[img:Earth%20-%20Pic%201_0.jpg| ]By Johan Muller industry analyst email@example.com and Megan van den Berg industry analyst firstname.lastname@example.org
30 March 2012 - Earth Hour 2011 witnessed 135 countries and more than 5,200 cities across the globe, switching off their lights for an hour to send a powerful message for action on climate change, according to the official Earth Hour website. From its beginnings in Sydney, Australia in 2007, the last Saturday of March each year has become a scheduled event on the global calendar, labelled Earth Hour.
Although Earth Hour has garnered (in some instances) a type of emotive and fashionable herd mentality response from people and cities, the real issue is: what is the raison d’être behind Earth Hour?
It is an initiative with the simple idea of raising awareness as to the effects of uncontrolled energy use. These effects include global warming, loss of energy security and in general, a lacklustre mindset towards energy consumption. Each country’s energy mix and its associated set of energy issues is unique.
South Africa, for example, a hybrid between a purely developing and developed nation, has a multitude of energy supply issues. South Africa’s energy demand is highly likely to outstrip the energy supply this winter (2012), with a potential deficit of 3,000 MW during peak hours. Couple this with Eskom’s recent breach of the electricity margin (global best practice is a 15.0 % margin, with Eskom operating at a margin of roughly 11.6% since 2009) and its use of diesel-fired gas turbines to keep the lights on, and you have an unsustainable system with massive cost implications.
In the context of climate change, South Africa has a semi-arid climate in terms of annual rainfall, and is very sensitive to any changes in the climate. With predicted massive water shortages looming, the future hangs precariously on a few key decisions that will need to be made in the next five years.
One of the current initiatives by Eskom (apart from various market rebates, incentives and other industrial projects) is its recent drive towards energy efficiencies. Frost & Sullivan recently conducted energy studies to determine where South Africa can be more energy efficient. The industrial, agriculture and residential sectors were evaluated as well as commercial and government buildings and various others. Specific products analysed included geysers, air-conditioners, incandescent / CFL lights, pumps, motors and the like.
The results proved that the general South African individual (and business) is unaware of their energy consumption. Few people know the amount of energy they consume, and Rand cost per month of their own geyser, fridge, stove, pump, electric motors and so forth.
This ignorance stems from a legacy of paying cheap electricity tariffs in the past, which has led to a culture of naïve electricity consumption. It is very difficult to make a lasting improvement in energy consumption if you do not even know where you consume electricity inefficiently.
Consider this example: A typical household, replacing its incandescent light bulbs with energy saving CFLs, will experience savings of between 75% and 80% on the lighting component of its electricity bill.
The table below provides a high level insight into potential cost savings per year. This is based on the assumption that 10 light bulbs per household at 100 W incandescent and 20 W CFL are installed in each scenario, at R1.10 per kWh, in a 30 day month.
[img:Energy.thumbnail.JPG| ]27 March 2012 - Util Labs has developed the Low Voltage Smart System (LVSS) that brings the entire low voltage network in real time to a utility’s control room in a secure and cost-effective manner not previously possible. Traditional systems available to power utilities did not allow this to be practically implemented in the low voltage environment.
The LVSS can shift peak load, and if necessary, save base load by promoting consumer behaviour to adopt other sources of energy like gas, solar, coal (fireplaces) etc. It ensures that the responsibility for using electricity sparingly (whilst maintaining a lifestyle) is transferred to the consumer.
Customers in the residential sector are given a plug and play display device called EDDI that gives them current and accumulated consumption readings for their premises in real time. This makes them aware of their electricity usage and allows them to make conscious decisions on where to apply savings without inconveniencing themselves. Experience has shown that with an EDDI installed, customers adopt diligent energy saving behaviour and realise the importance of having energy saving appliances.
The device also allows customers to detect faulty appliances in their home, reducing the chance of unintended excessive usage and potentially unsafe conditions. The EDDI can be used as a communication tool by the utility to send customers power alerts and other related message either as mass messages or on a one-to-one basis.
Supplementary to the EDDI initiative is a simple web interface called the Consumer Consumption Console (CCC). Available exclusively to EDDI customers, the CCC gives a historical view of electricity consumption and allows the consumer to accurately equate his/her energy saving efforts to electricity saving in kWh which in turn equates to rands and cents. The CCC also equips customers with the tools needed to calculate their water usage and carbon footprint generated as a result of their electricity consumption.
The following study depicts the results of 400 households that have EDDIs (distributed from Week 6 onwards – Week 1 being the first week in February 2011) compared to a control group of 1,600 residences that don’t have EDDIs. The graph shows a definite energy saving, for week 12 and 13 the savings exceeded 10%.
Afrox, which is part of the global Linde group, has taken steps to reduce electricity consumption, including participation in Eskom’s programme to take some of its sites such as Kuils River off-line during national peak electricity demand periods. Afrox, in terms of an agreement with Eskom, is seeing R20 million being invested in bulk storage facilities at Kuils River and at Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. This will enable the two plants to run to capacity during off-peak periods when power is cheaper, and to store product for use when Eskom requests power consumption reductions.
The implementation was done by Kamstrup’s South African partner and system integrator Livewire Engineering & Consulting in Cape Town. This took six weeks, including integration between Livewire’s Meter Data Management (MDM) system and Kamstrup’s head-end UtiliDriver and delivery of a Kamstrup Radio Mesh Network, concentrators and single- and three phase smart meters.
Deputy CEO Vanessa
Olver]Johannesburg, South Africa --- ESI-AFRICA.COM --- 05 March 2012 - In a move to innovate and participate in South Africa’s national energy shortage, ICT services company Business Connexion has launched its Energy Efficiency Services, on the back of a signed partnership agreement with Eskom as an official Energy Services Company (ESCO).
According to the high commission, the money is part of a global fund which seeks to build prosperity “by increasing exports and investments, opening markets, and ensuring access to resources and energy security.
Dipuo Peters]Johannesburg, South Africa --- ESI-AFRICA.COM --- 22 February 2012 - Energy efficiency is South Africa’s best short-term hope to meet future electricity demand in the face of ongoing tight supply, says energy minister Dipuo Peters.
Making this point in an address to an energy indaba here, Peters said that in view of serious capacity limitations infrastructure development was a lengthy process, and could not be seen as an interim measure to solve the energy crisis.
South Africa]17 February 2012 - At a press briefing to report upon ABB’s annual results, CEO of ABB South Africa Carlos Pone said that energy efficiency drives, growth in mining and the oil and gas sectors, as well as renewables projects are some of the sectors where the company sees future growth for the company in Africa.
[img:Prepaid1b_0.jpg|Eskom working to
end problems with
its pre-paid, on-line
vending system.]Johannesburg, South Africa --- ESI-AFRICA.COM --- 02 February 2012 - Eskom Holdings is investigating the cause of slow performance on its prepaid online vending system, the South African national power utility has confirmed.
The system is used by prepaid customers to purchase electricity tokens.