel purchases and load shedding schedules. Other supply options, when large, tend to be ten or more years away, and if smaller tend to be still more than five years away. Renewable energy is a viable part of the solution to the present supply crisis. With about ZAR 1 billion per month being spent on diesel and load shedding costing the country ZAR 87/kWh, we should aggressively increase our renewables ambition."
Carryn Bateman, who represents SESSA on the SAREC Board, adds that the present crisis is one to which SESSA members have a lot to contribute. "Rooftop Solar PV is perhaps the fastest supply side solution available", she points out. "And it can be done at significant scale close to where the electricity is needed". Her colleague James Green, who heads SESSA's solar water heater division, agreed and said that solar water heaters had the potential to significantly alleviate the electricity crisis. "We can install about 50,000 high pressure units before year end", he predicted, "saving the country a usage of 8 kW daily in each case, and also removing all peak from those electric geysers going solar. This a fast track for getting both GWh and peak off the grid, with payback to consumers in less than 5 years.
Proponents of wind energy are equally enthused. Mark Tanton, SAREC Board member representing SAWEA, stressed that for wind, 0.6 GW of wind installed saved the system real cash on a net basis, because the pure fuel savings value of wind was 0.23 R/kWh higher than the cost of the wind power produced. "If avoided load shedding is added, the value of wind power to the country is even more compelling", he asserted.
- CSIR (South Africa), 21 January 2015Read more
Renewable energy has benefited South Africa, a study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has found. The independent study by the CSIR found that renewable energy from the country’s first wind and solar (photovoltaic) projects created R800 million more financial benefits for the country than they cost during 2014.
The study was conducted against the backdrop of the Department of Energy running its procurement programme to expand the generation capacity in the country. It has already procured close to 4 000 MW of renewable capacity (mainly wind and solar) from independent power producers (IPPs).
According to the chief engineer at the Integrated Energy Research Centre at the CSIR, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, the study was based on actual hourly production data for the different supply categories of the power system.
“The benefits earned were two-fold. The first benefit, derived from diesel and coal fuel cost savings, is pinned at R3.7 billion. This is because 2.2 terawatt-hours of wind and solar energy replaced the electricity that would have otherwise been generated from diesel and coal.”
The second benefit of R1.6 billion is a saving to the economy derived from almost 120 hours of so-called “unserved energy” that were avoided thanks to the contribution of the wind and solar projects. During these hours the supply situation was so tight that some customers’ energy supply would have had to be curtailed (“unserved”) if it had not been for the renewables.
“Therefore, renewables contributed benefits of R5.3 billion in total (or R2.42 per kWh of renewable energy), while the tariff payments to independent power producers of the first wind and photovoltaic (PV) projects were only R4.5 billion (or R2.08 per kWh of renewable energy), leaving a net benefit of R0.8 billion,” said the CSIR.
“We’ve developed a methodology at the CSIR Energy Centre to determine whether at any given hour of the year renewables have replaced coal or diesel generators, or whether they have even prevented so-called ‘unserved energy’,” said Bischof-Niemz.
This CSIR methodology was fed with cost assumptions from publicly available sources, such as power utility Eskom’s interim financial results 2014 for coal and diesel costs, or the Department of Energy’s publications on the average tariffs of the first renewables projects, or the Integrated Resource Plan on the cost of unserved energy.
“Our study shows that in 2014, renewable energy provided a net financial benefit to the country. Without the first solar and wind projects, we would have spent significant additional amounts on diesel, and energy would have had to be “unserved” during approximately 120 additional hours in 2014,” said Bischof-Niemz.
“What is more, the cost per kWh of renewable energy for new projects is now well below R1 for solar PV and between 60c - 80c for wind projects. That will keep the net financial benefits of renewables positive, even in a future with a less constrained power system,” he added.
The CSIR is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa.
The results of the study can be found here: http://bit.ly/183iok2
- Centre for Renewable & Sustainable Energy Studies, 21 November 2014Read more
Stellenbosch University, in cooperation with GeoSUN Africa and GeoModel Solar, this week released updated solar maps for South Africa. The German Government, through their development agency the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), made funding available for this task, as well as to install six radiometric stations in South Africa, in areas where high accuracy ground measurements were not available.Solar resource data from these stations as well as other stations were used by the Slovakia-based company GeoModel Solar to update the existing SolarGIS satellitederived solar resource database, from which these maps are constructed.
This week, two maps were released, showing Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI) and Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI). The DNI map is used by developers of CSP (concentrating solar power) thermal power stations as well as CPV (concentrating photovoltaic) power stations to evaluate the available resource in an area for their technology. The highest DNI predicted in South Africa is now 3 200 kWh/m2 per annum in the Northern Cape. The accuracy-enhanced database shows DNI values higher, up to 10% in some areas, compared the previous database, positioning South Africa as an excellent candidate for CSP power stations. The updated yearly GHI is also higher at about 3%, confirming vast and unique potential for photovoltaic (PV) power.
This is the first time in the history that such a large number of high-quality ground-measured data sets were used to update the satellite-based solar maps in Africa. Up to fourteen radiometric stations’ data were used, from Durban and Vryheid in KwaZulu/Natal, to Port Elizabeth, Graaff Reinet, Vanrhynsdorp, Sutherland and Stellenbosch in the Western and Eastern Cape to Bloemfontein, Aggeneys and Upington in the Northern Cape and Free State. In the northern part of the country, data from Sasolburg, Pretoria and Lephalale were used.
The maps will be available on the website of the Southern African Universities Radiometric Network (SAURAN). This network consists of 12 radiometric measurement stations in Southern Africa and on the island of Reunion equipped with top-class instrumentation to measure solar irradiation and other meteorological parameters. The measured data and the new solar maps are made publically available on the SAURAN website, for free download. “This is the first time that high quality measured solar data is available in the public domain. This is a great example how foreign public funding can support the important solar energy industry in South Africa” said Dr Soeren David, Progamme Manager of the South African – German Energy Programme who funded the project. The main purpose of making the data available is to promote the use of solar energy in SADC countries and to improve the accuracy of satellite-derived solar data available for the area.
