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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Mergence’s investment in Namibian solar plant signals further localisation

Local asset manager Mergence Unlisted Investment Managers (Namibia) has bought a majority stake in the 6 MW Momentous Solar One plant, near Keetmanshoop, in Namibia. “The purchase of a majority stake in the Keetmanshoop project signals a positive trend to localisation of the industry – a solar plant owned by Namibians for Namibians,” says Mergence portfolio manager Hileni Nghinaunye.

Hydrogen offers pathway for lowering hard-to-abate carbon emissions – IEA

Hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels could help facilitate the decarbonisation of a range of sectors where the pathway for achieving meaningful emission reductions is currently uncertain or difficult, a new global study argues. Released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) at a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan, the report says that hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels could help facilitate emission reductions in sectors such as long-haul transportation, aviation, shipping and buildings, as well as in chemicals and steel manufacturing.

Green light for ‘net zero’

Following then Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s announcement paving the way for small projects generating between 1 MW and 10 MW of their own renewable electricity to feed it back into the grid, green building consultants ecocentric see this as a crucial opportunity for companies to accelerate becoming ‘net zero’ carbon. “Globally, buildings are responsible for more than 30% of carbon emissions and driving net zero carbon presents a major opportunity for the built environment to reduce global carbon emissions,” says green building consultants ecocentric owner Jutta Berns-Mumbi.

Collaboration seen as key to unlocking South Africa’s industrial potential

The revival of South Africa’s flagging manufacturing sector is core to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s broader economic recovery plan. The importance attributed to manufacturing can be seen in the President’s decision to appoint the experienced Ebrahim Patel to lead the newly restructured Trade and Industry portfolio, which re-consolidates the Department of Trade and Industry with the Economic Development Department. There is also a growing recognition within government that, despite having the most diversified and industrialised economy in sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa’s manufacturing performance is lacking vibrancy, even when compared with some of its African peers.

New green building certification introduced in South Africa

Green building consulting company Solid Green Consulting is the first company to be working on an actual Living Building Challenge project in South Africa. The programme was developed by nongovernmental organisation International Living Future Institute (ILFI), to lead transformation towards a socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative society.

Renewable energy jobs reach 11m

Eleven-million people were employed in renewable energy worldwide in 2018, International Renewable Energy Agency’s (Irena’s) ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2019’ reveals. This represents an increase on the 10.3-million people employed in the industry in 2017.

Seychelles floating solar project moves into next phase of implementation

The government of Seychelles has launched a request for proposals (RfP) process for an independent power producer floating solar photovoltaic project. A group of prequalified bidders, which were selected in 2018 as part of the first phase of procurement, will be required to submit their full technical and financial proposals in September.

Pioneering 1 MW wave-energy pilot project being built in Hermanus

A South African wave-energy start-up is building a pioneering 1 MW pilot project, based on its patented homegrown design, which will supply clean electricity to a large-scale Hermanus abalone farm, in the Western Cape. Mean Sea Level (MSL) is developing the first-of-its-kind project with equity investments from the Industrial Development Corporation, angel investors and aquaculture group Abagold, which produces 500 t of abalone yearly.

Air Products, Jeka highlight benefits of solar rooftop installations

A solar photovoltaic roof-mounted power plant system installed at industrial and specialty chemicals supplier Air Products’ Kempton Park facility generates sufficient energy to meet between 60% and 70% of the facility’s day-time requirements, Air Products GM Maropeng Bahula says. The plant, installed by black-owned Jeka Energy, can also be expanded into a hybrid system in the future to store energy to cater for the facility’s night-time energy requirements.

Storage presents African utilities with opportunities to rekindle investor appeal

The advent of renewable energy and new storage technologies presents Africa’s utilities with an opportunity to increase capacity and efficiency, while rekindling their appeal to investors, Standard Bank said on Wednesday. The “clear and rapid” evolution in Africa’s energy and energy infrastructure landscape over the last decade has seen new technology challenge the traditional dominance and relevance of the continent’s utilities.

Erratic weather boosts energy demand, denting climate goals – BP

Extreme temperatures around the globe drove a sharp acceleration in energy demand and carbon emissions last year, oil giant BP said on Tuesday, issuing a stark warning that the world risks losing the battle against climate change. And while 2018 saw another sharp pick up in renewable power such as wind and solar, continued growth in oil, gas and coal consumption meant that overall, the world’s energy mix remained “depressingly” flat, BP chief economist Spencer Dale said in the company’s benchmark 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Ugandan critics oppose Nile river power plant plan

A plan by South Africa's Bonang Power and Energy to develop a 360 MW power plant on Uganda's River Nile has met resistance from critics who say the project will destroy the popular tourist attraction of Murchison Falls. Located on the Nile between the Ugandan lakes Kyoga and Albert, the Murchison Falls also lend their name to a 3 900 square kilometre national park, one of Uganda's biggest, where visitors can view lions, hippos, elephants, buffalos and giraffes.

