More power stations won’t affect carbon emission hopes

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 02 Aug 2011

South Africa hopes to cut its carbon emissions 34 percent by 2020, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says.

Building coal-fired power stations would not affect this, as cutting emissions did not happen in an instant, but required space and time, she told reporters in Pretoria.

The rolling out of renewable sources of energy, including wind, was “well underway”.

Cutting emissions would be achieved through “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” in the transport, agriculture and energy sectors.

“The extent to which this commitment is achieved depends on the provision of finance, technology and capacity building support by developed countries, and through the United Nations climate change regime,” she said.

Molewa and International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane were briefing journalists about the upcoming climate change conference in Durban.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the country was ready to host the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 17th Conference of Parties in Durban from November 28 to December 9.

“South Africa is very much on schedule, if not ahead. We are hoping for a balanced outcome, one that is fair, equitable and inclusive,” she said of preparations for the conference.

Source: Times Live

An Eskom anti-green future for South Africa

Posted by: Yes Solar Cape (Cape Town, South Africa) – 14 September 2010

By: Jeremy Westgarth-Taylor
Pioneer of Water Rhapsody Conservation Systems and winner of a WWF Green Trust Award

The quantity of tons of ‘stuff’ that will exit South African power stations is so huge that it is beyond imagination.

Kendal Power Station. Eskom is the biggest single consumer of water in SA

The Regime of the day is also the owner of Eskom.  This body maintains its monopoly on the supply of electricity by supplying this commodity mainly from a resource of coal.  Our honourable minister must be made aware of some of the facts surrounding the coal that her coal-fired power stations do for us and our future generations…

  • Of the top-25 highest CO2 emitting power generating plants worldwide, South Africa has three stations.
  • South Africa is number eight of the top 50 countries with the highest CO2 emitting power sectors.
  • I have no figures for South Africa, but in the USA 67% of the sulphur dioxide emissions are from power generation.  Just in case the minister has not had any chemistry lessons, sulphur dioxide does not sound so terribly bad if you say these quickly.  SO2 (sulphur dioxide) when mixed with water forms H2SO4 (Sulphuric acid).  This stuff is what acid rain contains.
  • In April this year the World Bank approved a loan of three thousand seven hundred and fifty million Dollars ($3.75 billion) to build a dirty coal fired power station at Medupi.
  • At the same time the World Bank approved a loan of a mere $260 million for wind and solar power.
  • After Kisile and Medupi come on line 94% of all electricity generated in South Africa will be generated by coal fired power stations.  The sum total of all the coal fired power stations in South Africa will deliver a cumulative emission into the atmosphere of:
    • Sulphur dioxide, SO2 3 360 000 tons
    • NOx  3 400 000 tons
    • Carbon Dioxide CO2 1 243 000 000 tons
    • Particulate matter: 168000 tons
    • Hydrocarbons: 73920 tons.
    • CO: (carbon Monoxide) 241900 tons
    • Ash: 42 000 000 tons
    • Sludge: 64 800 000 tons.
    • Arsenic:  34 tons.
    • Lead:  17 tons
    • Cadmium: 600 kilograms.
    • Uranium and many other toxic metals.

It is useful for our honourable minister to know that wind generation produces none of the toxic substances at all, and uses no water, whereas, coal-fired power stations use 1.32 litres of water per kilowatt hour of electricity generated.  The sum total of water required for all of the power stations is six times the equivalent volume of the Vaal dam. This makes Eskom the biggest single consumer of water in country.

The quantity of tons of ‘stuff’ that will exit South African power stations is so huge that it is beyond imagination. I wish therefore to provide our honourable minister an analogy:  if the sum total of all the toxic substances listed here, emanating from all of the coal powered stations in South Africa, were to be placed into one ton vehicles nose to tail, these would stretch around the world at the equator 212 times every year.

50% renewable energy by 2030

Posted by: Yes Solar Cape (Cape Town, South Africa) – 18 August 2010

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is advocating that generating 50% of South Africa’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030 is quite feasible. This is despite the country’s heavy dependence on coal to produce electricity.

Kusile power station in Mpumalanga will require copious quantities of water. Photo: Duane Daws

A report titled: “50% by 2030: Renewable Energy in a Just Transition to Sustainable Electricity Supply”, was released today at CIRCA on Jellico in Johannesburg. The report features WWF’s own views, as well as the findings and conclusions of several expert studies.

The report is aimed at encouraging broad stakeholder participation in the policy processes currently under way, including the development of a provisional Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) for electricity supply for the next 20 years and the review of renewable energy policy and targets, both due to be concluded in November.

“South Africa faces critical choices around future power generation,” said WWF Climate Change Programme Manager Richard Worthington.  “The need for increased electricity capacity to meet development objectives coincides with growing awareness of the short- and long-term implications these decisions will have on the economy, society and the environment.”

Citing a study by the Energy Research Centre of the University of Cape Town, the report argues that South Africa has the potential to rapidly scale up its use of renewable energy. In combination with various energy-efficiency measures, this would result in cheaper electricity over the medium term. The report also advocates that Kusile, the next big coal-fired power station after Medupi, should be stopped, at least until the full costs and impacts have been properly evaluated in the Integrated Energy Planning process slated for next year.

“South Africa can no longer afford to neglect its renewable-energy resources,” said Worthington. “If we are to meet the Greenhouse Gas reduction commitments President Zuma made at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen last year, South Africa will have to set very ambitious, medium-term renewable energy targets.”

Source: WWF