Tag Archive | biogas

Illegal diesel coming in from Mozambique

DOE working with customs……

Department of energy (DoE), admitted to the portfolio committee on energy that they knew of illegal diesel fuel imports emanating from Mozambique and that the department was working with customs and excise officials to track down culprits. DoE was reporting on its third and fourth quarter performance figures.

DoE confirmed that in many cases tanker transport was being used and in most instances the fuel itself was sub-standard, sometimes being a mixture of diesel and other fuels such as paraffin. Most of the fuel was being offered to farmers at cheap rates.

The subject arose when Mr L Malaudzi, acting chief operating officer, was outlining to members many of the issues involved in DoE’s programmes on governance and compliance. He explained the department’s inability to hold a planned anti-fraud workshop due to time constraints and other more pressing issues but promised that such a workshop would be conducted in the first quarter of 2013/4 and he would call stakeholders.

Focus point Mpumalanga

Questions arose from opposition members that fuel was being offered for sale in some areas of Mpumalanga from such sources. Tseliso Maqubela, deputy director general, confirmed that DoE was aware of such incidents and that the department of customs and excise had many problems with goods passing through this “porous border” nearby and that cheap and sometimes “dirty” fuels were on the list of issues.

Maqubela confirmed in his report to parliamentarians on petroleum regulations during the final quarter of 2012/3, that 92 site inspections over and above the target of 1500 sites had been completed but that no fuel sample testing was conducted due to a lack of budget for this function. This subject was to be deferred to next year, he said.

No budget to investigate

In discussing fuel specifications generally, Maqubela confirmed that DoE would “speak to industries to see if we can re-prioritise the matter”. He did not elaborate on this as to whether he was talking about capital projects or fuel mixes generally. He said, however, that on border transfers, particularly by road, had to be investigated and a budget of R50m had been requested next year from the fiscus to follow up on this. At the moment, only diesel imports were being followed up in investigations, such investigations also being limited.

On fuel pricing generally, he said that a desk top study on basic fuel pricing (BFP) was being undertaken, the stakeholder discussion portion of the study having been completed in March of this year.   BFP was a major issue nationally at the moment, he said, as were various items that went to make up its structure. He hoped that most of the issues would be resolved with stakeholders towards the end of this year.

Crude oil priorities

On existing crude oil matters, Saldanha, Milnerton and Durban were the current priority areas at the moment for infrastructure development, he said, and whereas before 28% of crude imports came from Iran, he said, “We haven forced to diversify which is exciting because it introduces the issue of African trade”.

The US is now producing considerable quantities of light crude which again has reversed trends and “there is an opportunity for Africa, particularly Angola and Nigeria, to deal with us and take up slack.”

Clean energy savings

On clean energy issues, Ompi Aphane, deputy director general, said that that so far major savings in terms of the municipal energy saving plan had been recorded with fifteen of the twenty eight participants in the DoE programme having registered savings, which Aphane said had translated into some R37m a year and 31,000MWh to the national grid.

However, he reported that the intended strategy plans for biomass, biogas and biofuels had got nowhere and DoE were looking at taking away from SANEDI the responsibility for this undertaking.

Posted in Fuel,oil,renewables, Justice, constitutional, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Transport0 Comments

Carbon Capture Storage Technology Underway in SA

SANEDI, the South African Energy Development Institute, told the portfolio committee on energy that work was being conducted on extraction of carbon dioxide from fossil usage and pilot drilling was taking place near Port Elizabeth on the geological storage of carbon dioxide at great depth.

Dr (Prof) AD Surridge of SANEIRI, the research body of SANEDI, said that in common with other countries and backed by the department of energy, Sasol, PetroSA, Eskom, the UK and Norwegian governments, Total, Anglo Coal, Xstrata, Exxaro and others, carbon capture storage as a system was a real possibility in South Africa.

This inland location for tests had been chosen for reasons of cost, but vast suitable geological areas had been located offshore in South Africa where storage for many hundreds of thousands of years would be safe.

Dr Surridge said, “It is not so much as to whether the technology works. We know it works”, he said. “Such has been operating at global sites for many years. It’s a question of scaling up the finance and doing things on a far bigger scale to get ahead”.

SANEDI operates as part of the Central Energy Fund (CEF) which also manages the operation and development of the oil and gas assets and operations of the South African government with its subsidiary, PetroSA. A CEF subsidiary, iGas acts is involved in the development of LN gas and LP gas.

Kevin Nassiep, CEO of the operating research body SANERI, told parliamentarians that in financing its various operational scenarios to conduct energy research across all aspects of energy in South Africa, it had submitted four financial models to Treasury varying from models to develop the institute as an independent entity with a full programme of projects, a model with gradual transition over a number of years to that of SANEDI in a survival mode.

He said that the fourth option had been chosen by Treasury in its budget and consequently SANEDI was just surviving. SANERI was operating at very low level insofar as its objectives were concerned and “the two building blocks of sustainable energy solutions to South Africa’s search for a low carbon economy, that of innovation research and energy conservation, were being undertaken at slow speed.”

SANEDI’s brief in terms of the National Energy Act was to direct, monitor and conduct energy research and promote energy efficiency through SANERI, Nassiep said. Their goals were to be in direct support of the department of energy (DOE) role and DOE’s energy policy, and to assist in all matters regarding climate mitigation.

He said that that in most matters regarding radical energy decisions, South Africa in each major topic had to decide whether to become an “innovator” by becoming a leader in that field; whether to be an “adaptor” and take existing standard prototypes and change these to suit South African systems or be a “follower” and simply “buy off the shelf” in order to meet cost restraints or because such suited the occasion.

