May 06, 2011
CSP technology group Brightsource keen to develop projects in SABack
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Cement|Components|Concrete|Gas|Industrial|PROJECT|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|System|Systems|Water|Africa|Energy|Equipment|Power Generation|Power-generation|Steel|Systems|Power
© Reuse this
Brightsource Energy projects senior VP Jose Barak tells Engineering News Online that the company is looking for developers in South Africa to partner with.
Alstom, which has significant experience in the South African power-generation industry, is a major shareholder in Brightsource Energy, and the two companies have partnered with a view to supply projects in different regions, including South Africa. However, before projects can be developed, clarity from key decision makers on the country’s renewable energy regime is sought.
South Africa’s recently promulgated Integrated Resource Plan, developed in 2010, indicates that the country seeks to build 17,8 GW of renewable energy generation by 2030. However, owing to delays in the renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit), projects have been slow to materialise.
Brightsource Energy designed the Ivanpah solar generating electric system, which is currently under construction in California. At 392 MW, it will be the world’s largest solar project when completed in 2013. The project will consist of three solar thermal power plant units and the power generated will be sold under separate contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison.
In April 2011, Brightsource finalised $1,6-billion in loans guaranteed by the US Department of Energy‘s Loan Programs Office. In October 2010, NRG Solar committed to invest up to $300-million to become the lead investor in the project, which was followed by Google, which made a $168-million investment.
Barak explained that Google was convinced to enter into the project owing to the amount of intelligent technology that is involved in the project. Brightsource made a strategic decision to focus on information technology in its projects, as costs of these components were decreasing, as opposed to the costs of other materials such as steel and concrete.
He noted that every individual heliostat (the Ivanpah project will consist of 175 000) is individually controlled to track the sun and direct the beam towards the central tower, which also contains a computer system. There are also many trackers and cameras used in the solar field. These all link to a main control systems facility.
Brightsource explains that its LPT 550 solar thermal technology produces electricity in the same way as traditional power plants, through creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels to create the steam, the company’s proprietary software is used to control the heliostats to reflect sunlight onto a boiler filled with water that sits atop a tower.
When the concentrated sunlight hits the boiler, the water inside is heated and creates high temperature steam (about 560 ºC), which is then piped to a conventional turbine, which generates electricity.
Barak notes that CSP tower technology has a smaller land-use requirement than other renewable energy technologies such as wind and biomass. Other benefits include that it can generate power at utility scale, it uses less structural steel and cement, and that it is water efficient, when compared with traditional power generation.
It is also an emission-free power source, and the Ivanpah project will have 85% less pollutants when compared with a natural gas-fired power plant.
Brightsource says that implementing its solar technology would also generate job opportunities, as well as stimulate local industrial capacity. The Ivanpah project is set to generate 1 000 jobs in the construction of the project, and another 86 permanent jobs for its ongoing management thereafter.
Manufacture of required equipment and components could also be localised to the benefit of local industry, which would provide further job creation opportunities.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
Updated 2 hours 16 minutes ago The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government of Egypt have signed a loan agreement for $50-million from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF) – a $2-billion special fund provided by China and managed by the bank to cofinance bank operations. This...
Updated 2 hours 47 minutes ago South Africa's National Treasury could "in the extreme" try and block the $106-billion takeover of SABMiller by the world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, a senior treasury official said on Tuesday. "We subject those applications to subjective criteria – the...
Updated 4 hours ago Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi has denied reports that the ruling ANC has discussed a reversal of South Africa’s digital migration policy. The Business Day reported on Monday that the ANC, at its National General Council (NGC) meeting on the weekend,...
Recent Research Reports
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
This Week's Magazine
Updated 4 hours ago Engen Driver Wellness, the mobile health awareness initiative, continues to make a tangible difference to the lives of the country’s bulk truck operators with increased driver participation in voluntary screenings and improved health scores. Now in its fifth year,...
At the sixth IQ Business conference held in Sandton last month, a panel of business leaders and academics advocated that business reclaims the initiative to spur growth in South Africa amid fragmented and haphazard political direction. Management consulting firm IQ...
The building industry is an essential component of the South African economy as it contributes about 15% to the gross fixed investment that drives the economy. However, with the country’s economy going through a tough time currently, this, in turn, reflects on the...
The recipients of the 2015 South African National Energy Association (Sanea)/South African National Energy Development Institute Energy (Sanedi) Awards were announced at a ceremony and banquet in Sandton last month. Sanea chairperson Brian Statham named Exxaro CEO...
As South African information technology (IT) firm EOH posted another full year of strong growth, CEO Asher Bohbot, known for his frank words, people-centric management style and stoic humanism, attributed the company’s continued South African and African growth to...