http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 17.03Change: -0.20
R/$ = 14.82Change: -0.21
Au 1281.07 $/ozChange: -6.18
Pt 1058.50 $/ozChange: -9.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters About Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jun 18, 2010

Eskom hopes to complete concentrating solar power project by 2014

Back
Construction|Africa|Building|CoAL|Design|Engineering|Eskom|Export|Power|PROJECT|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Risk Management|Solar|Storage|Sustainable|Technology|Water|Africa|Energy|Maintenance|Power Generation|Power-generation|Solutions|Environmental|Operations
Construction|Africa|Building|CoAL|Design|Engineering|Eskom|Export|Power|PROJECT|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Risk Management|Solar|Storage|Sustainable|Technology|Water|Africa|Energy|Maintenance|Power Generation|Power-generation|Solutions|Environmental|Operations
construction|africa-company|building|coal|design|engineering|eskom|export|power|project|projects|renewable-energy|renewable-energy-company|resources|risk-management|solar|storage|sustainable|technology|water|africa|energy|maintenance|power-generation|power-generation-industry-term|solutions|environmental|operations



As power utility Eskom continues working to ensure the lights are kept on and new coal-fired power stations are built, the company also continues to progress with work on its first concentrating solar thermal power (CSTP) plant, and has identified a site near Upington, completed an environmental-impact assessment and received the record of decision for it.

The ambition is to have the CSTP plant completed by the end of 2014.

The World Bank is currently appointing an independent technical review panel to conduct a technology assessment, which will start in July and is expected to be completed by November, to determine the most applicable technology for South Africa.

The scope of the technology assessment would need to be appropriate for the chosen site.

Eskom technology strategy and planning manager Barry MacColl tells Engineering News that, based on the utility’s own research and the results of the technology assessment, the company hopes to go to the market with a tender outlining the performance specifications by March 2011.

Going to the market with performance specifications – for example, detailing the required capacity, availability and storage capabilities – will allow for any and all vendors to offer in their bids configurations that they think could best meet the requirements.

The technology assessment means that Eskom is not yet committed to a detailed design, and is willing to change the scope of the project slightly. If, for example, it is recommended that the plant be 80 MW instead of 100 MW, with less storage, for example, these recommendations could be taken on board.

However, MacColl reiterates that the intention is to build a large plant that is regarded as a viable alternative to existing power generation options.

Eskom does not want a small pilot or test CSTP plant – it is determined to show that the technology is a viable replacement and alternative for coal.

“We don’t want to be a small player in this,” says MacColl. “We are intent on diversifying our generation mix, moving into the renewable space as an alternative to fossil fuels. We need to build a CSTP plant that demonstrates large power capacity, high availability and dispatchability, which implies storage capa- bility. Anything less will not indicate we are on a path to meet our renewable goals.”

Eskom has been researching CSTP since 2002, and says that the work done to date has placed the utility in a position to go to the market as a well-informed buyer or developer of the technology. The project has been endorsed by the Eskom board and puts the organisation in a position to respond to the anticipated Integrated Resource Plan 2 targets.

The Eskom Board has given the project the green light, provided funding solutions can be found.

Funding Requirements
When Eskom was granted a loan by the World Bank, the bank voted to support the building of the coal-fired Medupi power station, on condition that Eskom clearly showed transformation towards cleaner technologies. The loan was approved with the proviso that Eskom carry out wind and CSTP projects.

The portion of the World Bank loan allocated for the CSTP project, through the Clean Technology Fund, is $250-million. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which also falls under the World Bank, has loaned the utility $150- million for the CSTP.

However, the World Bank loan does not cover the costs of these projects in full. Eskom’s 100-MW CSTP plant with storage is estimated to cost in the region of R6-billion (about $782-million), and thus the utility is in discussions with other potential funders to make up the shortfall of about $382-million.

These discussions are at an advanced stage and several lending institutions have expressed strong interest.

An Eskom treasury official explains that the utility is in discussions with other European development banks, as funding for clean technology projects is relatively readily available from them, and at more favourable terms than from commercial banks.

The official remains confident that these banks would not invest in anything that is not ‘doable’, and is certain that Eskom will get the necessary funding, and deliver the CSTP project.

Eskom would not produce power from the CSTP plant under the renewable-energy feed-in tariff, as it would not apply in this case. However, Eskom would need to include, and put forward to the regulator, the higher cost of power generation from the CSTP plant, when it makes its multiyear price determinations to establish electricity tariffs.

A major hurdle for the technology is that cost comparisons show that CST is about 168% more expensive than ‘new’ coal on a rand-per-megawatt-installed basis; however, MacColl emphasises that this is the capital cost of the project and not a long-term levelised cost comparison, and he believes that the cost of energy from fossil fuels will continue to rise (along with primary energy costs and carbon taxes), while the cost of solar technologies will continue to decline in real terms as the technology matures and more players enter the market.

“We are in the early days of CSTP. Solar energy is clean, abundant and at the beginning of a technology development curve which will make it cheaper to exploit in the next decades,” he says.

He also believes that, during the life span of this project, which is estimated at about 20 years, the lines will cross where solar becomes more cost efficient than coal and the electricity supply industry in South Africa will be transformed as a result.

Demonstrating the Technology
If built to the expected specifications, the Eskom CSTP station would be the biggest CSTP plant in the world.

Studies to date have outlined the potential for a 100-MW concentrating central receiver power plant, using molten salt heat transfer liquid, as well as storage tanks to allow for output when solar irradiation is inadequate.

