Community to benefit from South African NW solar energy farm

28 May 2013 | SAnews

Buffelspoort – Energy Minister Dipuo Peters has lauded the first solar energy farm in the North West, saying that the community can already see the plant will contribute to the betterment of the area.

Speaking to SAnews at the launch of the RustMo1 Solar Farm on Tuesday, Peters said that communities were aware of renewable power sources.

“Communities are aware but the problem we have is that they have not been exposed [to it]… Our people can come here and see it in practice, that you can take the rays of the sun and produce energy from it,” she said.

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Sere’s costs compare ‘favourably’ with private wind farms

Terence Creamer | 20 May 2013 | Engineering News

State-owned power utility Eskom claimed on Monday that the cost of generating electricity at its R2.4-billion, 100 MW Sere wind farm would compare “favourably” with those achieved by private wind developers during the first two bidding rounds of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

The utility added that the project’s total overnight cost of $2 516/kWh was within the International Energy Agency benchmarks and incorporated grid connection costs, including a 45 km transmission line. Continue reading

Altron secures R150m renewable-energy orders

Natasha Odendaal | 8th May 2013 | Engineering News

JSE-listed Allied Electronics (Altron) says its electrical engineering subsidiary Power Technologies (Powertech) has gained momentum in terms of its entry into the renewable-energy sector over the last year.

The firm, which had eyed South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) as a strategic area for growth, had secured R150-million in orders for the service and supply of renewable-energy solutions for round one REIPPPP projects, Altron CEO Robert Venter said on Wednesday.

Speaking to Engineering News Online, he said Powertech would supply transformers, cables and industrial and system integrators to the turnkey contractors of the large solar and wind project bidders over the next few years. Continue Reading –>

First Solar gearing up for SA’s next renewables bid window

Terence Creamer | 08 May 2013 | Engineering News

Thin-film photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer and solar project developer First Solar, of the US, is preparing a number of projects for submission during the third bid window under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

Regional director Johan Cilliers, who joined the group at the end of last year, having worked previously for General Electric, Siemens and Eskom, tells Engineering News Online that it currently has a pipeline of potential Southern Africa projects collectively representing 1 000 MW of capacity.

These are at various stages of development, with the most advanced projects, which range in size, being prepared for the August 19 bid-submission deadline in South Africa. Cilliers is coy, however, in disclosing the sites, saying only that they are all in close proximity to existing grid connections. Continue reading

South African renewable-energy projects enter construction phase

Engineering News | 15 Feb 2013

Management consultancy firm Arup on Friday said construction had started on a number of the renewable-energy projects in South Africa for which it was acting as lender’s technical adviser or owner’s engineer.

The nine photovoltaic and wind projects with which Arup was involved, represented almost one-third of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme’s (REIPPPP’s) Round 1 projects, which reached financial close in late 2012.

The REIPPPP aimed to create 3 725 MW of renewable energy to ensure the continued uninterrupted supply of electricity in the country.

The nine projects totalled about 300 MW and were located across South Africa; however, Arup spokesperson Vicky Evans confirmed to Engineering News Online that the majority of the projects were located in the Northern Cape.

Arup indicated that the first of the projects were anticipated to reach commercial operation in November.

“Despite the delays in reaching financial close, we are now seeing some quality projects in construction, which are making South Africa’s renewable-energy dream a reality,” the company said.

Evans pointed out that technical risks related to the contractual processes for the projects included the extent to which engineering, procurement and construction, as well as observation and measurement contracts were fully wrapped; the identification of proposed ‘carve outs’; and the then commercial implications for the project.

“Ensuring that communication of such risks and their potential impact for all parties is simple but effective. Also, early detection and warning of the potential risks is very important. As we know which aspects to look for, we can highlight potential pitfalls efficiently and effectively,” Evans added.

Arup was also currently involved in a number of the REIPPPP Round 2 projects, which were due to reach financial close on March 18, while submissions for Round 3 were due on August 19.