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Renewable Energy News

Opinion: Wake up, the sun is shining

3rd September 2020 In this opinion piece, South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) chairperson Wido Schnabel writes that the country has everything it needs to not only work its way out of the recession that is coming, but to actually improve the situation for every individual and elevate the... 

$25m investment expands horizon for clean-energy firm 

By: Terence Creamer     3rd September 2020 Independent private equity fund manager Metier has announced a $25-million investment into clean-energy company Broadreach Energy, which specialises in deploying renewable-energy and energy efficiency projects in the commercial and industrial (C&I) sectors of various African countries. The... 

$25m investment expands horizon for clean-energy firm
Broadreach Energy MD Adam Bekker

FNB cuts the carbon footprint of its branches by 50% over five years

By: Donna Slater     1st September 2020 After the adoption of carbon-cutting measures to drive energy efficiency across a network of more than 600 branches in South Africa, financial services provider First National Bank (FNB) FNB has reduced the carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint in its branches by nearly 50% over a period of five years.... 

IFC confirms $225m green-economy loan to FirstRand

By: Terence Creamer     1st September 2020 The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) has extended a $225-million loan to South Africa’s FirstRand Bank, which will deploy the finance in support of “energy-efficient and water-smart projects” in South Africa. The loan includes a $75-million contribution from the Dutch... 

IFC confirms $225m green-economy loan to FirstRand

Juwi completes first of three awarded solar projects

By: Marleny Arnoldi     1st September 2020 Juwi Renewable Energies has announced that the Droogfontein 2 Solar Park, near Kimberley, has reached full grid code compliance and started commercial operations. The 179 ha area, which comprises 260 000 solar panels on a single-axis tracker system, is supplying 75 MW to the national grid.  

Juwi completes first of three awarded solar projects
Droogfontein 2 project, in the Northern Cape

Opinion: Can the private sector deliver government’s proposed infrastructure plan?

1st September 2020 In this opinion article, Vantage GreenX MD Alastair Campbell, who spent 25 years as an investment banker and who manages the R5-billion GreenX Debt Funds, says the renewables programme has proved that the private sector will invest in South African infrastructure once policy certainty is... 

Opinion: Can the private sector deliver government’s proposed infrastructure plan?
Alastair Campbell

Zambezi River Authority gears up for community consultations on proposed 2 400 MW Batoka Gorge hydro scheme 

By: Terence Creamer     1st September 2020 The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) is preparing to conduct disclosure meetings with communities in Zambia and Zimbabwe whose land or livelihoods could be affected by the construction of the proposed 2 400 MW Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme (BGHES), a transboundary project located 47-km... 

Zambezi River Authority gears up for community consultations on proposed 2 400 MW Batoka Gorge hydro scheme
Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme site

Botswana plans to add 600 MW of coal-fired and solar power by 2026

By: Reuters     31st August 2020 Botswana plans to add 600 MW of solar and coal-fired power in the next six years as the country looks to wean itself off imports while also eyeing power exports, the minerals and energy minister said on Monday. Botswana currently has national demand of 600 MW, but recurring breakdowns at one of... 

Ethiopia seeks US clarification on reports of planned aid cut

By: Bloomberg     31st August 2020 Ethiopia asked the US government to clarify reports it may withhold about $130-million of aid in a bid to pressure the Horn of Africa nation to review its plans to fill a new dam that have affronted its neighbors. “We have asked for clarification on reports of the United States’ decision not to... 

Regulations, pricing a challenge for local LNG uptake

By: Theresa Bhowan     28th August 2020 Despite there being vast benefits to using liquefied natural gas (LNG) locally, natural gas producer Renergen tells Engineering News that regulations and pricing are impeding the growth of the LNG sector. 

Regulations, pricing a challenge  for local LNG uptake
RENEWING ENERGY Renewable energy is fast becoming more affordable

Laser tech key to developing economy

By: Tracy Hancock     28th August 2020 It is vital that South Africa has an in-depth understanding of the impact photonics-based technologies will have on its economic development, as they underpin the communication systems and sensors needed to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The country also needs to ensure that it can... 

Laser tech key to developing economy
LASER FOCUS The present focus of the Rental Pool Programme is to improve the commercialisation of research done by research groups

Old Mutual fund urges South Africa to focus on power

By: Bloomberg     27th August 2020 A $1.9-billion infrastructure fund owned by Old Mutual said South Africa should start with power as it embarks on an R2.3-trillion drive to lure private investment into infrastructure over the next decade. Electricity is South Africa’s most urgent need and the country has experience of approving... 

Projects developed in renewables zones, gas and grid corridors ‘not exempt’ from environmental processes 

By: Terence Creamer     26th August 2020 The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) has dismissed suggestions that renewable-energy projects developed within the designated Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs), including the three new zones being proposed, will be exempt from all environmental authorisation... 