The purpose of placing the maps in the public domain is to make it possible for industry and public to assess the solar resource at any site of interest in the country. By providing accurate information the maps support cost-effective decision-making already in the preliminary stages of a solar power project development. Once an area and a technology is identified, a more detail assessment is required. This is usually based on a full analysis of more than 20 years of history of satellite-derived solar data, available for the region through GeoSUN Africa.
“Reducing uncertainty of solar resource data is one of the imperatives to make solar energy less expensive and more effective. Satellite-based models and ground measurment stations are two pillars of monitoring infrastructure that guarantee sustainable quality of solar data“, said Dr Marcel Suri, Managing Director of GeoModel Solar.
Prof Wikus van Niekerk, the Director of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University, said: “These new maps come at a very opportune time in South Africa as there is a lot of interest from companies, farmers and individual home-owners to install rooftop PV systems. With the current prices of PV systems and the cost of electricity charged by most municipalities it is now less expensive to generate one’s own electricity from photovoltaic modules”. The longterm effort and focused collaboration on this project between the different universities, GeoSUN Africa, GeoModel Solar and the GIZ made this project success. We also thank those companies who contributed data to develop these new maps, including Eskom, Sasol, Exxaro and Ripasso. The new maps and the SAURAN network will continue to add value to the Southern African solar energy industry and research community for many years to come.”
Maps can be downloaded from the CRSES website.
Updated Direct Normal Solar Irradiation (DNI) map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland
Updated Global Horizontal Solar Irradiation (GHI) map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland
- South African Renewable Energy Council, 19 November 2014Read more
Manufacturing companies serving the ZAR 120 billion South African renewable energy industry today called on Government to urgently finalise the financial close of the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Financial close has been delayed and fears are arising escalating that the viability of manufacturing facilities and the accompanying jobs and companies may be threatened if finality does not come before year end. Uncertainty about the timing of announcing the preferred bidders for Round 3.5 (for concentrated solar power only) and Round 4 has also added to discomfort.
Henk Schoeman, Business Manager of DCD explains that his company invested R300m to set up a tower manufacturing plant in Coega to ensure that towers for wind turbines are manufactured locally and local content of wind farms is raised. The plant now employs 100 people. “The stellar success of the programme and rapid growth in the industry has meant that we are under pressure to manage our production with extreme care to ensure we deliver to all our clients on the contractual dates, given our present capacity. If anything the order book suggests plant expansion, but the present delays have extremely adverse consequences as we now have to wait with production until financial close occurs. Moreover, our future is dependent on the comfort of our clients that the programme is proceeding.”
ArcelorMittal has recently adapted the lay-out and technology at their Vanderbijlpark plant in order to ensure that steel plates of the correct width to serve the wind industry tower manufacture could be made. This capital outlay likewise assumes stability and predictability in the wind sector, both factors heavily dependent on investor sentiment and potentially impacted by the present delays.
In the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry, a similar distress is building. PV module manufacturing companies based in Cape Town and Durban, namely Jinko Solar, SolaireDirect and ARTsolar have jointly invested R245m in their facilities over the past 4 years and created 510 local jobs, which are expected to increase to 600 by April 2015.
However, these companies have less than 2% of their production capacity taken up by local orders, and have as a result been forced to seek foreign markets in the short term. South African PV manufacturers are competitive in supplying foreign markets and require at least predictability in the implementation of the REIPPPP to sustain the nascent local manufacturing industry. The same applies to Sun Power, which has recently announced the re-opening of a PV module factory in South Africa.
Should the dynamics in foreign markets change before the REIPPPP has had time to influence the development of local manufacturing value-chains in a substantial manner, these companies and the jobs they create may cease to exist. Furthermore, as South African content is not mandatory for exported modules, the local sub-supply chain for glass, aluminium and other products is also at risk without the REIPPPP.
International observers and stakeholders are equally concerned. “Today South Africa is one of the most promising new wind markets globally, along with Mexico and Brazil. The first stage of the REIPPPP programme has proven its success and starting to win trust among international investors. With the International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC) bringing some 180 sovereign states to South Africa in October 2015, it’s an ideal time now to build on the momentum - round 3 closure is the first step forward”, said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council who was in South Africa last week.
Dr. Guenter Schneider from Enolcon GmbH that co-authored the 2030 Concentrated Solar Thermal Electricity Strategy for South Africa, points out that bidders who submitted bids in March this year for the distinct “Round 3.5” of REIPPPP meant for concentrated solar thermal electricity are still waiting for the announcement of the preferred bidders. “Investors in concentrated solar thermal electricity are watching what happens to Round 3 and 3.5 and will form their perceptions on the future of the industry based on what happens there”, he points out. “Round 3.5 preferred bidder announcement is five months late, and with the recent black-outs and the Eskom credit downgrade one would think that it would be prudent to safeguard the wellbeing of the REIPPPP programme, given that renewable energy is one of the sources of electricity that can help alleviate the power crisis that South Africa is facing until at least 2020. Moreover, South African companies who are part of the consortiums in Round 3.5 are burning cash while delays continue, and in some cases the BEE entities and Community Trusts may have to dilute their shareholding as a result of the delays.”
Industry experts maintain that Round 3 closure represents a ZAR 10 billion boost to the local supply and manufacturing industry.
Dr Luis Crespo, President of the Spanish concentrated solar thermal electricity speaking recently at the CSP Leadership Dialogue in Johannesburg said: “The key to industrialisation, localisation, job creation, broad based transformation and fulfilling the objectives of both the Green Economy Accord and the National Development Plan requires market “certainty” for all stakeholders to play an essential role in the implementation of key policies and that includes the private sector. South African manufacturers need certainty to be in a position to re-tool their manufacturing lines to locally manufacture up to 60% of some of the key CSP components for both the local and international markets in which South Africa has every chance to become the world leader.”
