Eskom 'keen' on solar, wind power

2011-06-08 14:05

Cape Town - National electricity supplier Eskom said it welcomed the move towards renewable energy after receiving a loan to develop wind and solar power from the African Development Bank.

The $365m loan will be used to finance a wind and solar project slated to produce a 100MW each in the Western and Northern Cape provinces, the parastatal said.

Eskom rejected suggestions from local firms and environmental organisations that it was impeding development of renewable energy.

"We're quite keen on solar; the cost of the technology has to come down. In general we are keen on solar and keen to do more of it," Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe told News24.

The proposed solar project in the Northern Cape would produce about 100MW in concentrated solar energy and Eskom said that it wasn't an experimental project.


"So it's not an experimental project, it will be a real power station. A 100MW is a lot of power - it is scale - it's significant," Joffe said.

Eskom anticipates building the power station near Upington in the Northern Cape province, but doesn't expect the stated power to be as effective as traditional power stations.

"The thing about solar is that it's not producing 100% of the time. At maximum capacity it's a 100MW, but it's not at maximum capacity all the time.

"With wind it's [capacity] is even lower. With wind, even globally, and even in South Africa, if you're getting in the mid 20s [20% of maximum capacity], you're doing well," said Joffe.

It is still unclear about whether Eskom will procure the technology from local firms as the process has not begun, but the utility has the Fere wind project on the west coast of the Western Cape.

Joffe said that the government's Integrated Resource Plan over the next 20 years envisages more than 42% of new power is going to come from renewable energy sources.

"So a 100MW wind farm is a very big wind farm, but it's probably only putting power into the grid 27% of the time, if you're doing well.

"We see most of the wind power that is going to come onto the grid as coming from private producers," she said.

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  • piet.strydom - 2011-06-08 14:32

    You are going in the wrong direction. You should be using that money to subsidise the installation of solar panelks where the power is needed, not 1000's of miles away, thereby introducing transmission inefficiencies into the mix as well. What Escom should be doing is building capacity and corporate ability to buy power from small providers. URGENTLY!!

  • Carl Kohrs - 2011-06-08 15:04

    @piet.strydom Solar panels (photo-voltaic cells) are very expensive and ineffecient way of producing electricity from solar power. To get any form of return on investment, you need large, and unfortunately centralized thermal solar power stations. Although, putting power stations in the Western and Northern Cape will already reduce transmission losses to many users. A note on the article: 100 mW, as stated, is 100 milliwatt, or in other words: not even a small light bulb's rated power. The correct abbreviation for megawatt, as I am sure is meant, is "MW" (mega- meaning a million, milli- meaning a thousandth) I do hope that these types of projects are sped up and made priority, because even if you have only limited availability, every Joule of electricity you generate through solar, wind, etc. is one Joule that you do not have to burn coal to get.

      abdelhafiz2 - 2011-06-08 15:39

      I and You are a part of energy problem also We can solve it easy, The solution is researches prison in papers, most of it die between its papers WHY ?? We can begin a green revelation. for example I and others have a great part of solution on papers we must has a great new technology , I am an Egyptian scientific searcher (free),I have researches at Solar, Wind , Sea wave ,Hydroelectric and Another new resource. In Solar I have the solution a new system s idea super power (over 800 watt /sq. meter), must be cheap (its materials are cheap), easy made, done at all weathers, it can done a time of night such it use spectrum s energy and heat and other benefits. In Wind I have a new different design must used 50%-72% of unit area s energy that is the first time such in Dario's or Savines shapes it is impossible to use 50% from energy of the circular area which rotating blades do it . And I have also the suitable Differential Gearbox (invention) which solve so many of problems in general systems. In Sea wave I have a new design which has many benefits beside high energy. In Hydroelectric I designed a new turbine high power from others ,If you wish to start together a revaluation of clean energy I shall be happy my e. mail: I spent about 30 of my life in searching field and I'm achieved a lot of achievements in variety fields inside my country , but I'm in need for civilized society to be sponsor for my activities .

      piet.strydom - 2011-06-09 14:57 Waar daar 'n wil is daar 'n weg. Unfortunately decentralised power generation is not "sexy", most engineers like to brag about how many millions the project they worked on costs, not how much of a contribution they made to the general wellbeing of society.

  • ZACommentator - 2011-06-08 16:27

    There are examples of brilliant solar power projects such as the one in Spain where energy is collected very efficiently. Unbelievable for a country which one boasted some of the world's best engineers we will now most probably have to hire in.

  • Ray - 2011-06-08 21:21

    check out this website: - its the way forward

  • Badballie - 2011-06-09 14:51

    The ideal would be for individuals to install these green solution in their own homes so as to limit dependency on the electrical suppliers like Eskom.

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