Energy Companies are generating their own power. SECTOR INSIGHT Energy zones could boost old mining areas.
Credit: Knight Piésold
reas in the Gauteng province that can no longer rely on the mining industry to drive their economies could become focus zones for solar PV projects. Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs) have been allocated in other provinces (two for solar, one for wind) but the potential for REDZs in Gauteng is huge, because vast amounts of energy are needed to drive the country’s biggest economy. These zones would be developed in line with the national Integrated Resources Plan (IRP 2019) which the Gauteng Provincial Government is hoping will enable it to unlock several renewable energy projects. Other projects include promoting gas usage, the development of hydrogen fuel-cell technology and the recommissioning of power stations. National power regulator, NERSA, has been asked by the National Minister of Energy to consider granting licences to small-scale power producers to sell any excess power. The likely granting of these licences will open up the market and help small manufacturers to cover the cost of installing generating capacity. Many companies and institutions are generating their own power. In Johannesburg, the Northern Wastewater Treatment Works (pictured) has its own electricity source in a 1.1MW biogas plant. It produces electricity using cogeneration, which is combined heat and power. A landfill site at Robinson Deep in Johannesburg has started generating 3MW of gas. This is the first of five renewable energy projects that Energy Systems SA has lined up in Johannesburg. At the Cavalier abattoir in Cullinan, biowaste conversion company ibert provides about
ONLINE RESOURCES National Energy Regulator of South Africa: www.nersa.org.za South African Photovoltaic Industry Association: www.sapvia.co.za South African National Energy Development Institute: www.sanedi.org.za
GAUTENG BUSINESS 2020/21
a quarter of the power that the abattoir needs to function. Absa Bank has followed up on its decision to take its central Johannesburg campus off the national electricity grid. Investments in a 6 000-panel rooftop solar system (which cost R10-million), the synchronisation of gas and diesel generators and sophisticated water and underfloor heating systems have all contributed to massive energy savings. The rooftop solar installation at Absa’s Pretoria office provides 17% of its electricity needs and the bank intends rolling out solar solutions for another five offices soon in addition to investigating battery solutions in pursuit of what it calls “net zero offices”. One of the biggest roofs in South Africa is to get one of the largest solar installations. Mall of Africa, a joint venture by Attacq and Atterbury in Waterfall City, Midrand, will produce about 7 800 MWh/y from panels on 45 000 m² of roof space. Vukile Property Fund has decided to equip all of the malls in its portfolio with rooftop solar panels. Retrofitting of light fittings has also taken place, to improve energy efficiency. ■