http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.11Change: 0.00
R/$ = 11.90Change: -0.02
Au 1205.90 $/ozChange: -0.17
Pt 1147.50 $/ozChange: -1.00
 
 
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 Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Sep 21, 2012

‘Severely underused’ standby generators could mitigate power shortages – industry executive

Back
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Carbon & Energy Africa GM Denis|CoAL|Cogeneration|Consulting|Diesel|Eskom|Flow|Generator|Generators|Public Enterprises|Safety|Turbines|Waste|Africa|South Africa|Cogeneration|Electricity Supply|Electricity Tariffs|Energy|Equipment|Flow|Gas Turbines|Lowest Electricity Tariffs|Services|Cogeneration|Malusi Gigaba|Power|Turbines|Van Es|Waste|Diesel
Construction|Engineering|Africa|CoAL|Cogeneration|Consulting|Diesel|Eskom|Flow|Generator|Generators|Safety|Turbines|Waste|Africa||Cogeneration|Energy|Equipment|Flow|Services|Cogeneration|Power|Turbines|Waste|
construction|engineering|africa-company|carbon-energy-africa-gm-denis|coal|cogeneration|consulting-company|diesel-company|eskom|flow-company|generator|generators|public-enterprises|safety|turbines-company|waste-company|africa|south-africa|cogeneration-industry-term|electricity-supply|electricity-tariffs|energy|equipment|flow-industry-term|gas-turbines|lowest-electricity-tariffs|services|cogeneration-person|malusi-gigaba|power|turbines-person|van-es|waste|diesel
© Reuse this



Existing standby generators may be the key to mitigating the looming threat of power shortages in South Africa, assuming that State-owned power utility Eskom can seize the opportunity to take advantage of more than 3 500 MW of standby power already installed across the country, says engineering consulting and services company Carbon & Energy Africa GM Denis van Es.

While the cost of running generators, especially those fuelled by diesel, is signifi- cantly higher than simply relying on the national grid, the costs of downtime owing to power failures can be even higher.

“Everybody would be running their diesel generators if it wasn’t more expensive than Eskom’s tariffs, says Van Es, adding that South Africa enjoys some of the lowest electricity tariffs in the world.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba reiterated this at a press conference in March, saying that despite Eskom’s tariff increases over recent years, South Africa’s electricity tariffs remained among the lowest in the world.

Van Es points out, however, that major businesses, banks and hospitals have had to invest in generators to offset the damaging effects of unexpected outages.

He adds that, despite the cost of running generators, there are thousands of privately owned standby generators in South Africa not connected to the national grid. “These generators are only used sporadically, are essentially collecting dust and will only be used if there is a blackout some day.”

Van Es believes these generators are severely underused assets and that they hold significant potential to form part of a national demand management programme.

“Shouldn’t we consider ways of bringing these generators onto the grid? This would save government hundreds of millions of rands on the construction of additional gas turbines that would be used during peak consumption times,” he says.

Van Es points out that paying people for their generators’ operating costs and, thereby, contributing towards capital costs would be more cost effective for government than constructing new gas turbines. Moreover, the generators already exist. “All we need is a contractual and financial framework,” he says.

Van Es believes that using existing standby generators will significantly reduce the load on the grid but acknowledges that there are safety concerns over personnel working on lines that may be energised from both directions and the quality of supply from small generators.

His solution is to remove the load from the grid, replacing the supply with an on-site generator. “The circuits receiving their supply from the grid are made to be physically separate from the grid at the time of the switchover, thus removing the signifi- cant need to consider safety and quality issues with respect to the grid.”

Van Es envisages the possible use of standby generators as a demand-response option. “The intention is to operate the generators in times of need, either when there is insufficient supply or when a network constraint arises,” he says.

Eskom’s Response

In 2007, the State-owned power utility indicated that electricity supply would remain tight for the next five to eight years.

“The Medupi and Kusile power stations – coal-fired power stations that run all day – will account for the baseload once [they have been] completed. But to deal with the peaks, more agile equipment is needed – equipment that can speed up and slow down quickly when demand hits unexpected peaks,” says Van Es.

He notes that Eskom’s gas turbines can warm up and cool down significantly faster than coal-powered stations but the fuel for those turbines could cost the same as the diesel used to fuel generators.

Independence

Van Es states that South Africans have become too reliant on Eskom to provide a constant flow of electricity at a cheap price.

“This is the wrong approach. Each citizen should be looking after his or her own interests. Industry, in particular, would be served best if it were less dependent on an outside electricity supplier.”

This would also require industry to scrutinise its own energy consumption and find ways to reduce this load by using energy efficient processes, such as cogeneration.

“Businesses need to look at what they are throwing away – waste that could contain useful energy and that could be converted at their business sites and fed back into the electricity supply.”

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Electricity News
Power utility Eskom said it would extend power cuts to 2 000 MW of electricity from 12:00 to 22:00 on Friday due to a shortage of generating capacity. The cash-strapped State utility, which has been forced to reduce electricity supply in Africa's most advanced...
Article contains comments
The changing role of the African electricity consumer is held up in a new Deloitte report as a potentially “disruptive” trend for the sub-Saharan African power industry. Africa infrastructure and power leader Shamal Sivasanker argues that consistent growth in region...
More
 
 
Latest News
South Africa’s crude steel production dropped by a sizeable 17.2% year-on-year to an estimated 530 000 t in April, amplifying a global trend that saw world steel production decline by a comparatively marginal 1.7% to 135-million tons in the fourth month of the year....
The Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) on Friday called on government to delay publishing final regulations and issuing rights for shale gas exploration in the Karoo, until a 24-month strategic environmental assessment (SEA) has been concluded. TKAG CEO Jonathan...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
FREDRIK JEJDLING Sustainability becomes an important part of a business’ decision-making process
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96