A 14-hour storage capacity would give the plant a 68% availability factor, which is essential for Eskom’s operating requirements. By comparison, coal-fired power stations have an availability factor of between 85% and 90%.

By building the first plant of this type and size in the country, Eskom says it could kick-start the solar power generation industry in Africa, as the solar community could use the experience gained to deal with some of the key issues facing concentrating solar technology.

These include: • understanding the true cost of construction and the real prices of production, rather than referring to estimates;

  • realising the risks and opportunities for the large-scale deployment of the technology as a viable clean and renewable power generation option;
  • identifying the opportunities for local manufacture and job creation, which could potentially give South Africa a competitive export advantage;
  • encouraging regional cooperation in order to share resources and develop solutions to promote the growth of other emerging solar technologies;
  • providing certainty on the reliability of the technology solution;
  • understanding the operations and maintenance costs and procedures;
  • putting in place agreements with local government municipalities with regard to land and water supply, as well as power transmission requirements; and
  • understanding the ability of the plant to meet predicted load factor levels and prove storage ability.

MacColl acknowledges that there are elements of risk, but says that these need to be tackled on a sensible basis.

“Risk is a relative term and will mean different things, whether you are a small independent power producer or a large utility. We acknowledge that any venture into a new technology is a risk management exercise and it is precisely for this reason that we are determined to get our demonstration unit on the ground and operating. Only then can we stop theorising about the risks involved and actually quantify them based on real experience in a South African context,” he says.

He adds that, when one invests such signifi- cant quantities of money, one needs to ensure that due diligence is followed to protect lenders and other stakeholders, not least the people of South Africa.

“However, courage is also required if we are to transform our predominantly coal- based power sector into something more sustainable. Eskom wants this project to be the first of many in a South African solar industry that will be regarded by future generations as a wonderful thing. We are willing and able to make the first move in large- scale concentrating solar thermal power generation,” MacColl concludes.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

To subscribe email subscriptions@creamermedia.co.za or click here
To advertise email advertising@creamermedia.co.za or click here
 
Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Electricity News
Updated 40 minutes ago State-owned electricity utility Eskom this week claimed that there had been a steady improvement in the energy availability factor (EAF) at its power stations, reporting “preliminary figures” indicating an EAF of 76.37% from the start of its financial year to May 3,...
US Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Monday began a two-day tour through rural, traditionally coal-reliant parts of the eastern Appalachian region, where Republican rival Donald Trump's pro-coal, anti-trade message has resonated with...
South Africa’s programme to acquire a number of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) seems to be suffering from yet another delay. The Requests for Proposals to the various groups interested in constructing these new NPPs that were apparently meant to have been issued on...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 18 minutes ago The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has said it doubts claims by road authorities that 300 000 people had taken up the etoll discount dispensation of 60%. Chairman of Outa, Wayne Duvenage, said: “Anything short of R2.5-billion collected or committed for...
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
Updated 20 minutes ago South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday he was confident of meeting fiscal targets for 2016, but that stronger economic growth remained a challenge. In a speech to parliament, Gordhan said the budget deficit would be reduced to 2.4% of gross...
Pravin Gordhan
Updated 35 minutes ago The way the government buys its goods and services is getting a shake-up aimed at saving billions, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday. This includes saving a targeted R1.4-billion by reviewing the government's top 100 contracts, saving a possible...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2016: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Automotive 2016 Report provides an overview of South Africa’s automotive industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into local demand and production, vehicle imports and exports, investment and competitiveness in the sector, as well...
Energy Roundup – April 2016 (PDF Report)
The April 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for March 2016 and includes details of a North Gauteng High Court Judge’s dismissal of a court application to postpone the 9.4% electricity tariff increase, which the National Energy Regulator of South...
Electricity 2016: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2016 report provides an overview of South Africa’s electricity sector, focusing on State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Energy Roundup – March 2016 (PDF Report)
The March 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for February 2016 and includes details of the Department of Energy’s plans to announce the preferred bidders for the first tranche of the coal independent power producer procurement programme; the Council...
Steel 2016: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2016 Report examines South Africa’s steel industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the global steel market and and particularly into South South Africa’s steel sector, including production and consumption, main...
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
The two spent-fuel pools at Eskom’s 1 800 MW Koeberg nuclear power station, in the Western Cape, will be full by 2018, increasing the urgency on the State-owned utility to begin pursuing alternative storage options. Koeberg has, over the past 32 years, accumulated a...
South Africa lacks the skills necessary to implement the government’s plan to build 9.6 GWe of new nuclear energy capacity, warns nuclear-qualified Quality Strategies International CEO David Crawford. “Apart from the concern about the affordability of the programme,...
DOROS HADJIZENONOS The 700-series devices provide network security monitoring, app control, URL filtering, VPN security, antivirus, antispam, antibot, and advanced intrusion prevention and detection functionality
Cybersecurity multinational Check Point has released its latest 700-series cybersecurity systems for small businesses, which draw on its international threat intelligence to provide up-to-date cybersecurity, says Check Point South Africa country manager Doros...
Daimler Trucks and Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA) saw a marked slip in new-vehicle sales in 2015 compared with 2014, with sales dropping from 5 897 units to 5 300 units. The decline came as the South African new truck and bus market declined from 31 558 units in 2014...
Group of 20 (G-20) economies threatened to penalise havens that don’t share information on their banking clients after the leak of the Panama Papers provoked a global uproar over tax evasion. The G-20 will consider “defensive measures” against financial centers and...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $149 Close
Subscribe Now for $149