Greenpeace study recommends Eskom sell its coal-fired power stations

A study commissioned by Greenpeace Africa recommends that State-owned Eskom, as part of its reform, gradually spin out its coal-fired power generation activities to new generation companies that will operate the power plants for the remainder of their operating lives. Greenpeace had commissioned energy economist Professor Dr Uwe Leprich to compile the study, titled ‘Eskom: A roadmap to powering the future’, as it believes the utility needs a new business model, given that its debt is approaching R500-billion and that the South African economy is contacting.

eSwatini calls for solar power bids to ease reliance on South Africa's Eskom

The kingdom of eSwatini has called for bids to build 40 MW of solar power capacity to reduce reliance on South Africa's troubled state power firm Eskom. The kingdom, formerly known as Swaziland, imports 80% of its electricity from South Africa, where the cash-strapped national supplier has implemented some of the worst rolling blackouts in years and has needed a State bailout to survive.

Bushveld Energy partners with US company on vanadium electrolyte rental product

Aim-listed Bushveld Minerals’ 84%-owned Bushveld Energy subsidiary has enabled the successful deployment of a vanadium electrolyte rental product in industrial-scale batteries developed and sold by Avalon Battery Corporation of Fremont, California. Bushveld Energy and Avalon worked together to structure and design the rental product.

South Africa should go all out with platinum and manganese to be in best of two decarbonising worlds

South Africa, which has a wonderful platinum group metals (PGMs) endowment and an abundance of high-quality manganese ore, should go all out to be in the best of two new carbon-reducing technology worlds. On the one hand, it should do all it can to be in the world of hydrogen with the help of PGMs and, on the other hand, do all it can to promote manganese in its potential electrification roles.

Russia’s latest great game in Africa: energy

Vladimir Putin has made no secret of his intention to return Russia to its previous glory as a world power by all means available to him, not least of which has been military aggression such as in Crimea. But on the African continent, where Russia has no colonial hangover like Europe or the suspicion that comes with Chinese economic diplomacy, Moscow under Putin’s presidency has quietly ramped up efforts to invest and control mineral and energy assets.

Solar plant to power Pietermaritzburg Mall

Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) and Liberty Group, co-owners of Liberty Midlands Mall, have completed the R12-million installation of a 1 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at the centre. The plant was commissioned on the roof structure of the mall’s 22 000 m2 Lifestyle Centre.

Reatile Group invests in solar EPC company juwi

Reatile Renewables has acquired a 20% interest in juwi Renewable Energies’ engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company. Juwi’s EPC company is currently building three projects that were procured under Round 4 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

SAWEA supports small-scale embedded generation

The time has come for South Africa to reconsider how energy is supplied and to evolve and adapt its outdated systems, says the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA). SAWEA said in a release on Thursday that the country should start shifting away from a centralised monopoly to a more efficient, decentralised generation model, which includes small-scale embedded generation.

South Africa’s wind power construction to peak at above 1 GW in 2020/21 – WoodMac

Wind energy construction activity in South Africa will peak at more than 1 GW of capacity in 2020/21 as developers race to operationalise projects that were awarded during the fourth bid window of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme, says Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac) Power & Renewables. Its ‘Africa wind power market outlook 2019’ report states that, in the longer term, the country's Integrated Resource Plan is expected to target more than 10 GW of additional wind power capacity through 2030.

ANC says ten sectors to be prioritised under ‘re-imagined industrial strategy’

The African National Congress (ANC) has unveiled what it describes as a “re-imagined industrial strategy” as part of a broader five-year programme of action agreed at the party’s three-day lekgotla, which concluded in Gauteng on Tuesday. In a statement released following the gathering, the ANC said the strategy would prioritise ten industrial sectors, including: the automotive industry; clothing, textiles, leather and footwear; gas; chemicals and plastics; renewable energy; steel and metal fabrication; tourism; high-tech industries; the creative industry; the oceans economy; and agriculture and agroprocessing.

Companies merge into Sola Group to meet renewable energy demand

Aurora Power Solutions and Sola Future Energy are combining forces to form Sola Group, bringing together a large solar project pipeline, including 48 MW in Zambia and 79 MW in South Africa. The two companies merged in March 2018 and, as of June 1, have consolidated their offering as a vertically integrated renewable energy company, offering all stages of solar photovoltaic (PV) implementation – from project development and financing, design, procurement, construction, to the operation and maintenance of solar PV facilities.

Hulisani says GRI division’s prospects improving

JSE-listed energy investment firm Hulisani increased its dividends for the financial year ended February 28, to R36.9-million, from R18.1-million in the prior financial year. This was on the back of 60% higher dividends received from the Kouga Wind Farm, at R24-million, while those from RustMo1 Solar Farm were in line with expectation, at R12.3-million.

