No load-shedding until May, says Eskom head

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on No load-shedding until May, says Eskom head

Eskom has been congratulated for alleviating load-shedding, but demand for electricity has dropped dramatically since the start of the year. It is likely there will be no load-shedding until at least May 2016, Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe said on Wednesday. While maintenance on Eskom’s ageing fleet has been increased, the power utility has managed to stave off implementing load-shedding for more than 80 days. “We are doing all that maintenance without load-shedding,” Molefe said. “We will step up our maintenance in December as everyone goes on holiday. We will add quite a lot of units to the maintenance programme to catch up on backlog. “We do not anticipate load-shedding until at least the 30th of April,” he said, adding that Eskom was working on overcoming the maintenance backlog ahead of the winter season. “We know when those problems will occur, so we know when to put plans in place.” Molefe told Parliament that Eskom was celebrating 50 days of no load-shedding and 87 days where only two and a half hours of load-shedding took place. “After July, load reductions and load-shedding has been very minimal,” he said. “Going forward, it won’t be necessary to update [the public on these daily load-shedding stats] as having electricity will become a normal thing,” he said. While Eskom has been congratulated on alleviating load-shedding, electricity usage has dropped dramatically since the start of 2015. This has raised concerns that Eskom has avoided implementing load-shedding because of this drop in usage. Trader, investor and stock market researcher Dwaine van Vuuren wrote on the News24 voices blog on Tuesday that an examination of the data from Stats SA gives the real reason for no load-shedding. “Electricity output has plummeted because demand has plummeted dramatically to 2008 recessionary levels. Not a good sign for the SA economy,” he wrote. – Source...

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Load shedding highlights cloud benefits

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on Load shedding highlights cloud benefits

SA’s power problems present compelling reasons for companies to move to the cloud, says Itumeleng Kobedi, product manager of Group Cloud Services at MTN. “Many South African companies have been slow to move to the cloud, citing concerns around data sovereignty, security, control of data and even business continuity,” says Itumeleng Kobedi, product manager of Group Cloud Services at MTN. But the wave of load shedding, which shows no signs of ending in the foreseeable future, underlines the fact that there are even greater risks to data and businesses if they do notmove to the cloud, says Kobedi. “Most companies are dependent on a combination of Eskom power, UPS and generators to keep running,” he points out. “But as we have discovered, these are all fallible. Typically, when load shedding occurs, the UPS kicks in for a short period, then the business falls back on a generator. Not only is diesel for running generators becoming increasingly costly, but generators themselves can fail. Few companies have several of them in place in case of emergency. MTN has invested heavily in multiple power sources and redundancy measures to minimise the risk of downtime at its data centres. “Should all power be lost, data corruption can occur and business continuity is impacted. And recovery from disaster can be problematic, unless mission-critical systems and applications are hosted in the cloud,” he says. As part of MTN Business’s strategy of becoming a full service ICT player, its cloud solutions enable cost-effective business continuity and disaster recovery that overcomes the power problem. “MTN’s tier three and tier four data centres are geared to ensure near 100% power availability, with state-of-the-art security and monitoring,” Kobedi notes. “Our hosting environment is highly secure. In an environment where any number of events could disrupt mission-critical systems and applications, there is a compelling case to be made for moving to cloud,” he...

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A summer without load shedding?

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on A summer without load shedding?

