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Diversification of Eskom's Energy Mix

Diversification of Eskom's Energy Mix

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Published by Nevin Pillay

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Published by: Nevin Pillay on Mar 16, 2012
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03/16/2012

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Diversification of Eskom’s energy mix

Eskom’s comprehensive climate change strategy is based on six pillars, the first of which is diversification of the generation mix to lower carbon emissions.
The utility is committed to pursuing a more diverse energy mix to reduce relative emissions by 2025 and subsequently reduce absolute emissions. The utility’s capital expansion plan provides significant opportunities to diversify the energy mix through increases in nuclear, gas, renewables and clean coal components. Every technology has both positive and negative aspects. Eskom recognises that no single one will be the panacea for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is committed to assessing a number of emission-reduction options. The utility continually models electricity options for optimal achievement of the conflicting goals of affordability and protection of the environment. While the electricity planning process includes technologies that are currently commercially available, Eskom also models scenarios to assess the potential of near-commercial lower-carbon emitting technologies. The evaluation of these options includes assessing the risks, challenges and opportunities involved in fast-tracking them to the point at which they could be considered viable. These options, including underground coal gasification, concentrating solar power and hydro imports, together with nuclear technology, could provide the essential base load requirement. Eskom is also taking investment decisions on options such as wind generation to provide additional electricity to the grid. Although the CO2 emitted by Eskom will increase in the shortto medium-term, the utility is committed to assessing options to retard the rate of increase and ultimately decrease it. One of the key initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of the existing fleet is internal energy efficiency. The first step was to ensure that energy consumption baselines were quantified. In addition, identified energy-saving projects needed to be implemented in generation, transmission and distribution to achieve internal and external targets. Technology projects to reduce emissions included investigating the feasibility of co-firing with biomass at existing coal-fired power stations and implementing a solar augmentation pilot plant. Eskom is also conducting a feasibility study for rollout of solar augmentation, which entails supplementing steam produced by existing coal boilers with steam from solar boilers, to additional sites.

COP17 fact sheet

Diversification of Eskom’s energy mix

The utility has developed a shadow price for carbon to enable equitable evaluation of different technologies based on their carbon emissions. Eskom’s Renewables Unit has been set up to drive implementation of renewables projects and partnerships. The process integrates the broad suite of sustainability issues from the ‘idea’ identification stage right through to build and thereafter to operation and maintenance. The South African National Energy Research Institution aims to have a CCS demonstration plant operational in South Africa by 2020.Renewable energy plays an important role in meeting Eskom’s diversification aspirations. A key component of this strategy is for Eskom to implement a nuclear programme as a viable low-carbon base load electricity option. This is a positive step in support of its aspiration to diversify towards lower carbon emitting technologies and ensures that longer term issues are taken into consideration in the decision-making processes. Studies are underway to define Kusile’s carbon capture readiness and the engineering design will cater for this requirement. The Atlas on Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide in South Africa was published in 2010. For further information contact Mandy Rambharos mandy. Kusile. Eskom is dedicated to ensuring its diversification goal includes increasingly efficient ways of utilising coal.co. COP17 fact sheet Diversification of Eskom’s energy mix 2 . The advances required to achieve higher efficiencies are expected to mature gradually between now and 2030. Eskom already has a requirement for its next coal-fired power station. Eskom has begun the national roll-out of solar water heating and compact fluorescent light (CFL) programmes. The uptake of solar water heaters and CFLs has great potential for contributing to the reduction of South Africa’s carbon footprint by reducing the amount of electricity demanded for water heating and lighting. This will play an extremely important role in reducing both Eskom’s relative and absolute emissions. and the need to balance emission reduction with affordable electricity. With regard to off-grid applications. Climate change considerations form an integral part of Eskom’s long-term investment decision-making.rambharos@eskom. to be carbon capture ready. Eskom is part of a group of South African companies that supported a geological study into sequestration sites in South Africa and is undertaking research into CO2 mineralisation and bio extraction technologies. There is significant international research into improving the efficiency of clean coal technologies. Given the country’s abundance of coal reserves. In addition South Africa is taking several steps to improve its knowledge of carbon capture and storage (CCS).za.

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