Energize Inbox, July 2015

July 14th, 2015, Published in Articles: Energize

Our winning letter

re: Winter maintenance with little or no loadshedding?

Sir

At the end of May, Brian Molefe, Eskom’s interim chief executive, confidently vowed that there would be no load shedding this winter, starting on 1 June. A couple of days later the load shedding started.
When I was a small child I took apart my toy friction car and connected the friction mechanism to the front wheels to recover energy at the same time as the spring was driving the back wheels. My first attempt at perpetual motion didn’t work. All the wheels froze solid and all I got from it was the bent and battered remains of my tin Japanese car. Although I didn’t realise it at time, that was my first lesson in the immutable laws of physics which dictate that on the physical plane us mortals cannot get anything from nothing.
In 2007/8 Eskom ran into the immutable fact that we did not have enough generating capacity. Good maintenance and refurbishment would have enabled us to hang on to what we had, but increasing demand would still have driven us deeper into the hole. Of course, given the precarious state of Eskom’s big toys, as much catch up maintenance as possible is desirable. But with insufficient capacity there are limits as to what can be achieved during winter, especially if it is a cold one. In order not to increase load shedding such maintenance has to be squeezed in between the diurnal peaks of the demand cycle. Hence the units which are taken out of service would have to be brought back each day to support the daily peak demand, or be available to be brought back within hours or less to play their part. Of necessity this winter maintenance would have to be very superficial since proper maintenance requires weeks of downtime to disassemble parts, do the maintenance, refurbish anything that is about to break and reassemble them.
Of course, if Eskom has now assumed the omniscience of God and can predict that we won’t experience peak power shortages weeks into the future, then more could be done. Although of course they do already have omnipotence of a local demi-god that gives them the power to manipulate electricity supply – but then, that is load shedding, isn’t it?

Chris Herold


re: UJ student empowered by “engineering” mother

Sir

I wish to commend EE Publishers on the article on page 15 in the May 2015 issue of Energize titled “UJ student empowered by engineering mother”.
This is one of the most uplifting stories I have read recently and it brought tears to my eyes.
This is the kind of goodness that is still going around in our beautiful country of which we need much more; it is a story of both tenacity and endurance of a disadvantaged person with a will to progress in life on the one side, and the merciful caring nature of a person who herself suffered great personal loss on the other side. How wonderful it is to see that such benevolence sees no race, economic or other status in life.
If only we can see more such acts of kindness and read more such uplifting stories, rather than the antics of some self-centred politician.

Congratulations!

Dr. Manie Brynard


re: Solar is the way to go

Sir

With reference to the article “Do engineers have the key to solve South Africa’s energy crisis?” published on page 3 of the June 2015 edition of Energize, I still think solar is the way to go. We have a climate suitable for such, we just need the solar panels to be more efficient, this certainly will reduce the load on our current grid considerably, imagine if each home had a panel or two just to power only the lights in each home, and if each home had these low power LED lamps. This is what government should be focusing on, and our engineers should be focusing on energy efficiency and the implementation this technology.

Shane Padayachee

 

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