By Marianne Merten and Anna Cox Johannesburg – Eskom has just celebrated 30 days of no load shedding and, if there are no major breakdowns at any of the stations, this could continue through summer. “We can continue with no load shedding if the public and businesses assist us. We will be undergoing major maintenance work in the coming months, but we have proved that despite this, we can still do it,” said spokesman Khulu Phasiwe. However, Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown said while the energy supply situation was improving, “it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods”, and Eskom should be given space to do the necessary maintenance. On Friday, Eskom interim chief executive Brian Molefe said the tight slotting of blocks of planned maintenance alongside unexpected plant failures and blocks of steady supplies were paying off. He said Eskom’s teams of “young engineers” were successfully managing a live system, logging what’s available, triggering recalculations and decisions on bringing additional power on to the grid. Thus on September 2, when in addition to planned maintenance taking 4 608MW off the grid, another 6 757MW fell off because of unplanned crashes, the live system allowed for lights to remain on by bringing online 500MW to 600MW of the 2 000MW generated by gas turbines for an hour from 6.30pm. “It’s like playing Tetris, quite literally,” said Molefe at a briefing on Friday, in reference to the Russian-designed 1980s computer puzzle of slotting blocks. “It’s too simplistic to say load shedding (due to maintenance) or lights on. We need both. Load shedding is very expensive for South Africa. “It is the reason economists are saying the economy is growing slowly. Whatever happens, we’ll find the money to fund the maintenance programme,” he said. Eskom’s strategy is based on several factors: 7 000MW will be off the grid in planned maintenance at any given time over the next year to catch up on backlogs many of South Africa’s ageing power generation plants require, securing new supplies through, for example, independent power provider contracts and managing demand. According to Eskom’s planning, energy supplies will be tight until September 14 and again from May to August next year. Meanwhile, the massive coal-power generators at Medupi and Kusile to bring 9 600MW to the grid, alongside the Ingula pumped-storage scheme’s contribution of 1 332MW, are behind schedule – and, in the case of the coal power stations, over budget. Medupi and Kusile are four years behind schedule and expected to be fully online by 2019. Costs for Medupi stand at R105 billion, up from the initial R69bn price tag, and costs at Kusile are R118bn, up from R80bn, according to an Eskom presentation to the parliamentary public enterprises committee in April. Brown acknowledged there’d been “insufficient planning” and if Medupi had been built on time, “we’d have averted the situation (of load shedding) or made it less”. According to information presented at Friday’s briefing, Ingula units 3, 4, 2 and 1 are coming online only next year in April, May, July and August respectively, although according to the Eskom website, the project was to be “fully operational at the end of 2015”. Medupi Unit 5, the second in the six-unit project, is now set to come into operation in two years’ time in September...

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Big drop in SA electricity production

Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on Big drop in SA electricity production

Electricity generated by South Africa dropped by 3.3% for July compared to the same period last year, Statistics South Africa said on Thursday. Electricity generated by South Africa dropped by 3.3% for July compared to the same period last year, Statistics South Africa said on Thursday. The total volume of electricity distributed in SA for the month of July has decreased progressively from 21 119 GWh in 2013 to 19 994 GWh in 2015. Stats SA conducts a monthly survey of the electricity industry to measure the volume of electricity units distributed. The drastic implementation of load shedding since the beginning of 2015 has hit the SA economy hard. The country’s gross domestic product contracted by 1.3% in the second quarter of 2015, a statistic economists say was directly linked to load shedding. Despite a slight year-on-year upward trend from -3.5% in May to -1.7% in June, electricity generation plunged to -3.3% for July. Manager of industry statistics for Stats SA Nicolai Claassen told Fin24 that the consumption of electricity is ‘correlated’ with its production. “Electricity demand generally drives supply,” he said. Eskom, which produced 95% of SA’s electricity in 2014, entered its 26th day without load shedding on Thursday. Meanwhile unit 6 of Medupi power station was officially opened by President Jacob Zuma on Sunday. The unit has been synchronised onto the national grid and has undergone a period of testing.4...

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No load-shedding for 25 days: Eskom

Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on No load-shedding for 25 days: Eskom

JOHANNESBURG – Eskom announced on Thursday that they have been able to supply the country’s electricity needs and do maintenance without implementing load-shedding for the past 25 days. “We are implementing our maintenance plan to increase the reliability of our plant, which will in turn increase our operating reserves and stabilise the grid,” the power utility said in a statement. Eskom said that they did not anticipate any load-shedding on Thursday as the power system was currently stable. “However, the system remains vulnerable, meaning that any extra load or faults in the system may necessitate the need to implement load-shedding.” Eskom appealed to all their customers to continue to reduce their electricity usage throughout the day but to be aware of the need to save more during the peak periods from 6am to 10am and 5pm to 9pm. Source...

