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OVERVIEW The provincial government wants to see the RBIDZ become a hub for renewable energy, and this bio-gas project is expected to be the first of many in solar power, wind and other types of renewable energy. The huge forestry, timber, paper and pulp industries of the province carry with them the potential to provide feedstock for the renewable energy sector. KwaZulu-Natal’s most widely grown crops, sugar cane and sugar beet, are among the most efficient and cost-effective feedstock for the creation of biofuel. A R1.8-billion project is planned for the northern area of Makhathini. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is the major investor in this scheme which is intended to produce 72-million litres of ethanol and 34MW of electricity. Sugar grower and producer Tongaat Hulett believes that the national sugar industry could generate between 700MW and 900MW. Biomass technology is at the centre of the conversion scheme of South African Breweries at its Prospecton plant south of Durban. Methane-gas emissions from a nearby effluent plant are piped to the plant where they are converted to electricity. The eThekwini Municipality is spending R140-million on a plant that will convert methane gas from its major landfill sites. Lanele Resources and Amatala Resources have plans to produce fuel from municipal waste. The Provincial Planning Commission is investigating wind channels and sunlight intensity levels in KwaZulu-Natal.

Thirty-seven turbines are proposed for a wind farm to be run by St Lucia Wind Farms Ltd near Hluhluwe. The premier’s office calculates this will carry an investment value of R150-million and have the potential for creating 100 jobs.

Solar Municipal buildings in the eThekwini metro are being fitted with solar panels. The Ushaka Marine World Theme Park is one of several facilities to receive solar PV panels intended to reduce demand from the grid. Altogether, the pilot programme should save the city 426.75MWh, or about R330 000 in its first year of operation. The growing popularity of solar water heaters has encouraged Durban manufacturer Solar Beam to spend R2.5-million on expanding its premises. A Solar Energy Institute is to be established in the province, a joint initiative between the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Georgia Technology Institute of the USA.

Cogeneration Cogeneration (combining heat and power) is gaining in popularity, especially in the sugar milling industry. Calcium carbide producer SA Calcium Carbide has launched its R115-million plant, with the help of the Green Industries Strategic Business Unit of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The plant will generate 8MW and reduce by 20% SACC’s dependence on the national grid. Zest WEG Group is targeting the cogeneration sector in the province because of the company’s special skills in this area, acquired when WEG bought Zest in 2010. WEG has been active in Brazil in turning pulp, paper and sugar into fuel.

CONTACT INFO National Department of Energy: National Energy Regulator: Renewable Energy Center of Research and Development: South African National Energy Association: South African National Energy Development Institute: South African Wind Energy Association: Southern African Bioenergy Association: Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederation:



KwaZulu-Natal Business 2017/18  

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2016/17 is the eighth edition of this highly successful publication that has since its launch in 2007 established its...

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