Eskom unbundling ‘milestone’ announced

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has finally approved the issuing of a licence to the National Transmission Company of South Africa (NTCSA) to operate a transmission system in South Africa.

Nersa’s announcement on Friday is a milestone in Eskom’s unbundling process, which will see the power utility restructured into three separate units: generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.

Nersa made the announcement in a statement, following a meeting on Thursday, in which it also highlighted several important decisions including the approval of a renewable energy generation licence application to Ngonyama Solar (RF) (Pty) Ltd.

This was part of its rationale for agreeing with the draft ministerial determination for the procurement of 1 000 megawatts of new generation capacity from the Cross-Border Procurement Programme, and its agreement for the procurement of 2 000 megawatts of new generation capacity from the Load-Shedding Reduction Programme.

More: Mail & Guardian

Europe must wake up to undervalued CHP says industry

Combined heat and power (CHP) is set to be an essential contributor to Europe’s energy transition but has thus far been overlooked and undervalued by policymakers.

That was the unanimous conclusion of the non-policymaker speakers at this week’s ‘CHP as a sustainable enabler for renewable energy’ event in Brussels, part of Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW17).

Organised by the Belgian cogeneration association Cogen Vlaanderen and industry trade group COGEN Europe, the event brought together energy sector professionals and policymakers for a day of presentations and spirited discussion.

Decentralized Energy

Opinions are all over the map on the value of solar power

People in the solar industry like to say that Texas is second only to California in its potential for solar power – particularly West Texas, with its abundant sunshine.

But Texas has, nonetheless, done little to encourage the spread of solar – it has no statewide net metering policy, which requires utilities to buy the excess electricity produced by small residential and commercial solar systems. In states like California, net metering has encouraged the widespread adoption of solar energy and helped avoid electricity shortages and price spikes during periods of peak demand on hot summer days.

Houston Chronicle

Tesla is changing the electric grid

There’s a good chance flipping on the light switch 10 years from now will feel just as ordinary as it did for your parents and grandparents.

But behind the scenes, a radically different system for sending electrons where they’re needed will be turning on those lights. Electrical power that today comes from massive centralized generation stations could originate from your neighbors’ solar panels, then wait a few hours in a mammoth battery in your garage until you get home.

That’s because the biggest change to our power grid since it was first built more than a century ago has begun. And this time we’re all sharing the control once held by the companies that generate power and ones that distribute it.

CNET

Wind and solar power are disrupting electricity systems

Almost 150 years after photovoltaic cells and wind turbines were invented, they still generate only 7% of the world’s electricity. Yet something remarkable is happening. From being peripheral to the energy system just over a decade ago, they are now growing faster than any other energy source and their falling costs are making them competitive with fossil fuels. BP, an oil firm, expects renewables to account for half of the growth in global energy supply over the next 20 years. It is no longer far-fetched to think that the world is entering an era of clean, unlimited and cheap power. About time, too.

The Economist

The Government’s nuclear power plans: is a rational debate possible?

Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) instituted legal action against the Minister of Energy in October 2015. This legal action requests the Western Cape High Court to declare unlawful and unconstitutional all decisions taken to proceed with the procurement of new nuclear power plants. The ground for the application is the fact that such decisions had been taken in the absence of a procedurally fair public participation process and without a formal determination (as required under the Electricity Regulation Act, No. 4 of 2006 (ERA)). Such a determination must establish that not only that new generation capacity is required but also the degree to which that electricity must be generated from nuclear power. The application also points out that the Minister used an outdated assessment of electricity requirements and how to address them (as set out in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) dating back to 2010), instead of making a new determination on how much new nuclear generation capacity was required.

Politics Web

Tesla plugs big batteries into PG&E’s electric grid

A row of tall white boxes by the side of a Sierra foothills highway could represent a key piece of California’s future electric grid. Made by Tesla, the boxes contain thousands of battery cells — the same cells that power Tesla’s luxury cars. But at this installation, at a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. substation in Browns Valley (Yuba County), the batteries soak up electricity whenever it’s cheap and feed it back onto the grid when demand hits its daily peak.

The project, operational since the start of the month, represents a collaboration between PG&E and Tesla on one of California’s biggest energy goals: storage.

SFGATE

Wind briefly sets record as source for electricity in U.S.

Wind briefly powered more than 50 percent of electric demand on Feb. 12, the 14-state Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said, for the first time on any North American power grid.

SPP coordinates the flow of electricity on the high voltage power lines from Montana and North Dakota to New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana.

Wind power in the SPP region has grown significantly to over 16,000 MW currently from less than 400 megawatts in the early 2000s and is expected to continue growing. One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.

Climate Central

Hard times for Kenyans as electricity prices go up, again

Kenyans should brace for another round of power price hikes following the weakening of the shilling against the US dollar which has seen a rise in foreign exchange levy component of the monthly electricity bill. In its latest review of some cost components that make up the monthly bills, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) increased the foreign exchange levy to Sh1.28 per unit of electricity for power consumed in February. This is a steep rise from 84 cents per unit charged for electricity consumed in January.

Standard Digital

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