Eskom cuts power to BHP smelter to save energy

Mail and Guardian 26 June 2013.

An agreement between state-run Eskom and BHP allows the utility to interrupt power to the latter’s energy-intensive smelters if the national grid approaches a tipping point.

“We did interrupt supply to one of the BHP Billiton units for a time, but still have emergency reserves available,” Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said on Tuesday. She also said Eskom ran gas turbines that it activates when supply is tight.

Eskom said on Monday the power reserve margin for the evening was expected to be extremely tight at 29 megawatts (MW), or just 0.08% of available power…


South Africa’s energy-saving initiatives gain momentum

Natasha Odendaal | 11th June 2013 | Engineering News

While South Africa has made great strides in developing energy efficiency projects to mitigate dwindling electricity reserves, more needs to be done to encourage and support firms to undertake the transition from “business as usual” to becoming energy-conscience businesses.

This view emerged during an Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) conference, in Sandton, on Tuesday, as several speakers outlined the success of energy efficiency projects in an initially hesitant country.

Eskom Integrated Demand Management (IDM) senior GM Andrew Etzinger said South Africa had reduced its energy use by the equivalent of six 600 MW power stations during the past year, through initiatives under the State-owned power utility’s Demand Side Management programme.

The residential and municipal sectors had accounted for 77% or 2 714 MW of the total savings during 2012, followed by the industrial and mining sectors with a saving of 625 MW and the commercial sector with 228 MW. Continue reading

SA must do more with the same for its future electricity supply

SOUTH Africa must fast-track its transition to a reliable, modern and affordable electricity supply for all, the Electricity Governance Initiative of South Africa says in its recent Smart Electricity Planning report.

The report recognises the need to meet the country’s electricity demand to fulfil its developmental goals despite uncertain global and local economic growth.

Traditionally, electricity planning aims to supply whatever demand arises in the cheapest possible way. Unrestricted access to cheap coal has grown the South African economy, albeit for a restricted part of the population. Such an approach is unsustainable and has a tremendous impact on our natural systems, resulting in threats such as runaway climate change.

Read more…

DEA’s green building gets six stars

Engineering News 4 June 2013.

The Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA’s) new head office, in Pretoria, has become the first government building, as well as the first in Tshwane, to be awarded a six-star Green Star rating.

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) said on Tuesday, that, in addition to achieving a six-star Green Star South Africa (SA) Office Design v1 certification, the upcoming building also recorded the highest score, to date, for a large commercial office space…


SA industry finally grasping energy efficiency nettle, but constraints remain

Schalk Burger | 10th May 2013 | Engineering News

Industrial energy efficiency projects are steadily being implemented in South Africa to combat price and security-of-supply pressures, but financial constraints, including funding and internal resources, remain barriers to a more broad-based deployment.

That said, low-cost and no-cost initiatives, which are the focus of the National Energy Efficiency Strategy (NEES), are helping to engender an energy management culture in the country.

The National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA), through its Industrial Energy Efficiency Project (IEE Project), provided significant support to the drafting of the second NEES, which aims to promote energy efficiency through the development of standards, ensuring sufficient capacity to roll out energy efficient initiatives based on industrial incentive schemes. Continue reading

Cut down usage or face load shedding this winter, consumers warned

Business Day Live 23 April 2013.

SWITCH off your geyser between 5pm and 9pm, or face load shedding this winter, was the essence of the message conveyed by Eskom CEO Brian Dames and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba at their briefing on the state of the system on Monday…

…While their message might be the last thing household consumers want to hear, the reality was that it was good news for at least two reasons. First, it represented a late (but better late than never) recognition that driving the power system hard, and delaying maintenance was shortening the life of Eskom’s assets and causing increasing equipment failures…