South Africa’s State-owned power utility Eskom said it’s in talks with government ministries over private and foreign options to fund a R390-billion expansion of its transmission network as more renewable generation comes online. Eskom supplies more than 80% of electricity to the continent’s most industrialised nation and has failed to meet demand, resulting in blackouts that have crippled the economy. The utility also owns, manages and maintains the transmission system and plans to build 14 218 kilometers of power lines over the next decade, more than three times what it has installed over the past 10 years.
Engineering News editor Terence Creamer discusses the halt in loadshedding over recent weeks; what South Africans should expect for the higher-demand winter period; and the longer-term outlook for South Africa’s electricity sector.
Selecting a generator set with a standby power rating might have been sufficient ten to 15 years ago but is no longer a viable option to cope with the current severity of local power disruptions owing to South Africa’s energy crisis, says generator manufacturer WEG Africa senior gensets manager Craig Bouwer. WEG Africa operates a generator manufacturing facility in Cape Town, which supplies standard off-the-shelf generator sets as well as custom-built, application-specific units, with capacities ranging from 10 kVA to 3 350 kVA at 50 Hz.
As the demand for greener energy helps drive the increased uptake of wind energy, the dangers that face workers in the sector are becoming even more evident. As reported by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration in a report named ‘Green Job Hazards’, workers in the wind energy sector face a range of catastrophic and even fatal safety risks, including everything from falls to burn and crush injuries, all of which would happen anywhere between 60 m and 120 m above ground.