Calculating the energy potential of solar PV located on Northern Cape mining properties using R

Van der Merwe, Waldo (2019-04)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South-Africa, as a sovereign member of various international treaties and agreements, is bound to agreed-upon objectives set to limit the proliferation of global climate change. The ramifications of these objectives have the potential to be particularly severe in a country where the social-, political- and economic structures have been intertwined in what has become known as the minerals-energy complex. Electricity generation, as a significant representative of the energy sector, is a key sector targeted for change by policymakers. Rightly so, as coal-based electricity generation constitutes the vast majority of all generation types and this has earned the country a precariously high position as a greenhouse gas emitter compared to other countries with similar levels of gross domestic product output. The policy arena, past and present, is analyzed in conjunction with other research results obtained by combining the same policy and technical aspects, with the aim of revealing a growth path for the renewable, and iii specifically solar photovoltaic, energy market. A Multi-criteria decision-making system is identified during the literature study as the most applied technique when used in conjunction with geospatial information systems. A customized version of such a system is applied to the relevant sourced datasets in order to quantify the solar potential on mining land which currently holds mineral rights within the borders of the Northern Cape province. In contrast with the literature study, these areas were pre-selected based on known technical and current policy requirements. The entire quantification process was completed with the use of R and publicly available data in order to promote repeatability and prove the use of R as a cost-effective alternative in geospatial analyses. The results of the quantitively performed analysis revealed that mining land in the Northern Cape province has enough solar photovoltaic potential to, at least, satisfy the entire country’s electricity consumption on an annual basis. To be able to extract this potential, recommendations are made to stakeholders with future policy amendments in mind. Currently, the model of own-consumption is still the easiest to access in the current policy climate, given profitability can be proven. However, given the restrictions in terms of timeframe imposed on mines, using rehabilitated mining land as a long-term solution is proposed as another alternative, given the envisaged policy scope can be utilized as envisaged.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: As `n soevereine lid van verskeie internasionale verdraë en ooreenkomste, is Suid-Afrika verplig om voorafbepaalde teikens te behaal om die ongetemde vooruitgang van globale klimaatsverandering te stuit. Die gevolge van die behaling van hierdie teikens kan moontlik elders baie negatief wees, jeens die geskiedkundige verhouding tussen die sosiale-, politiese- en ekonomiese-strukture van die land in `n konsep wat bekend geraak het as die minerale energie kompleks. Elektrisiteit opwekking verteenwoordig `n noemenswaardige breukdeel van die energie sektor en is dus `n sleutel rolspeler wat deur wetgewers geteiken word. Aldus, omdat steenkool gebasseerde elektrisiteit opwekking die oorgrootte meerderheid van alle opwekking bemaak en die land gevolglik `n onkarakteristieke hoë posisie beklee as `n uitsetter van groenhuis gasse vergeleke met lande met soortgelyke vlakke van bruto nasionale produk. Die hede en verlede van die staatsbeleid arena word tesame met ander navorsing resultate vergelyk, wat verkry is deur dieselfde tegniese and beleids aspekte te kombineer, met die doelwit om `n groei pad te ontdek vir die ontwikkeling van die hernubare energie mark, met die fokus op foto-voltaise sonkrag. Tydens die naslaan van die literatuur was multi-kriterië besluitneming stelsels identifiseer as die mees toepaslike metode wanneer dit gebruik word in samewerking met geo-ruimtelike inligting stelsels. Die verkrygde data is deur `n aangepasde weergawe van so `n besluitneming stelsel gevoer om die sonkrag potensiaal van mynwese grond binne die grense van die Noordkaap provinsie te bepaal. In teenstelling met die metodes vanuit die naslaan van die literatuur, was hierdie areas vooraf gekies op grond van reeds bekende tegniese en beleids vereistes. Hierdie proses was in geheel uitegvoer met die gebruik van R en publieke data om herhaalbaarheid te promofeer en die gebruik van R vir geo analises as `n koste effektiewe alternatief te bewys. Die resultate van die kwatitatiewe analise het onthul dat die mynwese grond in the Noordkaap provinsie beskik oor genoegsame son fotovoltaise potensiaal om op minimum, die elektrisiteit verbruik van die hele land te voorsien op `n jaarlikse basis. Te midde hierdie potensiaal te ontgin, word voorstelle gemaak aan alle belanghebbendes met die blik op toekomstige energie beleid uitbreidings. Tans is die model van eie-verbruik steeds die maklikste om te ontgin in die huidige beleidsklimaat, op voorwaarde dat dit as winsgewend getoon kan word. Nesdieteenstaande, gegewe dat tydlyn beperkinge op mynwese lisensies afgedwing word, is die meer stabiele lang termyn opsie om gebruik te maak van gerehabiliteerde mynwese grond, sou die beoogde beleidsraamwerk benut kon word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105753
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