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Eskom power emergency wake-up call to large businesses to look at energy efficiency and going green

African Utility Week to focus on helping large power users be more energy efficient

“It is our responsibility to use power responsibly” – that was the response from Nicolette Pombo-Van Zyl, African Utility Week programme director on Eskom’s declaration of a power shortage emergency last week citing a risk that rotational load shedding could be implemented.

“We know we’re in a tight spot capacity-wise, and winter is on its way. We need to make sure that by the time the season changes, we are thinking differently about how we use electricity, so that we don’t put ourselves or Eskom under undue pressure,” Pombo-Van Zyl, continued.

African Utility Week, taking place in Cape Town from 13-14 May has a strong focus on large power users in Africa, helping them reduce costs while increasing productivity through energy and water efficiency solutions. The expo floor is also host to two days of free, practical, CPD-accredited technical workshops for all electrical engineers, technicians and contractors working in the power and water industry. Topics include renewable energy and energy & water efficiency.

Pombo-Van Zyl continues: “not only looming power shortages, but also the implementation of a carbon tax, coming into effect in January 2015, should be a spur for businesses to explore alternatives to carbon production and improve their internal energy efficiency. While it is Eskom’s responsibility to provide power, it is ours to make sure that we use it responsibly. Wastefulness around any resources, especially one we know to be finite, should be actively discouraged.  We all remember the 2008 blackouts and load shedding vividly and desperately want to avoid a repeat of that situation.”

Energy management systems
“The developed world is experiencing a decline in energy demand whereas developing countries are expected to experience an acceleration in energy demand”, according to Alf Hartzenburg, Senior Project Manager Western Cape – Industrial Energy Efficiency Project, National Cleaner Production Centre of SA, CSIR and chairman in the large power users track at African Utility Week.

He continues: “as economic growth in African countries is set to take off corresponding energy demand is expected to balloon. Any business seeking to remain competitive in the new world of declining energy reserves and seeking a sustainable solution must seriously consider the implementation of the ISO 50001 aligned energy management system.”

ArcelorMittal saved R90-million in energy bill
The ISO50001 energy management system was implemented with great success at ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in Saldanha, the single largest electricity consumer in the Western Cape, and resulted in an astounding R90 million energy bill savings in one year.  According to General Manager, Dhesan Moodley, Saldanha launched a focused energy management strategy in 2010, with resources allocated both in terms of people and capital expenditure. He adds: “initially the potential was determined through an existing project list and doing an energy audit on the plant to determine further possible savings.  After ISO 50001 was implemented, energy management is now part of our daily routines.  Energy saved:  baseline value 160 MW (saved 10.6MW on baseline in 2012) or 6.6%.”

Going green
“Concentrating Solar Power or CSP is the best technology for South Africa for future electricity production. It is already cheaper than new coal fired power stations, if you include all the costs for fuels during a lifetime”, says Professor Dr.-Ing. Frank Dinter, Eskom Chair in CSP and Solar Thermal Energy Research Group (STERG) at the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University. He is also a speaker at Clean Power Africa, which forms part of African Utility Week, and explores greener and cleaner technologies for the utility industry. Says Prof Dinter: “CSP has the big advantage to collect and store heat to produce electricity on demand, meaning also after sunset and during the night. South Africa has started to add solar thermal power plants to its existing power plant park. Soon everybody will recognise CSP plants as having real capacity and that it fits perfectly into the South African grid.”

The award winning 14th African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference and expo is taking place at the CTICC in Cape Town from 13-14 May 2014. It is attended by more than 5000 power and water professionals from more than 30 African countries and 70 worldwide, at what is the largest utility gathering of its kind on the continent. Discussions, workshops, exhibits and site visits will focus on the industry disciplines of metering, clean power, water, large power users, investment and finance, transmission & distribution, smart grids and generation. The energy & water efficiency and the renewable energy workshops are presented by the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC) and the Southern Africa Association for Energy Efficiency.

Event dates and location:
Conference and Exhibition (including workshops):  13-14 May 2014
Focus day:  12 May 2014
Site visits:  15 May 2014
Location:  CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa
Website:  www.clean-power-africa.com  ; www.african-utility-week.com

Communications manager:  Annemarie Roodbol
Telephone :  +27 21 700 3558
Mobile:  +27 82 562 7844
Email:  annemarie.roodbol@clarionevents.com