The broader renewable energy sector are also watching developments to gauge Government’s on-going commitment to the green economy. In the low pressure solar water heating manufacturing industry, some 10 different local SABS Mark companies have collectively invested about ZAR200 million and are idling as they wait for policy developments, while some 30,000 Low Pressure SWH units are sitting in stock.
At present the renewable energy industry remains hopeful that Government is still committed to resolving the blockages and has reiterated its willingness to assist where possible.
- SolarReserve, 14 November 2014Read more
SolarReserve, a leading global developer of utility-scale solar power projects and advanced solar thermal technology, today announced that the 96 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) Jasper solar power project completed construction and is fully operational, almost two months ahead of schedule. Jasper is located in South Africa's Northern Cape in a solar park that also includes the 75 MW Lesedi solar power project which came online in May, and the proposed 100 MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant featuring SolarReserve's industry-leading CSP technology with integrated energy storage.
The Jasper Project generated about 1 million man-hours during construction, peaking at over 800 on-site construction jobs. As part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the project will set aside a percentage of total project revenues for Enterprise Development and Socio-Economic Development for the benefit of the local communities.
"In addition to helping South Africa meet its critical electricity needs, the Jasper Project will bring long lasting economic benefits to the region," said SolarReserve's CEO Kevin Smith. "We look forward to continuing this positive momentum and bringing value to South Africa through collaboration on further projects, including our upcoming CSP projects that will provide South Africa with clean, reliable and non-intermittent electricity, day and night."
With over 325,000 PV modules, the Jasper Project will deliver 180,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity annually for South Africa residents – enough to power up to 80,000 households through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom, the South African power utility company. Selected by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) in the second round of bids under the REIPPPP, the project also marked Google's first renewable energy investment in Africa.
The project was developed by a consortium consisting of SolarReserve, the Kensani Group (an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa), and Intikon Energy (a South African developer of renewable energy projects). Equity investment and ownership for the project was provided by a strong group of international and South African shareholders who jointly have experience in all aspects of development, funding and operations of solar energy projects. The equity investment shareholders include the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Intikon Energy, Kensani Capital Investments, Google, the PEACE Humansrus Community Trust, and SolarReserve with Rand Merchant Bank providing preference share equity. International law firm Baker & McKenzie supported the project activities through its offices in Johannesburg and the United States, with Kensani Eaglestone Capital Advisory acting as financial adviser.
- Mergence Investment Managers and the IDC, 13 November 2014Read more
As the country dealt with power outages in the wake of a collapsed Eskom coal silo last week, a piece of good news passed unnoticed with the closing date on 3 November for bids in the first phase of a “small projects” renewable energy programme that will support two national aims - enhanced energy security and small business development.
The Small Projects Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (SIPPPP) forms part of the government’s overall target of 10 000 megawatts for renewable energy. Two hundred megawatts will be secured from small projects under the SPIPPPP, each with a maximum contracted capacity of 5 MW, allocated over four bid submission phases/windows.
Specialist black-owned fund manager Mergence Investment Managers and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have committed R600-million in debt funding to support 10 small and medium enterprises bidders in the first phase of the SPIPPPP.
Lizeka Matshekga, head of green industries at the IDC, says technologies that will be considered – under the SPIPPPP – include onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, biomass, biogas and landfill gas.
“Bidding in the first phase involves 50 megawatts allocated across renewable, photovoltaic, wind and biomass technologies,” says Matshekga. Mark van Wyk, head of impact investing at Mergence, says the SPIPPPP provides a long-term opportunity for small businesses to play a strategic role in the alternative energy generation market. “By investing in these projects we want to enable our clients to meet their own development objectives. At the same time, we believe the SPIPPPP offers a compelling business case for investment,” says van Wyk.
Matshekga says the programme provides a great scope for localisation, saying the partnership with Mergence will also ensure broad-based black participation in the generation of alternative energy.
Preferred bidders are expected to be announced in early 2015.
(Image caption: Mark van Wyk, head of impact investing, Mergence Investment Managers)
- eThekwini Energy Office, 27 October 2014Read more
EThekwini Municipality in demonstrating its commitment towards a low carbon city has installed a 900Wp off grid solar photovoltaic system and two solar water heaters at the Municipal owned Buffelsdraai Reforestation Site Offices. The system, designed by the eThekwini Energy Office, provides solar electricity to one office block and two staff bathrooms while two solar water heaters provide hot water to the staff bathrooms.
Derek Morgan, Senior Manager at the Energy Office said "Environmental Planning and Climate Protection approached the Energy Office to come up with an energy solution in line with the goals of their project and because of the site's remoteness, small size and cost of connecting to the Municipal grid, solar was the most affordable and convenient solution".
The landfill site situated North of Durban is a flagship carbon sequestration project initiated by the city in 2008 to off-set carbon emissions associated with hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The buildings on the site are utilised by the Buffelsdraai Landfill Site Community Reforestation Programme implemented by the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of the eThekwini Municipality. The programme assists unemployed people from surrounding communities of Buffelsdraai and Osindisweni with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. These communities are involved in growing the trees for the project and are subsequently known as "Treepreneurs" who set up small-scale indigenous tree nurseries at their homes. The facility serves as a holding nursery for trees before they are planted in the buffer zone area of the Landfill Site.
The project has engaged 580 local community members, as "Treepreneurs" in the surrounding Osindisweni, Buffelsdraai, Ndwedwe and KwaMashu communities. Tree seedlings are exchanged for credit notes, which can be used to obtain food, basic goods and/or pay for school fees, at regular 'Tree Stores' that are held in the participating communities. Since inception, the project has created a total of 854 jobs (38 full-time, 4 part-time, 812 temporary) for local community members.