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Medupi: Eskom’s R105bn project

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on Medupi: Eskom’s R105bn project

Lephalale – President Jacob Zuma opened South Africa’s first new power plant in 20 years on Sunday with a warning that the country’s perennial energy shortages were hampering economic growth. Construction on the six-unit, 4 764 MW Medupi plant near Lephalale, about 350km north of Johannesburg, was started in 2007 but the first 794 megawatts (MW) only came online this week after delays due to strikes, technical issues and cost overruns. The state-owned power utility Eskom meanwhile is facing its worst crisis as it struggles to stem power shortages. “Shortage of energy does not only cause enormous inconvenience, it is a serious impediment to economic growth. Today, I am here to say, there is light,” Zuma said on Sunday. Medupi’s Unit 6 brings Eskom’s installed capacity to 45 000 MW, said Brian Molefe, Eskom’s acting chief executive. Zuma had said on August 11 that power cuts were South Africa’s biggest challenge. They had shaved off one percentage point off growth and contributed to South Africa’s economic contraction in the second quarter of this year, he said. Medupi’s first unit started contributing power during its synchronisation period from March 2 and the plant is expected to be fully operational by the first half of 2019 and contribute to one-eighth of South Africa’s total electricity capacity. Once completed it will be the fourth-largest coal-fired plant and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world, the government said. Its planned operational life is 50 years. Eskom budgeted R105 billion for the entire project, but said on Sunday it would be higher due to overruns. As Eskom’s creaking power stations buckle under pressure, Zuma’s government is looking to introduce 9 600 MW of nuclear energy by 2030 into its strained grid to reduce its reliance on coal-fired power. The price-tag of up to $100 billion for the controversial build, which aims to have the first 1 000 MW of atomic power online in eight years time, has been met with strong opposition. Asked about delays, Molefe said: “We are going to have strict project management principles. We have to ensure that the timelines set are adhered to.” REUTERS Source...

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Fuel cell technology is the answer to load shedding

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on Fuel cell technology is the answer to load shedding

Many companies were of the opinion that fuel cell technology was an alternative to the major problems South Africa had been experiencing with load shedding. These were some of the comments made at the first annual HYSA (Hydrogen SA) meeting held in Cape Town. The purpose of the meeting was to promote technical and commercial interaction between the HySA centres of competence (CoCs) and stakeholders in the fuel cell technology sector, with the aim of strengthening public-private partnerships under the HySA programme. Fahmida Smith, the Fuel Cell Coordinator for Impala Platinum, said that even though R200m for a three-year project had been invested into fuel cell technology, there were still not regulations in place for this technology. “It will take between 18 to 20 months to do this. We want to play an enabling role in the fuel cell market,” she said. Kleantha Pillay from Anglo American said that they also had great success with fuel cell technology. “Stationary fuel cell technology is important to stimulate the industry. This is a window opportunity because there are such a lot of constraints on the grid. With fuel cells, you can quickly electrify schools and clinics. “We have already installed three fuel cells at schools. And, as part of our social upliftment project, we have the Rural Electrification project in Kroonstad. But in moving South Africa forward, government has a huge role to play in procurement,” she said. Andre Grzesiak, the business development manager for Air Products, commented that the energy market had become significant to their annual revenue. “It now makes up 23% of our revenue. We are currently collaborating with the Department of Energy on an energy project in the Eastern Cape,” he said. Dr Phil Mjwara, the director-general of the Department of Science and Technology, said the country’s energy challenges had provided them with an opportunity to look differently at the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology. “The department’s National Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology (HFCT) research, development and innovation strategy is being implemented by three HySA centres of competence. It is aimed at stimulating innovation along the value chain of HFCT in the country. “The ultimate goal of the strategy is to facilitate the establishment of a South African HFCT industry that captures a significant share of the global market.”...

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Portable solar power products empower Cape Town communities

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on Portable solar power products empower Cape Town communities

