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Renewable Energy Technologies for Poverty Alleviation: South Africa

Jan 19, 2015

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Renewable Energy Technologies for Poverty Alleviation: South Africa

  • 1. Renewable Energy Technology (RET) Working Group Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development (GNESD)Renewable energy technologies for poverty alleviationInitial assessment report: South AfricaFINAL DRAFTGISELA PRASADEUGENE VISAGIE Energy Research Centre, University of Cape TownSouth AfricaJune 2005

2. Executive summary iiEXECUTIVE SUMMARY1. BackgroundSouth African energy policy priorities have always been closely linked to the prevailing politicalsituation. Pre-democratic energy policy and planning were characterized by energy securitypriorities, excessive secrecy and racially skewed provision of energy services.Post-apartheid South Africa witnessed substantial revision and a strong focus on energy fordevelopment. In accordance with the Constitution (Act No. 108 of 1996) an inclusive Energy WhitePaper (1998) was developed.Major objectives of governments Energy White Paper are (DME, 1998): Increasing access to affordable energy services; Stimulating economic development encouragement of competition within energy markets; Managing energy-related environmental and health effects; Securing supply through diversity increased opportunities for energy trade and diversity inboth supply sources and primary energy carriers.Renewable energy becomes one of the areas that the government would want to consider pursuing inmanaging energy-related environmental impacts and diversifying energy supplies from a coal-dominated system.In May 2004, the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) published the White Paper onRenewable Energy Policy. This targets the provision of 10 000 GWh (accumulative over a period of10 years) of electricity from RE resources (mainly biomass, wind, solar and small-scale hydroprojects) by 2013. This is approximately 4 % of the countrys estimated electricity demand orequivalent to replacing two 660 MW units of Eskoms combined coal-fired power stations. Atpresent less than 1% of the 200 000 GWh of electricity generated annually in South Africa originatesfrom RE sources (DME, 2004).This study outlines the current use of RE, its potential, and discusses barriers and opportunities inalleviating poverty. Furthermore, it examines policy options for promoting access to RE as anaffordable, reliable and socially acceptable alternative to grid electricity.2. Rationale and motivationSouth Africas fast-dwindling peak electricity generation capacity is expected to run out by 2007 andgiven the time needed to build new or refurbish mothballed power stations, the harnessing ofabundant renewable sources has become more urgent.The government is committed to the diversification of the electricity supply industry, and in doing sowill create an enabling environment to facilitate the introduction of independent power producers togenerate electricity from renewables.A major challenge facing the government is the provision of energy to remote rural areas where gridelectricity is not likely to reach in the foreseeable future. This, coupled with global concerns aroundcarbon dioxide emissions, has triggered renewed interest in developing RE technologies.Achieving the 10 000 GWh for 2013 is based on an evaluation of the macroeconomic impacts onGDP, improvement in low-income households income, capacity for employment creation and theimpact on black economic empowerment (BEE). Pursuing this target (10 000 GWh) more than 35000 jobs would be created, more than R5 billion would be added to GDP, and R687 million wouldbe added to the incomes of low-income households. 3. Executive summary iii3.Initial Assessment3.1 Characterisation of population and zonesSouth Africa has a population of approximately 44 million people and the majority of its citizens livein urban areas (57.9 %). The country is divided into 9 provinces and has a total area of 1 223 201square kilometers. By the end of 2002, almost 70 % of households had access to grid electricity.3.2 Needs and energy requirements:Table 1 lists the different energy requirements for each of the following sectors: transport,residential, commercial and industrial. A list of potential RE technologies available to satisfy thevarious energy needs is provided.Table 1: RE requirements and technologies Source: DME (2004) Sector/subsector Requirements Technology TransportFuels for vehicles ethanol, biodiesel ResidentialFuels for lighting PV solar, windFuels for cookingsolar cookers, wind, small hydro, gel fuel, fuel wood & other biomassFuels for space heating wind, small hydro, biomass, solar waterFuels for water heating heaters wind, small hydro, PV solar, biomassFuels for refrigeration wind, small hydro, PV solar, biomassFuels for cooling passive night cooling Commercial Fuels for lighting wind, small hydro, hybrid, PV solarFuels for commercial activitieswind, small hydro, solarFuels for water heatingwind, small hydro, biomass, solar water heaters Industrial Fuels for lighting wind, small hydroFuels for industrial activitieswind, small hydro, cogeneration, biomassFuels for water heatingwind, small hydro, biomass, solar water heaters3.3 TechnologiesTable 5 (see main report) presents the annual GWh production output of each of the 39 RE resourcecategories modeled. South Africa has a potential GWh output of 86 843. Although wind has thehighest GWh output, the cost associated with wind generation is generally higher than most of theother RE resource categories. Sugar bagasse is the most economically viable RE resource with thehighest GWh output (see Table 7). 