Jan 27, 2012
The CSIR is stumbling boldly where angels fear to treadBack
Cape Town|DURBAN|Gold|Pretoria|Africa|Energy|Eskom|Gas|Industrial|Nuclear|PROJECT|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Siemens|Turbines|Africa|South Africa|Carlton Centre|Electricity Supply|Energy|Gas-turbine Stations|Maximum Electricity Demand|Nuclear|Wind Energy|Wind Energy Farms|Mossel Bay|Western Cape|Environmental|Power|Turbines|Energize Magazine
© Reuse this
The Scientific Research Council Act of 1988, as amended by Act 71 of 1990, states that “the objects of the CSIR are, through directed and particularly multidisciplinary research and technological innovation, to foster, in the national interest and in fields which in its opinion should receive preference, industrial and scientific development, either by itself or in cooperation with principals from the private or public sectors, and thereby to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the people of the Republic, and to perform any other functions that may be assigned to the CSIR by or under this Act”.
Hey, isn’t that impressive? Huh? Well, I afraid that the gold in the halo is looking a bit unpolished when you read the offering from the CSIR which purports to be the environmental- impact assessment (EIA) report for four wind energy farms in the Western Cape. The EIA has an impressive beginning, listed under ‘Need for the Project’: “The Western Cape province is currently facing considerable constraints in the availability and stability of electricity supply . . . and the Western Cape is reliant on the import of power.
“The province’s maximum electricity demand of 3 500 MW to 3 900 MW cannot be met by the transmission lines connecting the Western Cape to the national grid. Accordingly, pressure on local generation capacity, most notably the Koeberg nuclear power station (two units with a combined maximum capacity of 1 800 MW), is such that, if one reactor at Koeberg is off line, the entire province experiences supply shortages. “Accordingly, the need has been identified to generate additional power in the province.”
Whoa! Is this really true? Well, yes, it was once – in 2008. In fact, the report mentions that this information is from a 2008 edition of Energize magazine – four years ago. Too bad it was not from Eskom’s transmission department in 2011. But it is no longer true. Without Koeberg 1 and 2, there are three gas-turbine stations and the Palmiet pumped-storage scheme, which can supply peaking power to keep the lights on.
Further, Eskom is building additional lines to the Western Cape right now, so the need for local generation falls away. But the real Lulu is the assumption that wind turbines will reduce the demand in the Western Cape. Hello? Hello? The peak demand will only be reduced if the wind happens to be blowing at a reasonable speed. Which, for 70% of the time, it isn’t. Nobody in his or her right mind would base an argument for wind power on an electrical peak demand for a province.
The report states: “Siemens 2.3 MW turbines and WinWinD 3 MW turbines are used as typical examples of the types of turbines envisaged. These turbines have a hub height of 60 m to 100 m [and] a blade diameter of between 70 m and 112 m.”
Further on, it says that 70 turbines are proposed, located at Albertina, Heidelberg, Swellendam and Mossel Bay. Got that? Not too hard? Simply put, the distance from the ground to the top of the blade will be between 130 m and 212 m. For the 130 m turbines, each turbine, plus blades, will be taller than all but 15 buildings in the whole of South Africa. The 212 m turbines will only be topped by the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg and will be way taller than any building in Cape Town, Pretoria or Durban.
And they are planning to erect 70 of these along the freeway to the Garden Route. But don’t worry – the CSIR has got it covered. It states: “Visual impacts: medium to high impact on landscape character (negative), but could be perceived as a positive impact as the project represents a move towards renewable energy.”
I can see it now – when faced with a vista of 44 turbines around Mossel Bay, the tourist whips out a camera and takes photos of the completely stuffed-up view, since it represents green energy. Hello? Hello? Part Two next week: The CSIR blunders on.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Terry Mackenzie-Hoy News
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
South African construction company Group Five says work on the rehabilitation of the 800 km stretch of the Plumtree–Mutare highway, in Zimbabwe, should be completed by the end of this year. Giving evidence before the Parliamentary Porfolio Committee on Transport...
The Space Operations division of the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) revealed on July 17 that it had supported the successful launch of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite on July 2. The...
Phase 1A of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system should carry around 42 000 people a day, while it was been expected that Phase 1B, rolled out last year, would add another 60 000 daily passengers. However, the entire system is currently carrying...
A stormwater project in Bedforview, east of Johannesburg, has stalled for eight months after project managers in the Ekurhuleni municipality resigned and municipal managers were placed on special leave without designating replacements. Construction to reinforce the...
The design of the Beit Bridge border post is the biggest impediment to efficient freight movement between Zimbabwe and South Africa, says Cross-border Road Transport Agency CEO Sipho Khumalo. Beit Bridge is the busiest border post in Africa. A research study on the...
Next ArticleWhy wind farms are a bad idea