Communities benefiting from the project are some of the most impoverished and vulnerable in Durban.
- Communications Department of ROSATOM, 23 September 2014Read more
On September 22, 2014 in Vienna, at the margins of 58th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference, the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on Strategic Partnership and Cooperation in Nuclear Energy and Industry. On behalf of the Russian Government the document was signed by the Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM Mr. Sergey Kirienko, on behalf of the South-African Government - by the Minister of Energy Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
The Agreement lays the foundation for the large-scale nuclear power plant (NPP) procurement and development programme of South Africa based on the construction in RSA of new nuclear power plants with Russian VVER reactors with total installed capacity of up to 9,6 GW (up to 8 NPP units). These will be the first NPPs based on the Russian technology to be built on the African continent. The signed Agreement, besides the actual joint NPP construction, provides for comprehensive collaboration in other areas of nuclear power industry, including construction of a Russian-technology based multipurpose research reactor, assistance in the development of South-African nuclear infrastructure, education of South African nuclear specialists in Russian universities and other areas.
The joint implementation of this programme implies a broad localization of equipment for the new NPPs, which will provide for brand-new development of various areas of South-African high-tech industries, contribute to creation of new highly skilled workplaces and will allow South-African companies to further participate in ROSATOM's projects in third countries.
"I am convinced in cooperation with Russia, South Africa will gain all necessary competencies for the implementation of this large-scale national nuclear energy development programme. ROSATOM sees to create in South Africa a full-scale nuclear cluster of a world leader's level - from the front-end of nuclear fuel cycle up to engineering and power equipment manufacturing. In future this will allow to implement joint nuclear power projects in Africa and third countries. But from the very start this cooperation will be guided at providing the conditions for creation of thousands of new jobs and placing of a considerable order to local industrial enterprises worth at least 10 bln. dollars", ROSATOM's Director General Mr. Sergey Kirienko noticed.
According to Tina Joemat-Pettersson, "South Africa today, as never before, is interested in massive development of nuclear power, which is an important driver for the national economy growth. I am sure that cooperation with Russia will allow us to implement our ambitious plans for the creation by 2030 of 9,6 GW of new nuclear capacities based on modern and safe technologies. This agreement opens up the door for RSA to access Russian technologies, funding, infrastructure, and provides proper and solid platform for future extensive collaboration."
- WWF South Africa, 29 August 2014Read more
The World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) has always advocated in favour of renewable energy as a necessity to combatting climate change and increasingly expensive fossil-fuel generated electricity. Its previous work has shown that investing in renewable energy, together with energy efficiency in industry, will provide cheaper electricity by 2020 than further investment in coal or nuclear power.
Continuing its work in this space, WWF-SA has commissioned a series of reports examining the state of renewable energy in South Africa, the ways in which it can be scaled up, with particular emphasis on financing, and how renewable energy has the potential to grow beyond government's efforts.
Enabling Renewable Energy in South Africa: Assessing the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme outlines the REIPPPP bidding process that has mobilised over R100 billion in renewable energy investment, largely from the private sector in less than three years. The report discusses the key aspects of the REIPPPP bidding process from various stakeholders' perspectives, highlighting and exploring the significant successes, challenges and developments that have emerged since the inception of the programme. Key non-financial themes covered include the price discovery process, the impact of the ambitious pace of the programme, grid connection challenges and local content requirements. New light is shed on financial aspects of REIPPPP, including the management of foreign exchange and interest rate risk, BBBEE financing vehicles and ways in which funding sources can be diversified.
Malango Mughogho, Sustainable Finance Programme Manager WWF-SA: "REIPPPP is a clear indication of the government's intention to address climate change mitigation in the energy sector. Critically analysing the programme so far will allow a better understanding of the practical implications of scaling renewable energy generation in the electricity sector to 100% by 2050, thereby allowing South Africa to contribute its fair share to climate change mitigation".
Renewable Energy Vision 2030 – South Africa is the first in a two-part report describing the current state of play in the renewable energy independent power producer sector in South Africa. It reports on the technology allocation of contracted projects, the current capital cost per kWh of renewable energy supplied by different renewable energy technologies, the high-level projected capital cost trajectory of these different technologies and the estimated capital cost of supplying South Africa's 2030 renewable energy ambition.
Manisha Gulati, WWF-SA Energy Economist: "The IRP needs to look at renewable energy more seriously if it intends to meet the immediate electricity requirement and improve electricity affordability. This should be accompanied by firmer policy positions on renewables, in particular a longer term renewable energy procurement plan."
Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement in South Africa, implements a survey and case study approach to establish the quantity and type of renewable energy demand in South Africa by companies that are not independent power producers and to identify the top five drivers for this demand. The research details existing and planned voluntary renewable energy purchases above 3 MW by companies across a wide selection of industries, demonstrating that these companies consider renewable energy a critical strategic and financial consideration that warrants investment. Additional policy mechanisms that support these drivers will allow South Africa to leverage the private sector to meet its climate change mitigation needs.
- South African Government News Agency, 27 August 2014Read more
The South African government says it is ready to regulate and monitor companies that have expressed an interest in exploring shale gas in the country. Thibedi Ramontja, the Director-General of the Mineral Resources Department, said the draft regulations will, once finalised, be effective to deal with the risks that exploration might pose to the environment.
The Director-General said this when briefing the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on its progress in finalising the regulations for petroleum resource development.
“The draft regulations, once finalised, will result in a regulatory framework that ensures safe extraction of gas, which will contribute to diversification of South Africa’s energy mix, energy security supply, significantly boost South Africa’s economy and have positive effects on the Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
The department first halted new applications for exploration rights in 2011 to investigate the impact that the process would have on the environment, and an interdepartmental task team was set up to head this process.