Globeleq kicks off solar PV project construction in Kenya

Africa-focused independent power producer (IPP) Globeleq has started construction of its 40 MW Malindi solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Malindi, Kenya. The $69-million project, located about 120 km northeast of Mombasa, recently reached financial close.

Zimbabwe says mines can pay for power in foreign currency to secure supply

Zimbabwe mining companies can pay for electricity in foreign currency to guarantee supplies, the energy minister said on Friday, a day after he indicated there could be deeper power cuts in the country due to low dam water levels. Fortune Chasi said on Thursday the country's largest hydroelectric plant, Kariba Dam, will suspend output in 14 weeks if water levels continue to fall at the current rate.

Oil monitoring technology prolongs gearbox life

Advanced monitoring technology company Atten2 presented its OilHealth and OilWear on-line optical sensors at the Wind O&M EU 2019 trade fair, held in February in Munich, Germany. Atten2 produces and markets the OilHealth and OilWear on-line optical sensors for the analysis of industrial fluids, which aims to transform the wind power sector.

Zimbabwe power cuts may deepen as water levels fall at Kariba Dam

Zimbabwe's largest hydroelectric plant, Kariba Dam, will suspend output in 14 weeks if water levels continue to fall at the current rate, the energy minister said on Thursday, paving the way for deeper power cuts in the country. The Southern African nation has endured its worst rolling power cuts in three years, and although its mines have been spared so far, analysts say the cuts will hurt economic revival efforts.

Globeleq adds four more plants to South African renewables portfolio

Africa-focused independent power producer Globeleq announced on Thursday that it had acquired four more South African renewable-energy plants, adding to an existing 238 MW wind and solar portfolio in the country. The plants and the asset management company were purchased from an affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management.

South African solar tracker receives international certification

Solar tracking system manufacturer PiA Solar is now the first, in both the southern hemisphere and in Africa, to qualify for the international design standard IEC 62817 certification. In order to qualify for the certification PiA Solar built a climate test chamber in Port Elizabeth, where certification was undertaken by the TUV Rheinland South Africa office in partnership with the company’s German headquarters. 

Enel’s fourth South African wind farm to start operating in 2021

Energy company Enel’s renewables subsidiary Enel Green Power (EPG) South Africa has started construction on its 140 MW Oyster Bay Wind Farm, in the Kouga municipality, in the Eastern Cape. The €180-million wind project comprises 41 turbines and will generate around 568 GWh/y, which effectively avoids 590 000 t/y of carbon dioxide emissions.

Botswana cancels 100 MW solar power tender, plans to reissue

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), has cancelled a tender in which it was seeking private investor partners to build a 100 MW solar power plant, and plans to reissue the tender to make the project fully private owned, the state-owned utility said on Saturday. "The project which was initially structured as a joint venture between BPC and private producers will now be implemented through independent power producers, meaning it will be 100% privately owned," the BPC said in a statement.

Senegal imports turbines for West Africa's first big wind farm project

Senegal started importing turbines for its first large-scale wind farm on Thursday, the biggest such project in West Africa that will supply nearly a sixth of the country's power. Privately-owned British renewable power company Lekela expects the wind farm, located in Taiba Ndiaye, about 100 km from the capital Dakar, to reach 158.7 MW by 2020.

Collaboration gives rise to advanced automation

UK industrial technology group Rolls Royce Power Systems and automation technology group ABB are in a global partnership on microgrid technology with advanced automation. Together, the two companies will offer an innovative, energy efficient microgrid solution for utilities, islands, as well as commercial and industrial establishments. 

Pioneering system holds huge potential for microgrids

A sharper focus on renewable energy has led to increased opportunities for microgrids in rural areas, industrial and commercial parks and residential developments in African countries. “Technology is progressing very fast on alternative energies and systems. An increased focus on renewable energy is widening the playing field and opening up more opportunities for modern technology,” Siemens East Africa hub and Kenrya country manager Johan Helberg told Engineering News Online in a recent interview.

University of Nottingham academics patent gravitational energy storage using soil batteries

Academics have patented new concepts on electric power energy storage using gravity, with the concept of gravity energy storage using soil batteries being promoted by two University of Nottingham academics – European Academy of Sciences fellow and World Society of Sustainable Technologies president Professor Saffa Riffat and Marie Curie research fellow Professor Yijun Yuan. The academics filed a patent application in May for a gravity energy storage technology based on drums filled with soil.

Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa announces IPO

Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the Mozambican concessionaire of the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant, has announced the launch of its initial public offering (IPO) for up to 7.5% of its shares to individual Mozambican nationals and collective national investors. The IPO will see a first tranche of 2.5% of its shares becoming available on the Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique.