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S.Africa okays $5.4 bln in clean energy projects


Reuters Africa

October 29, 2012

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa has given the green light to an initial $5.4 billion worth of clean energy projects that will allow it to procure 1,400 MW of electricity and help reduce reliance on coal-fired plants, the energy minister said on Monday.

The government has selected 28 wind and solar projects in the first stage of the programme, with the contracts expected to be signed on November 5, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said.

“These bidders will be investing about 47 billion rand in power generation and will create a number of jobs during construction and operation of these power plants,” Peters said in a statement. The plants are due to be operational between 2014 and 2016.

Africa‘s largest economy depends on coal for 85 percent of its electricity supply of around 41,000 MW. Last year it launched a process to procure cleaner energy to reduce carbon emissions and bolster electricity supply.

A key producer of platinum, gold, iron ore and coal, South Africa has been struggling to meet fast-rising demand for power.

The process of adding more renewable power to the grid has dragged on for years and raised doubts about the government’s ability to deliver on its plans.

It has also chosen another 19 renewable energy projects worth 1,043.9 MW in the second stage of the programme, which it hopes to finalise by late March next year. A third bidding round will close on May 7.

South Africa wants to use the green energy drive to boost job creation through manufacturing and requiring energy companies to source materials locally.

While the original procurement plan was to eventually add up to 3,725 MW of green energy to the national grid by 2016, the programme has recently been expanded to source an additional 3,200 MW of renewable power by 2020.

Apart from green energy, South Africa plans to procure more than 9,000 MW of new electricity produced from coal, gas, regional hydro and co-generation at industrial plants by 2025. Other plans include a tender for 9,600 MW worth of nuclear power.

© Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved

Company to deliver 1.2 MW biogas power generation plant


Engineering News

By Chantelle Kotzé

April 20th, 2012

South African electric equipment sup- plier Zest WEG Group, through its subsidiary company, Zest Energy, and in collaboration with an engineering, procurement and construction management contractor, has been awarded a contract by water and sanitation services provider Johannesburg Water for the delivery of a 1.2 MW biogas power generation plant.

“We have noticed a trend towards using biogas to generate power, and are proud to confirm our first biogas project with Johan-nesburg Water,” says Zest WEG Group sales and marketing director Gary Daines.

The contract, awarded in November last year, entails the supply of modular gas engines, as well as an integrated electrical system, which takes clean methane gas generated from the digesters within the water treatment facility and transforms it into electrical power.

The plant will initially generate 1.2 MW of power, but has the potential to produce increased power outputs, depending on the future availability of biogas. The plant will supplement the water utility’s current power supply and reduce its overall running costs.

“This is the first project of its kind and magnitude in South Africa and we hope that the successful commissioning of this project will lead to other munici- palities and water treatment facilities gaining confidence to support and implement this type of electricity generation project at their facilities,” states Daines.

He adds that an additional benefit for the company is that the project is based on a payback structure that allows for the capital costs of the project to be, in essence, paid back to the company over time, as it supplements its own power needs.

The company reports that it is currently installing the modular gas units that will be commissioned at the end of July.

Meanwhile, the majority shareholder in Zest WEG Group, Brazilian electrical equipment manufacturer WEG, has introduced steam turbines produced by its Brazilian technology partners to the South African market. This is as a result of similar power generation opportunities, already identified and brought to fruition in Brazil, being released in South Africa’s sugar and pulp and paper industries.

“We want to bring cogeneration to the South African market through industries that have excess steam for power generation, which can be generated into power and used to supplement electricity supply or to sell back to the grid,” explains Daines.

The company hopes to break into the independent power producer (IPP) market as a technology partner and supply these steam turbines to renewable- energy projects.

“Since IPPs have gained momentum, there are numerous opportunities to generate power from an array of sources, such as gas, hydro, wind and solar, and we should see IPPs develop at an incredible rate,” says Daines.

The company believes that it can gain valuable knowledge of green power technology from its Brazilian shareholder, WEG, as 85% of Brazil’s power is clean power produced through hydroelectric technologies.

Zest WEG Group says it is dedicated to skills training and has skills programmes in place as well as its own training facility and a dedicated training officer.

It is especially focused on skills training in maintenance and efficient long-term operations.

The company feels that there is a need to contribute to the skills within the country’s resource base and maintains that, if other organisations followed the same strategy and committed themselves to training small segments of the resource base, the skills shortage could be dealt with, Daines states.

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