The Sungrid Group, developer, manufacturer and distributor of portable (solar) power and lighting products, has partnered with The Community Chest of the Western Cape to both power and empower Cape Town’s rural and township communities. “A key part of our company’s focus is to have our products make a difference in the lives of others,” says Hugo Blaisse, director, Sungrid Group and responsible for all NGO and other CSI related activities. To this end, the last few months has seen Sungrid Group partner with leading humanitarian agencies including the likes of United Nations, in its bid to fulfil on this vision. Known as the ‘Amandla Project’, the objective behind Sungrid Group’s local initiative with The Community Chest is to address unemployment, whilst combatting the effects that load shedding has on those with limited resources. “We live in a country where, at any given time, up to 10 million people have no access to electricity,” continues Blaisse. “Add to this the catastrophic effects on business and lifestyle as a result of ever-increasing load shedding, and it becomes virtually impossible for many South Africans to improve their quality of life or create financially viable opportunities.” The Amanda Project aims to change this. Operating under the slogan ‘Power your home; Empower your life’, it is providing entrepreneurs in townships and rural areas with the opportunity to not only power their homes, but also to use the products as a business tool to generate income. “The basis for the project lies in the specially designed Ecoboxx Entrepreneur Kits,” says Blaisse. A solar generator providing plug-and-play portable light and power, Ecoboxx has been very well received in the local market since its launch early 2014. Powered by unique lead crystal battery technology, it is highly durable with double the lifespan of conventional alternatives. With a range of more than 10 power Qubes (50W to 1500W), EcoBoxx caters to any and all power needs. The specially designed Ecoboxx Entrepreneur Kits are easily transportable and effortlessly set up at any locale. Capable of providing 80 hours of power, it comes complete with two bright LED lights, a USB-driven fan, hair clipper and a multi-device mobile phone charging cable. “Basically, it enables any aspiring entrepreneur to not only power their own home, but similarly to generate an income by opening up a barber shop and selling mobile phone charging time, anywhere there is a need,” continues Blaisse. The project has already trained 300 graduates, with up to 1000 kits to be distributed over the coming year. “It is our hope, and our goal, that by using our products in this way in townships and rural areas, that it will have a positive impact on the economic development of South Africa and its people,” concludes Blaisse. For more information on The Sungrid Group,...

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How we use electricity in South Africa

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on How we use electricity in South Africa

While Eskom published better than expected financial results for the year ended March 2015, it’s power delivery remains under strain. Load shedding is set to continue for the next 18 months, public enterprises minister Lynne Brown recently said, as Eskom, which supplies approximately 95% of the country’s power, continues to battle a number of issues most notably generation performance. On Tuesday (11 August), the group reported that annual profits declined by as much as 50%. The power utility said that net profit after tax for the year ended March 2015, was R3.6 billion – down from a 2014 total of R7.1 billion. Revenue for the year however, improved to R147.7 billion, from R138.3 billion in 2014. Electricity sales declined to 216.3GWh, from 225GWh in March 2012, due to shrinking demand from industrial users and mining companies. Load shedding led to sales of 548 GWh being foregone, the company said. In its presentation, Eskom highlighted electricity volumes by customer type, while also revealing its primary energy cost breakdown. Moneyweb noted that Eskom forked out R83.4 billion, 19% more than in 2014, for primary energy in the year ended March 31 2015. Eskom’s diesel bill for fueling its open-cycle gas turbines decreased from R10.5 billion in the previous year to R9.5...

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City to put cameras at sub-stations

Posted by on Aug 3, 2015 in Loadshedding | Comments Off on City to put cameras at sub-stations

CAMERAS will be installed at the electricity sub-stations in Pietermaritzburg to prevent scrap metal thieves from further vandalising the installations. The initiative, spearheaded initially by the Business Fighting Crime organisation last year, has been approved by the city council. This was according to Business Fighting Crime (BFC) chairperson Zinhle Zokhela, who addressed the annual general meeting of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) on Thursday evening. The electricity crisis was a big topic at theannual meeting. Pietermaritzburg businesses have been losing millions of rands in additional expenses and lost trade due to load shedding. PCB president Leo Quayle saidin his address at the meeting that electricity and water supply disruptions continue to cost money and cause “immense frustration” to citybusinesses. The PCB has 777 members. “To his credit, the municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi and his team have been very responsive to requests for assistance … in respect of outages.” The BFC said non-ferrous metal theft remains a big issueproblem in the city and an SMS system to scrap dealers has begun to make a difference. There are already 70 surveillance cameras operating in the city centre. BFC has also proposed to install cameras at Harry Gwala Stadium and the Alexandra Park. Quayle said one of the highlights for the chamber this year has been a project to mitigate the effects of load shedding. The project, briefly, entails getting businesses to voluntarily cut their electricity consumption by up to 10-15% ahead of a load-shedding event, thereby eliminating the need for load shedding. “We’ll shortly run a second trial voluntary reduction exercise, which, if as successful as the first run, will lead the way for a full voluntary reduction strategy which would, we believe, make stages 1 and stages 2 of load shedding a thing of the past,” said Quayle Source : News...

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