The investigation also looked at ensuring that fracking would not affect astronomy research projects linked to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project in the Karoo - the world’s biggest telescope that is currently being built in the country.
After the investigation, the draft regulations for petroleum exploration and exploitation were published for public comment in October last year.
Ramontja said government would consult interested and affected stakeholders next month, before finalising the regulations to allow exploration to begin.
He said while it was too soon to estimate the gas reserves, economic contribution and how many jobs the projects would create, he said companies – local and international – would not have shown interest if they did not anticipate to make profits.
The Director-General also said that once shale gas will not only create a new industry, it would present South African higher education institutions with research opportunities that are expected to produce Masters Degrees and PhDs.
- Coega Development Corporation, 21 August 2014Read more
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), operator of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and the Eastern Cape’s leading catalyst for socio-economic growth, announced today that Nelson Mandela Bay “is well on its way to become the country and continent’s hotspot for ‘green’ energy components manufacturing and technologies,” said Sandisiwe Ncemane, CDC’s Investment Manager: Energy Division.
In its 2013/14 financial year, the CDC secured Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) close to R1-billion for ‘green’ energy component manufacturing in South Africa.
FDI attracted to the Coega IDZ in the last year include JA Solar and Powerway’s now operational R660-million solar module manufacturing facility , and a R127 million renewable energy components manufacturing facility owned by Powerway/Sungrow which will commence with production within the year.
A new ground-mounted solar energy harvesting plant was also commissioned at the Coega IDZ as was announced by the CDC earlier this month.
The R300 million DCD Wind Towers production facility also went online this year, and the plant will have an estimated annual production output of 110 and 120 wind towers.
“The CDC’s profile as a green technology manufacturing hub of South Africa has gained traction in renewable energy projects,” added Ncemane.
“On-grid and off-grid green energy component manufacturing which includes, among others wind towers and solar photo voltaic (PV) panels in the Coega IDZ is alive and well.”
“These investments are critical in supporting 64 renewable energy projects valued at R100-billion approved by South African government since 2011, which will produce 3 900 megawatts (MW) for South Africa’s energy mix through wind, solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power,” she said.
The organisation remains bullish over the future of alternative energy component manufacturing investments in the new financial year.
“New legislation, government’s robust renewable energy strategy and other value propositions inherent to Nelson Mandela Bay will support future investment and investment interest in the Eastern Cape’s green manufacturing economy.”
“The new SEZ Act has introduced significant tax benefits, a reduction of red tape and labour productivity-enhancing mechanisms to investors, which will make the Coega IDZ attractive as a location for investment,” said Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications.
“This further supported by Nelson Mandela Bay’s long-standing position as an industrial and manufacturing economic hub and, the availability of deep-water sea port, and a commitment towards green energy research by our local university.
“The sum of these parts provide a unique arrangement of value propositions which is driving the attraction for foreign and local investment in the Coega IDZ,” concluded Dr. Vilakazi.
Powerway Renewable Energy, a solar component manufacturer, signed an engineering procurement construction (EPC) solar power contract, valued at R1.5-million (144 000 USD), with Weihai China Glass Solar Company to build the ground-mounted project, and once installed will have a capacity of approximately 48kW.
“The new ground-mounted project incorporates concrete foundations, thin-film components, and three sets of 15kW inverters. Coega’s IDZ will use most of the power generated, with the balance connected to the grid,” said Vuyokazi Tyida, CDC investment promotion manager.
Work on the project is scheduled to begin at the end of August and is estimated to be completed in September. The new solar power plant will be installed on a piece of land next to the Coega Business Centre, in the IDZ and will have an annual output of 72,388 kWh, resulting in the reduction of almost 3.3 tons of annual coal emissions.
Powerway’s new EPC solar power plant is under the agreement between Ministry of Science and Technology of the People of Republic of China and South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology.
The project is all finance supported by Ministry of Science and Technology of China.
Powerway which took up occupation at its facility in September, aims to create jobs for about 2 000 people over the next three years.
“We started business in South Africa more than three years ago. Our business development has always been orientated towards diversification: from solar plant and solar mounting structure supply, to power plant construction, and now as overall EPC contractor,” said Benson Wu, Powerway Chief Executive Officer.
“The Coega project is not only a new milestone for Powerway-South Africa, but also an important demonstration of Coega’s IDZs robust growth. We have complete confidence in the future development of our solar PV business in South Africa," added Mr Wu.
Powerway PV SA and JA Solar Holdings formed a joined venture to establish a PV module assembly plant in Port Elizabeth with an initial nameplate capacity of 150MW, earlier this year. The first phase investment is valued at R300-million with a further three phases planned for the coming years totalling a R1.2-billion.
“CDC continues to be the investment destination of choice for innovative projects such as this one. The installation contributes to the Coega IDZs green footprint and is seen in a positive light by the organisation,” said Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications.
- , 15 August 2014Read more
A report exploring the political economy of energy planning under democracy and the Integrated Energy Planning (IEP) process due to conclude this year was launched by the British High Commission, Project 90 by 2030, and the Exxaro Chair in Global Change and Sustainability Research at Wits University on Friday, 15 August.
Titled: The Tyranny of Realism: Integrated Energy Planning (IEP) in South Africa in 2014, the publication explores some of the stratagems and dynamics at play in the contestation of our energy development pathway. It seeks to present a coherent perspective, and to stimulate and inform broad participation in South Africa's second national IEP process currently in progress.
The full report is available here. The launch of the publication concludes a short project undertaken by Project 90 by 2030 and funded by the British High Commission, and is written by South African energy policy researcher and activist, Richard Worthington.
"If one looks at the most likely consequences of the energy development pathways being treated as 'realistic' (for the world and for South Africa, by a majority of mainstream agencies), such realism is literally conceding defeat, in the face of drastic disruption to our life-support system and the biosphere of which we are an integral part," says Worthington.