Projects developed in renewables zones, gas and grid corridors ‘not exempt’ from environmental processes

Etion Create selected as one of the preferred suppliers in the UK-based Sofia offshore wind farm project

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th August 2020 Advanced electronics equipment original design manufacturer Etion Create has secured a contract to supply its VF360 OpenVPX boards for the core computing units (CCUs) installed in the one of the world’s largest offshore wind farm projects. The Sofia offshore wind farm, 100% owned by German... 

Opinion: Changing one number, in one piece of legislation, can change South Africa’s destiny, in one day

26th August 2020 In this opinion piece, South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) Grid Access Working Group chairperson Daniel Goldstuck, writes about a possible solution to South Africa's energy crisis. What if I told you that our energy crisis could be alleviated with one simple change? 

Opinion: Changing one number, in one piece of legislation, can change South Africa’s destiny, in one day
SAPVIA Grid Access Working Group chairperson Daniel Goldstuck

Sudan and Ethiopia pledge to push for deal on Blue Nile dam

By: Reuters     26th August 2020 Ethiopia's prime minister and Sudan's leadership said on Tuesday they would make every effort to reach a deal on a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that has caused a bitter dispute between Addis Ababa and Cairo over water supplies. Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike an agreement on... 

Africa Prize selects 2020 finalists ahead of virtual event

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     25th August 2020 A more affordable, effective cervical cancer screening device, a digital platform to help farmers plan and distribute crops, a new way to secure banking through facial recognition, and a tool that monitors the condition of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations are the four innovations selected as... 

Stanlib acquires stake in Mulilo Group

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     25th August 2020 South African asset manager Stanlib’s Infrastructure Investments unit has acquired a 10% equity stake in Mulilo Energy Holdings, which is a R1.8-billion privately-owned renewable energy developer. This transaction is strategic and complementary to both companies, Mulilo says. 

Botswana, Namibia set to sign 5 GW solar energy plan

By: Bloomberg     24th August 2020 Botswana and Namibia are set to sign an agreement to develop solar projects of as much as 5 GW through installations built across their mostly flat, sunny landscapes. The southern African nations are working with US government initiative, Power Africa, to help structure the deal, Namibian Mines... 

Eskom Transmission head says policy, legislative and regulatory changes needed to facilitate unit’s full independence  

By: Terence Creamer     21st August 2020 The head of Eskom’s Transmission division has outlined some of the progress being made to establish an Independent Transmission System Operator (ITSO) but has also warned that full separation will take time and will also require major policy, legislative and regulatory changes. The creation of... 

Eskom Transmission head says policy, legislative and regulatory changes needed to facilitate unit’s full independence
Eskom Transmission CEO Segomoco Scheppers on the progress being made in setting up an Independent Transmission System Operator and the gaps that remain. Camera Work: Kutlwano Matala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Congo hydrogen plant being considered by European turbine maker

By: Bloomberg     21st August 2020 German turbine makers and natural gas companies are exploring producing green hydrogen in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to what could become the world’s largest hydropower complex. Should the project go ahead Congo would join Morocco as a potential site for hydrogen production in Africa.... 

Global wind body urges South Africa to explore ‘excellent’ offshore wind potential 

By: Terence Creamer     21st August 2020 The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) says that, while South Africa has strong onshore wind potential, it would nevertheless encourage domestic policymakers to begin creating the framework for an offshore wind industry given the country’s “excellent” offshore wind-energy potential. The World Bank... 

 Global wind body urges South Africa to explore ‘excellent’ offshore wind potential
South Africa's offshore wind resource

Increased storage crucial to mix

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st August 2020 With South Africa aiming to move towards more diversified energy generation systems as outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP 2019), it is crucial to increase the country’s energy-storage capacities, says solar industry supplier Valsa Trading. 

Increased storage crucial to mix
A DECADE IN Valsa Trading has been in the photovoltaic solar industry in South Africa for more than ten years

Noncarbon future epitomises ideal energy mix

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st August 2020 In about 2060, the ideal energy mix would be one with only non-carbon sources, such as wind, solar, pumped hydro and hydrogen, says global energy advisory UL. 

Noncarbon future epitomises ideal  energy mix
JAMES TRUDEAU It is “very critical” that Eskom increases its energy storage capacities to support a more diversified energy portfolio

Clean coal can still play meaningful role in S Africa

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st August 2020 Coal is relatively cheap and widely available; therefore, if it is used cleanly and efficiently, it can be a vital part of the economic development of South Africa, says the IEA Clean Coal Centre (IEACCC). 

