28.09.2017 / Press releases, South Africa, Press
Limited and unreliable energy transmission and distribution grids across many countries in sub-Saharan Africa has created a dependency by large industrial and mining houses on diesel and heavy fuel oil (HFO) to provide a reliable energy supply. The rapid decrease in solar photovoltaic (PV) pricing has consequently opened up prospects for hybridizing solar PV with thermal power plants, with or without battery energy storage depending on the application. The even higher rate of battery storage cost reductions means a higher adoption of these hybrid systems.
Monya Bassingthwaighte, Business Development Manager at juwi Renewable Energies (juwi), says “with renewable energy power systems becoming more cost-effective compared to traditional thermal power systems, a regional impetus is expected on the deployment of these hybrid systems. It is forecast that the market share will largely be contributed by the Commercial and Industrial sectors, which are typically energy intensive users and thus largely reliant on thermal fossil fuels”.
Juwi, offers hybridized solar PV and thermal power plant solutions with full technology integration and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) delivery. juwi’s hybrid solutions offer a direct cost saving due to reduction in the use of fossil fuels. This saving can currently reach up to 50% of baseline fuel consumption. Another important financial benefit is the ability to forecast the future energy costs and the associated hedging against the volatility of the oil price, transport costs, exchange rates, and the current and future costs of CO2. Technical benefits include improved energy security, power quality (voltage and frequency) and resolution on the data monitoring of the power plant via juwi’s proprietary hybrid SCADA software.
In 2016, juwi successfully commissioned the world’s largest off-grid hybrid power plant at the DeGrussa Copper-Gold mine in Western Australia. The plant is a fully integrated off-grid solar-battery-diesel hybrid system. The system configuration includes solar PV of 10.6 MWp, and a 4 MW (1.8 MWh) lithium ion battery facility, which fully integrates with a pre-existing 19 MW diesel power station, and saves the mine 5 million litres (20% of former consumption) of diesel per year. This flagship project serves as a global proof of concept for hybridizing both existing and greenfields mining power infrastructure.
juwi is actively expanding their footprint in sub-Saharan Africa. “We have seen an increase in requests coming out of the region for hybrid solutions and we believe there is significant growth potential going forward”, said Bassingthwaighte.