"The greatest flaw in so much energy planning and analysis is that we are not actually looking at and trying to understand the full extent of what is necessary. With so many interested parties and experts proclaiming what is not realistic, we have not - at least not yet - tried to develop a coherent vision of a just transition to sustainable energy."
Worthington highlights the fact that government has recently committed, in principle, to another public workshop on IEP to present analysis that will feed into multi-criteria decision-making.
Professor Barend Erasmus, Director of the Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute at Wits University, says: "If we do develop very good technical solutions to the energy crisis, we are still unlikely to deliver an effective solution if there is no socio-political buy-in into the IEP process."
British High Commissioner, Judith Macgregor, says stakeholder engagement and frank contestation amongst interest groups are vital to robust development planning and democratic processes to realise the best intentions of policy.
"The UK government is pleased to support not only the work of the South African government, but also civil society participation, including critique that is challenging and interrogates the boundaries of practicality. Dr Steve Lennon of Eskom, when discussing the fundamental change facing the power sector driven by the emergence of renewable and low resource intensity supply and demand technologies, concluded in an article last month: 'We just need to have more confidence in our ability to do it!'"
The event also saw the introduction of the 2050 Pathways Calculator project, with the aim of gathering input towards the elaboration of this educational tool. The 2050 Pathways Calculator has been developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs in partnership with the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, and models potential allocations of a national carbon budget. It is available as a download and a web version is available here.
- , 12 August 2014Read more
After the successful early commissioning of the Kalkbult PV power plant lates last year, the Linde 40-MW project with technology from SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) has now been completed. At the end of July, SMA also commissioned a factory for Sunny Central inverters in Cape Town, South Africa. With this, the company meets the local content requirements under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP).
“With an ambitious expansion target for photovoltaics and high solar irraditation, South Africa is a strategically important market for SMA. By beginning our local inverter production in time for the fourth round of the REIPPP Programme, we have once again strengthened our position as the preferred partner for project developers, EPCs and financing banks in this attractive emerging market,” said Thorsten Ronge, General Manager of SMA Sub-Sahara Production Pty Ltd. The flexible production facility for central inverters can be adapted quickly to changes in demand. In addition to a production line and storage facilities, the factory has a test center for central inverters.
For the Linde PV power plant in the Northern Cape province, SMA supplied 43 Sunny Central 850CP inverters, 258 locally produced Sunny String-Monitors for monitoring and 22 Transformer Compact Stations for connection to the medium-voltage grid. In the future, it will provide clean energy for 20,000 households. The Dreunberg PV power plant in the South African province of Eastern Cape is also near completion. Both projects were won by the Norwegian Integrated Independent Power Producer Scatec Solar in the second round of the South African REIPPP Programme and are being implemented with inverters from SMA. Additionally, SMA developed individually tailored communication solutions for each of the Kalkbult, Linde and Dreunberg PV power plants and will also take on the service and maintenance of all three PV power plants.
- Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, 12 August 2014Read more
The Healthy Mom & Baby, which was founded 10 years ago, is set to receive a R440 000 donation from Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm. The clinic is dedicated to empowering pregnant women and helping them to cope with their pregnancies and babies. “We support the Clinic’s vision of families being the foundation of society and believe that by giving care to pregnant women we can help build healthier communities,” said Marion Green-Thompson, Economic Development Manager for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
The Healthy Mom & Baby clinic was co-founded by Margreet Wibbelink, a midwife, with the purpose of educating parents and providing professional medical care to pregnant women, mothers and babies. She manages the day to day running of the clinic along with the fundraising and providing birth support. “Pregnant ladies from the local communities come to us for medical support, but more than that we link them to social workers, help out with clothing, babies nappies, vitamins and other supplies and we provide guidance and a safe space,” explains Wibbelink, co-founder of Healthy Mom & Baby. The Clinic also has a team that supports the community by providing expectant mothers with advise as well as to checking on the health of their patients.
As a passionate surfer, Margreet is currently ranked second in the country in the long board division. She has a host of female role models that she aspires to and respects; amongst these are her business partner and co-founder of the clinic; her mother, who guided her and six siblings; and Melinda Gates who is known the world over for her philanthropic work.
“Our development programme will impact positively on the communities in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, Hankey and Patensie areas, with a particular focus on education, health and women,” said Marion Green-Thompson, Economic Development Manager for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
- , 11 August 2014Read more
Wuxi Suntech, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of PV modules, is expanding its footprint in Africa by establishing a subsidiary company in South Africa. The subsidiary, Suntech Power South Africa, is fully compliant with South Africa’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) legislation.
“Suntech is poised to quickly expand our presence in the South African market,” said Suntech CEO Eric Luo. “Given the country’s dedication to growing renewable energies, Suntech is exploring the potential of locating manufacturing, assembly and warehousing facilities as well as offering after-sales services in the market. This would enable Suntech to quickly supply a greater volume of PV modules to meet growing demands and serve as a gateway to additional markets in the region.”
Most recently, Suntech supplied 100 MW of its high-efficiency PV modules for two projects selected during the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program’s (REIPPPP) first bid round, said Ryan Virahsawmy, Country Head, Suntech South Africa.
Thanks to its recent acquisition by Hong Kong-based Shunfeng Photovoltaics Ltd., Suntech has the an impressive balance sheet within the solar industry and is pursuing a new business strategy that will make it one of the largest integrated clean energy companies globally– integrated not only in terms of manufacturing but also in terms of owning clean energy producing assets. Suntech will provide one-stop access to the Shunfeng family of companies with capabilities in design, engineering, manufacturing, construction, finance, insurance, operation and maintenance, energy storage, solar products and applications.
Suntech has delivered more than 30 million photovoltaic panels or 8 GWs of installed capacity to more than 1 thousand customers in more than 80 countries.