Clean coal can still play meaningful role in S Africa
Photo by Creamer Media
GROWTH POINT About 18 000 jobs were created during the peak of construction at Eskom’s Medupi power plant

Microgrid solutions could combat load-shedding

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st August 2020 Microgrid solutions with battery energy storage systems are ideal to ensure stable and sustainable power by harnessing solar and other renewable energy resources, says technology solutions provider Hitachi ABB Power Grids. 

Microgrid solutions could combat load-shedding
GREEN ENERGY SOLUTIONS Hitachi ABB’s intelligent solutions for a more dynamic grid will also contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 of affordable, reliable and clean energy

Eskom fully supports South Africa’s lower-carbon trajectory

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st August 2020 The Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP 2019) signals an important move to a range of fuel options for power generation in South Africa, which State-owned power utility Eskom supports. 

Eskom fully supports South Africa’s lower-carbon trajectory
PHASING IN THE GREEN Eskom proposes to continue adopting a phased and prioritised approach to achieve compliance to the Minimum Emission Standards regarding particulate matter

Govt extends date for comment on Renewable Energy Development Zones

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     18th August 2020 An extension to September 4 has been granted for public comment on the geographical areas identified as Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZ) for wind and solar, as well as for the related environmental authorisation processes. In a series of government notices published in July, Environment,... 

Cronimet Mining Power Solutions merges with Namibia’s Ohlthaver group

By: Marleny Arnoldi     18th August 2020 German renewable energy project development company Cronimet Mining Power Solutions has merged with Namibia’s largest privately held group of companies Ohlthaver & List Group (O&L). O&L acquired a majority stake in Cronimet from exiting major shareholder Cronimet Mining Energy, which is based in... 

Madagascar solar roll-out to address access issues, reduce fossil fuel dependency

By: Donna Slater     18th August 2020 Renewable energy, real estate and free zone project developer Groupe Filatex is rolling out a series of renewable energy power projects in Madagascar in partnership with Canada-based energy development company Dera Energy as part of its efforts to address a dire electricity deficit, increase... 

Madagascar solar roll-out to address access issues, reduce fossil fuel dependency

Sasol’s new-look strategy will seek to ‘reset’ group for low-carbon world 

By: Terence Creamer     17th August 2020 Embattled chemicals and energy group Sasol aims to officially unveil its new-look strategy, dubbed Future Sasol, later this year. It has already indicated, however, that the plan will seek to reposition the 70-year-old company, built around a highly carbon-intensive technology that converts coal... 

Sasol’s new-look strategy will seek to ‘reset’ group for low-carbon world

SAPVIA shares solar installation tips

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th August 2020 While State-owned power utility Eskom and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa continue their legal battles and with another tariff hike looming in April 2021, households and businesses might well be asking what this means for them, says the South African Photovoltaic Industry... 

Report reveals minigrid benefits for Africa

By: Donna Slater     14th August 2020 Minigrid electricity developer industry association, the Africa Minigrids Developers Association (Amda), on August 13 launched its 'Benchmarking Africa’s Minigrids' report, which finds that minigrids outperform utilities in terms of affordability, with average installed costs of $733 a... 

Opinion: Unpacking pertinent questions related to municipalities procuring power from IPPs 

14th August 2020 In this opinion piece, South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) CEO Ntombifuthu Ntuli writes about questions that need to be addressed as the regulatory environment becomes more conducive for municipalities to procure power directly from independent power producers (IPPs). Draft amendments... 

Opinion: Unpacking pertinent questions related to municipalities procuring power from IPPs
SAWEA CEO Ntombifuthi Ntuli

The use of recycled plastic used to store electrical energy demonstrated in the US

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th August 2020 Researchers in the US have successfully used recycled plastic to create rapidly-charging energy storage devices. The research team is composed of engineering professors and students at the University of California Riverside (UCR), and they have been working on using sustainable resources –... 

The use of recycled plastic used to store electrical energy demonstrated in the US
Photo by University of California Riverside
Left to right: Professors Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan.

Despite Covid-induced demand slump, load-shedding surpasses 2019 levels and risk of more cuts rises  

By: Terence Creamer     12th August 2020 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) reported on Wednesday that load-shedding during 2020 had already surpassed that of 2019, which had hitherto been the country’s worst-ever year for load-shedding. In addition, it again warned that, absent urgent action, the risk of... 

Despite Covid-induced demand slump, load-shedding surpasses 2019 levels and risk of more cuts rises

Cape Town ordered to settle IPP dispute with Minister, but case can be re-enrolled if talks fail 

By: Terence Creamer     11th August 2020 The City of Cape Town, which approached the High Court in 2017 for an order allowing it to procure renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs) without first securing the consent of the Energy Minister, has been directed by the court seek a settlement with the Minister and the... 

Cape Town ordered to settle IPP dispute with Minister, but case can be re-enrolled if talks fail
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