Energize Inbox, August 2015

August 11th, 2015, Published in Articles: Energize

Our winning letter

re: Installing renewable energy is not an indulgence, it is the right thing to do
I refer to the numerous articles about the successes of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement (REIPPP) programme which was launched in 2011 that have been written in the past. The most recent of which was written by Roger Lilley (Lead editorial, Energize, July 2015). This REIPPP has been so successful that I implore all the powers that be (Government and its SOCs) and private industry to immediately commence with the implementation of the next four or more planned phases of this programme without any further delay. Throw away all the red tape and bureaucracy please. And implement them.  This will, within one year, overcome all our load shedding problems and the restrictions this places on GDP growth and business development and expansion (mining and industry) and the resultant solving of the unemployment situation in our country. And all of this without any cost to both the government (with its already poor low credit ratings) or to any others including the consumers of electricity. Please remember the more electricity capacity is available, without load shedding, the more both industry and private individuals will consume and gladly pay for, and fill the coffers of Eskom. I wish common sense would prevail.
Frans van Neerijnen


re: The pros and cons of using SF6 gas in switchgear
I refer to the panel discussion published in the July 2015 edition of Energize. What about the GWP of leaked SF6? This gas has the highest GWP of all known compounds equal to 23 t of CO2 per kg or approximately 141 kg of CO2 per litre of SF6. Switchgear that is not properly maintained can leak all of its SF6 to atmosphere. If SF6 is to be kept in use it should be classed as a controlled substance requiring the users to compile regular reports on the amount of gas that has leaked or potentially leaked to atmosphere.
Michele Rivarola


re: How are renewable electricity providers performing so far?
Can anybody find comprehensive feedback on performance of the various renewable electricity companies that have commissioned and provided generation to the grid so far? Until they can publish annual reports showing their individual financial results and plant performance results in the detail we have until now had in Eskom’s annual reports, we are really in the dark as to their real individual contributions to solving the massive threat to the economy that inadequate electricity poses. Presumably NERSA and our energy ministry are collating the information and at least providing an overall picture in their annual feedback to Parliament. Does the so-called “war room” have up-to-date information on the situation? If not, why not? And if it does have it, why is not reporting on how it these projects are progressing on a monthly basis?
Alan Mitchell


re: What is the true cost of renewable energy?
I read a lot of fanciful (and rosy) words in the article “What is the true cost of renewable energy?” (page 7, Energize, July 2015).
Quoting the installed capacity gives to my mind a false impression. We can say we have 2000 MW of wind turbines up and ready. An article I read somewhere quoted that the average output in this case is only some 30% of installed capacity so in effect we have not 2000 but 600 MW usable over a period of time. We also need to look at the wind patterns; surely the availability of wind should align to the daily load demand which fluctuates from a minimum in the early morning to a peak at late evening. Does the wind accommodate this pattern?  The same holds with other renewable sources such as sunlight; how many square kilometres do we require per MW and how can the energy be stored for night time use? Overall I am of the opinion that renewables are not the answer to South Africa’s current problems; just a nice to have but with a false expectation.
Roxy Lowe


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