South Africa’s migration away from coal and towards natural gas
In the latest news, South Africa’s Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has announced that the country will be using natural gas in an attempt to reduce its dependence on coal. At a time when three quarters of the country’s energy supply comes from coal, the government is pushing the initiative to move towards cleaner power.
“Gas will be a cornerstone of base-load (power),” she said in a news release. “Our vision is that gas will play a significant role in delivering timely, reliable and affordable electricity.”
According to our sister site African Business Review, natural gas is currently the cheapest alternative to coal and nuclear, providing reliable power for peak demand periods. South Africa currently has only a small amount of gas reserves and has no gas-fired generation facilities of its own, so it will need to build infrastructure in order to import, transport and burn fuel.
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According to South Africa’s state-owned ports and rail operator Transnet, basic engineering assessments have been carried out at three possible import terminals.
"The foreseen LNG glut is catching the attention of a lot of new markets," said Gonzalo Ramirez, director of business development for liquefied natural gas (LNG) provider Excelerate Energy. "One of the markets that we are seeing—and it’s very interesting because of the power-demand potential—is Africa."
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According to Econometrix MD Rob Jeffrey, creating a natural gas sector in South Africa has the potential to unlock billions of rand in investment, while also stimulating new industries and creating a raft of new jobs.
“It goes without saying that that this would provide ailing state electricity ESKOM with a new substantial source of power,” reported African Business Review.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.