- Development Bank of Southern Africa, 07 August 2014Read more
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has signed a R1,4 billion finance contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support the development of the !KaXu 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the Northern Cape. The DBSA announced that it is encouraged by the EIB’s trust and confidence towards its investment strategy in supporting South Africa´s power generation infrastructure in order to improve the security of energy supply and optimise the energy generation mix on which South Africa's economic growth prospects depend.
The !KaXu concentrated solar thermal plant uses parabolic trough technology, and will convert thermal energy from the sun into electricity by way of the steam cycle. Through a molten salt storage system, the plant will have capacity to store energy during off peak hours and wil dispatch it during peak hours.
!KaXu is currently being constructed near the town of Pofadder in the Northern Cape and is one of the 28 projects which comprise round one of the much acclaimed Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Under the first three rounds of the programme , a total of 5 CSP plants are in various stages of development, with the window three projects attempting to reach financial close by November this year. CSP was left out of the technology allocations for the fourth round.
- , 06 August 2014Read more
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listed company, Jinko Solar, celebrated the official opening of its R80 million, 120 MW solar PV module production facility in Epping, Cape Town yesterday. Jinko Solar opened this facility in response to the roll out of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) where 1484MW of solar PV projects have been procured. Since the inception of this programme, Jinko Solar has deployed over 300MW of solar PV panels, reaching approximately 30% market share.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies welcomed the opening of the facility as part of the dti’s drive to expand the capabilities of the South African manufacturing industry, to increase the country’s industrial base and create the much needed jobs in Epping. The Green Economy has been identified as a key focus area in the department’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, and provides significant opportunities for job creation, localisation and economic growth.
The opening of Jinko’s state of the art production facility in Cape Town once again highlights the attractiveness of South Africa as an investment destination and will contribute further to establishing the country as a hub for renewable energy and other green economy industries. The dti is proud to have supported this investment having been in discussion with Jinko on their investment since 2012, through various measures, including the reduction of red tape, facilitation and support on local content requirements.
Minister Davies speaking on the margins of the USA – Africa Summit and in meetings with USA companies, said South Africa is becoming a leader in renewable energy. Within a space of three years the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) model is fast developing into a new industry sector. USA investors such as GE and Solar Reserve, as part of President Obama’s Power Africa program have expressed an interest to further invest and expand the energy sector in South Africa and on the African Continent.
- Staff Writer, 04 August 2014Read more
Cennergi - the cleaner energy company started by Exxaro and Tata Power- celebrates the start of construction at its 134.4MW Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm project between Bedford and Cookhouse in the Eastern Cape, where 56 N17 Nordex turbines will produce 134.4MW of wind energy for the national electricity grid.
"The idea started for us in 2008. There we were, without any clue about wind farm and renewable energy technologies in South Africa, and now we have the best programme in the world. It's amazing. This has been achieved by the great collaboration between government and the private sector, which has included various sectors from all over the country," said the very pleased Cennergi CEO, Thomas Garner. "It's great to be in construction - that's what it's about after all - and we are looking forward to having the first megawatt hours on the grid by mid-2016." Garner sees the roll-out of South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer's Programme as testament to the fact that given the political will and strategic planning, government and the private sector can work together for the benefit of future generations.
"What we have done here is to buy insurance policies for the generations to come. This will be the most successful renewable energy programme in the world, which will set South Africa up for massive competitive advantages in the future. I can see now that a critical mass has been achieved with government, the private sector and the regulator working together, and with the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) around 1000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity could be installed every year for the next 25 years, which is a great opportunity for the private sector and for the country," said Garner. Having spent many years as an engineer who progressed up the ranks at Iscor, Kumba and Exxaro, Garner has worked tirelessly for the last 8 years to build collaboration between government and the private sector for the benefit of South Africa's future generations. He is the visionary leader spearheading the development of new kind of African energy player – one that is cleaner, more caring, and accountable to future generations.
"For me the biggest spin-offs of our Amakhala Emoyeni project besides the cheap, competitive and clean energy is that the programme was set up to have impact on its surrounding communities. The skills development, job creation and engineering education and training that are taking place are spinoffs of the programme that will snowball in the years to come."
Construction can now begin
Construction at the Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm has already begun with the clearing and excavation of roads and foundations in the last few weeks. Cennergi's Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm project is a 134.4 MW wind farm located near the town of Bedford in the Eastern Cape. Fifty-six Nordex turbines of 91 m hub height and 2.4 MW capacity each will be installed on the land, which has an excellent wind resource and close proximity to infrastructure such as roads and the national electricity grid. The Cookhouse and Bedford Community Trusts together own 5% of the equity of the project.
The name "Amakhala Emoyeni" means "aloes in the wind" and the name was chosen by Windlab, the original developer to liken the turbines that will be erected during 2015 to the indigenous aloes blowing in the windy Eastern Cape region.
A world-class renewable programme
"South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer's Procurement Programme (REPPPP) is a world-class programme. The fact that government has created certainty and transparency in the process has ensured that the private sector is an active participant in this sector, and as a result a lot of money has been brought in. In Window 1 and 2 of the REIPPPP about R150 billion was invested by the private sector in renewable energy in South Africa."
The journey to getting a renewable energy project to construction has not been without its challenges, particularly with Eskom struggling to keep up with grid connection timelines to get the commissioned renewable projects "online". And what of the perceptions that renewable projects are expensive? "If you compare the wind tariffs with what Eskom charges for electricity it's not expensive; it's a myth that South African wind farms are expensive. The wind farm tariffs in Windows 2 and 3 of the REIPPPP, will be lower than Medupi as a coal-fired power station," says Garner. "Also, our returns are protected if we stay within our budget and within our timelines to commercial operation."
