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EVALUATION OF POTENTIAL FOR SMALL (10 MW) HYDROPOWER IN SOUTH AFRICA

IWRA World Water Congress 2003 Madrid Spain
IWRA WWC2003 - default topic
Author(s): Bo BARTA and Helene RASK GRON

Bo BARTA and Helene RASK GRï¿œN


Article:

Abstract

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) highlighted inter alia the close interrelation between water resources development and the status of energy generation in South Africa. Water use in the energy sector accounts presently for only 1 percent of total national demand for water. However, primary energy generation depends to about 85 percent on the burning of fossil fuels (i.e. coal and oils) which are producing undesirable quantities of carbon In order to reduce dependency of the primary energy sector on fossil fuels, renewable energy sources and technologies (e.g. solar, wind, hydropower and biomass) are being investigated and feasible development options reconciled with the local manufacturing and technological resources. The South African Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) together with the Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA) initiated the study for evaluating of potential in development of small ( 10MW) hydropower in suitable areas of South Africa. Despite to general belief that there is none or negligible potential for development of small hydropower the evaluation study of a firm potential (i.e. a potential determined from the confirmed information inputs) revealed that there exists a potential in doubling of present installed capacity of 35 MW to about 70 MW. This hydropower potential can be developed by refurbishing of abandoned hydropower infrastructure and development of new suitable run-of- river hydro-electric sites. The capital required to be invested is estimated at about Rand 30 million per annum over next 15 years. Depending on the load factors adopted, about 450 GWh of electrical or mechanical energy can be generated annually, mainly in the remote areas of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu/Natal provinces of South Africa. The beneficiaries of small hydropower development are the rural clinics, schools and commercial enterprises of numerous remote communities. The development of small hydropower as stand-alone or in a hybrid combination with another renewable energy sources will contribute in short term to much The paper overviews methodology adopted in determining of hydropower potential, illustrates conventional as well as unconventional hydropower applications (e.g. hydropower from irrigation canals, water supply pipelines, deep mining undertakings, etc.). South African society conformed to the doctrine of equitable access to all its available resources by all citizens since 1994...

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