4. Executive summaryiv3.4 Renewable energy resourcesSouth Africas technically feasible RE production of approximately 87 000 GWh corresponds toabout 49 % of the electricity consumption in 2001 (DME, 2004). In 1999 RE accounted forapproximately 9 % of the total energy consumption (Energy Futures, 2000). Most of the energy isgenerated from fuelwood and dung and not from modern RE technologies.Hydro: Currently there are 8 licensed small hydro facilities less than 50 MW, with a combinedcapacity of 68 MW. The power generation potential of small hydro schemes amounts to 9 900 GWhper year (Mlambo- Ngcuka, 2003).Solar: Photovoltaic (PV) systems are used in telecommunications networks, small-scale remotestand alone power supplies for domestic use, game farms and household and community waterpumping schemes. The installed PV capacity is estimated at 12 MW.The DME has established a concessioning process (fee-for-service) for off-grid rural electrification.Currently 20 399 solar home systems have been installed in 4 concession areas.Solar water heating is currently about 1.3 % of the solar energy market in terms of GWh.Wind: Wind power potential is fairly good along most coastal and escarpment areas with meanannual speeds above 6 meters per second. It is estimated that wind power could supply at least 1 %(198 000 GWh) of South Africas projected electricity requirements (DME, 2002a). Eskom iscurrently generating electricity from the Klipheuwel Wind Farm about 40 km north of Cape Town.The 3 wind turbines have a combined generation capacity of 3.16 MW.Phase 1 of the Darling wind farm, a 5 MW power project is to start in 2005. The Oelsner-Groupfrom Darling will be the first independent power producer.Biomass: The main sources of biomass are fuelwood used in the rural domestic sector, bagasse in thesugar industry and pulp and paper waste in commercial forestry industry for in-house heat andelectricity generation. Biomass in the form of fuelwood, wood waste, dung, charcoal and bagasseaccounts for close to 10 % of net energy use at a national level.The viability of wood as an energy source suitable for electricity generation lies within the wood,pulp and paper industries. Table 2 below gives the result of the Renewable Resource Database(RRDB) modeling of the wood and pulp industries energy potential based on availability and energycontent of fuels. Table 2: Annual fuelwood and pulp energy potential (DME, Eskom, CSIR, 2001)TypeTonnage (T/Year) Energy potential (GWh/year)Sawmills1.57 7 639Pulp mills1 million4 528Wave energy: The potential wave energy along the Cape coastline is estimated as significant. Theaverage harvestable potential power along the entire coast is estimated to be 56 800 MW (DME,2004).3.5 Case studiesThree case studies on biodiesel, solar water heaters (SWH) and fuelwood, have been selected on thebasis of contributing to poverty alleviation and their feasibility and government policy priority.Biodiesel: The major contribution to poverty alleviation of a biodiesel programme would be jobcreation and economic development in disadvantaged rural areas. Further it would contribute toenergy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Biodiesel is produced by the process of transesterification. The by-products are a protein-rich oilcake and glycerol. Four oil crops sunflower, soy, cotton and groundnuts - are grown for humanconsumption and are suited to soil and climatic conditions. These crops are often rotated with thestaple food maize. 5. Executive summaryvSWH: Manufacturing and installing SWHs would create jobs and if suitably subsidised, by includingthe subsidy in the existing housing grant for the poor, SWH would increase the welfare of the poor.SWHs can reduce the peak load of grid electricity and they are GHG emission neutral i.e. lesselectricity generated from coal.Fuelwood is the most commonly used energy source of the rural poor. Even after electrificationmany poor households in South Africa still use fuelwood for cooking because they cannot afford theappliances and the monthly electricity bill. Fuelwood is a valuable national resource and overall thefuelwood resources in South Africa are adequate but there are shortfalls in several areas and manywoodlands are not sustainably managed. The fuelwood case study has been included because it is themost important energy source of the poor in Southern Africa and Africa for the next 40 years; thedeficits in other African countries are apparently huge; and no