Dr Willie de Beer, dealing with electricity energy distribution matters for SANEDI, said that with the collapse of the centralised electrical distribution concept known as EDI holdings there was a resurgence of suppliers pushing their own proprietary systems in the search for a better and “smarter” national supply grid. Consequently, conformity was a problem unless it was controlled.

Lack of funding in all aspects of the work being undertaken by the research body, SANERI, appeared to be the issue, Parliament was told.

Dr de Beer told parliamentarians that urgent decisions had to be taken in this regard to underpin economic growth and an inter government smart grid task group with a smart task team financed properly so that “plug and play” commonalised systems were adopted and a lead given by a common government “voice”.

But, he said, the “smart grid” was not emerging quickly enough because there were too many players and nobody was either prepared to invest properly or take risk. There was little in the way of team approach, he said, and intergovernmental participation across the board had not been achieved.

David Mahuma of SANERI described a number of biomass projects either converting energy from invasive alien plant life; biogas projects working in agricultural situations and mini-hydro schemes currently being investigated. This was all part of the “Working for Energy programme”, he said, and current focus was to help communities with pelletised bio-mass waste systems.

SANERI described to parliamentarians a number of projects including LPG driven taxis, which were succeeding in KwaZulu-Natal and a biomass piggery plant in Mpumalanga that was providing its own electrical energy needs and some to spare for the local grid.

 

 

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Fuel,oil,renewables, Health, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Uncategorized0 Comments

First round of IPP producers named for grid supplies

In the first round of allocation of bidders in terms of the department of energy (DOE) renewable energy allocation procurement programme, 39% of the allocated 3625MW for independent power producers has been decided upon.

Parliamentarians were told that the number of “passing bids” was 66.5% of those submitted, resulting in a total capacity of 1415 MW of the 3725MW to be procured being taken up at this stage.

By far the greatest number of projects was solar energy projects, either solar voltaic or solar CSP, with slightly over 30% being wind projects. Twenty eight projects in all were found to be acceptable.

No biomass, biogas, landfill or small hydro projects were submitted in this round, or “window” as it is referred to by DOE.     All projects decided as acceptable were from Eastern, Western and Northern Cape. In all some 68 applications were received.

Ompi Aphane, acting deputy director, DOE, told the portfolio committee of energy that small 100MW projects would be handled separately, the original procurement documents for the bidders for larger scale projects having been released during August 2011 and the compulsory bidders conference held in September for these and for the second window now to be considered.

All documents have been treated as confidential by all parties and are still treated as such in view of the fact that the process is ongoing.

Evaluation of projects on the issue of land rights where, Aphane said, South African law “was antiquated and not clear”, have and might give difficulties. The same applied to municipal issues insofar as relationships and responsibility might be concerned, he said.

On the whole such issues would be the concern of the supplier to sort out but it had to be remembered, Aphane said, that at the same time all such problems were “everybody’s problems and it would serve South Africa best to sort them out at every level.”

On land matters as well, there might be problems in agricultural areas concerning projects that involved good arable farming land but very little in the way of problems were land was fallow had arisen so far or had been pointed out by the evaluators. Registration of leases or proof of land use application had to be shown in submissions.

Commercial legal issues, economic development priorities, financial oversight and technical issues had all been studied and a large evaluation team made up of international legal experts, well known local legal evaluation teams and technical consultants had been assembled. Financial evaluation had been undertaken by Ernst and Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Under questioning by parliamentarians it became evident that all competitors had to be at least 40% South African owned. When asked if there were any landfill, biogas, and biomass projects that had become evident in early bidding under the second window period, Aphane said that such had not arisen at all, nor were they expected to be, mainly because they would be of a minor nature insofar as they would fall under projects providing 100MW or less.

Hydro projects had not arisen. He also commented that projects emanating from “fossilisation processes” were disallowed.

On whether the same extended and expensive evaluation process would be applied to the second and third round of bidding, Aphane said that “DOE had learnt much from the processes applied in the first round” and that the ground rules established by both experts, consultants and official bodies could be applied henceforth.

Questions on final pricing per unit of electricity arose and deputy director general Aphane said that this could not be discussed at this stage for reasons of security but in his mind as the bidding progressed he would expect to see the final price dropping.

DOE was working itself on a figure of something in the region of “R2.75 to R2.80 a unit” before bidding opened. This may go down, he said, but the final price had to apply to all involved in all bids.

Aphane confirmed in answer to questions that the “position with regard to legal difficulties on the licensing of independent operators with NERSA, the national energy regulator, had been resolved”.

Further questioning from parliamentarians resulted in Aphane confirming that the current IPP energy exercise was not in any way connected to the South African government overseas investment exercise with foreign companies on energy renewables, known as SARi.

On finance, once all bidding was completed, the three windows were closed and the final results were known and contracts granted, Aphane said, DOE was particularly aware of the problem of a sudden importation into South Africa of a large quantity of equipment from overseas and the effect this might have upon the rand.   Steps were in hand to counter this, probably by phasing in start dates.

Final questioning came from parliamentarians on the issue of land once again, particularly when the issue of litigation by present land owners arose either on matters of expropriation or proximity.

Aphane said that DOE could not be involved in such matters, which were the supplier’s problem.  However, broadly speaking, if any such problem arose in terms of it becoming a national problem, it would then naturally become a “South African problem as a whole” and this would have to be dealt with. DOE would monitor the situation.

The exercise regarding the “whole question of smaller 100MW or less, self-sustaining and possible minor contributions to the national grid” would be studied at a later date, he said.

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Fuel,oil,renewables, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Uncategorized0 Comments


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