There were additional expenses with the legal costs in finalising agreements and contracts in getting to financial close. But the industry in South Africa has learned through this process, and as these agreements are now established, the process has become more affordable for companies. In the future REIPPPP bidding windows, the original additional costs won't be felt.
Promise of great things to come
"There are already a number of wind farms that are up and running and Cennergi can learn a lot from the experience of these developers. It's great for us to see the other developers and companies being successful, which de-risks the programme even further." Garner sees a further opportunity for job creation with turbines being manufactured and produced in South Africa in the decades to come. "I think there's a big chance of that happening although it's not going to be soon – it's going to be 10 years plus. We first need to get economies of scale and we need to sort out our competitiveness in terms of capital- and labour productivity.
Images by Stefanie de Beer and The Energy Blog
Joyce Cleophas, resident of the neighbourhood of White City in Hopefield, was the first house that ‘Bokkie’ Maarman kitted out with a ceiling in his new role as carpentry contractor on the home improvement project.
Marco ‘Bokkie’ Maarman is part of an enterprise incubator scheme that will train the self-taught carpenter in the basics of running his own business.
- , 28 July 2014Read more
The 1.2MW Black River Park Solar Project has broken new ground in becoming the largest integrated PV plant in Africa and the first to legally transmit electricity back into the City of Cape Town's electrical distribution network.
The 74,000 m2 office park in Observatory, home to in excess of a hundred corporate tenants, is leading the way in sustainable commercial real estate as the solar system forms part of a multi-faceted approach to reducing its carbon footprint and becoming more self-reliant and efficient.
The second phase of the project which comprises of a further 500kW of solar power, was approved without any subsidies based on the performance of the initial 700kW which has been operating above expectations since August 2013.
"The approval from the City of Cape Town marks a considerable breakthrough in the pursuit of electricity users who invest in independent power production to sell energy back to the distributors during periods where it is not needed on site," says Chris Haw, Managing Director of SOLA Future Energy, and Spokesperson for the South African PV Industry Association (SAPVIA).
"This is something that already occurs in most parts of the world and something we've been trying to implement in South Africa for years. We're happy that this policy now applies to all solar projects that meet the City's embedded generation requirements and we encourage all municipalities to follow suit," adds Haw.
The buy-back rate has been proposed at 49.72c/kWh, approximately the same as that at which the City buys electricity from Eskom, but still lower than the rate at which the office park buys electricity from the municipality. This encourages most of the energy generated to be used on site, but caters for situations where the local demand is less than what is produced by the solar system.
By international benchmarks, and also that of local solar IPPs, the buy-back tariff is low. The major obstacle preventing municipalities from encouraging more private generation and trade of electricity is the perceived threat to municipal revenues received from electricity sales. Sustainability experts, however, advise otherwise.
"What municipalities are beginning to realize is the small amount of lost revenue from allowing solar generation is more than compensated for by the increased economic activity as a result of improved efficiencies and higher attractiveness of the location to do business," says Prof. Mark Swilling, Academic Director of the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch.
The total project size of 1.2MW makes it one of the world's largest roof mounted solar PV systems, and the largest in Africa, able to generate just under 2 million kWh per year from approximately 5,500 modules. The project has a guaranteed lifetime of 20 years and has minimal operational costs since the primary energy source, the sun, is free.
The system's over performance is mainly due to higher than expected peak demand savings added to the energy savings. The peak demand for air-conditioning, especially in summer, coincides with hot, clear days when the PV system is operating at capacity.
Apart from the savings generated, the solar system also attracts tenants to the office park that are placing increasing importance on being able to report sustainable business practices to their shareholders.
- Holle Linnea Wlokas, 24 July 2014Read more
The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) hosted a workshop on the challenges and possibilities associated with community development around wind farms. The workshop took place in the facilities of the Industrial Development Corporation in Johannesburg in mid-May this year with participation from over 50 stakeholders representing industry, government, civil society and academia.
SAWEA’s working group, Wind for Communities, planned the day around the emerging experiences of stakeholders in designing and implementing community engagement strategies and local economic development benefits. All projects under the current Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) have to include measures which foster enterprise development, socio-economic development, local job creation and local ownership in order for the project to be approved.
Development facilitator Doug Reeler facilitated the day’s conversation, which adopted the slogan “Getting Community Development Right”. Input was presented on research undertaken by Sarah Stands and Holle Wlokas who are both postgraduate students and members of SAWEA’s working group on communities. They shared insights into issues around employment and skills, as well as emerging evidence around the implementation of community benefit schemes.
Key challenges include successful initial liaison with communities, raising awareness and education around wind technology and projects, creation of meaningful jobs, governance of community trusts holding local ownership shares, strategic engagement with development in areas with more than one project, realising community-driven development in an corporate environment and alignment and collaboration of projects and programmes with government policies and objectives.
Participants shared their experiences in small groups, resulting in specific recommendations being formulated. Some of the key recommendations are further research into demographics and specifics of areas with more than one RE IPPPP project to establish how to best invest the economic development funds. It was also suggested that initial funds be allocated towards relationship building with local stakeholders in order to build lasting bridges between companies and communities. A clear wish was expressed for continuing the discussion in a follow-up workshop.
The complexities of community engagement were highlighted with participants discusssing how it might be possible to establish transparent decision-making processes in a divided social setting, with multiple agendas from municipalities, communities and developers. The REIPPPP’s stipulations around the timeframes for the spending of funds was also questioned, and it was suggested that a relaxation of timeframes might result in better due diligence and more meaningful community engagement initiatives.
The gathering emphasised need for sharing knowledge and reflecting openly on current practices in order to influence the process positively in the future. This years’ WINDABA conference, SAWEA’s annual industry conference, is themed “Power2thePeople – improving lives through wind energy” and signals the importance with which the wind energy industry views community development. More information about the event can be found at the following link: http://www.windaba.co.za/
To access the full workshop report, please contact SAWEA: http://www.sawea.org.za/