Research Articles (Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies)

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    Explore, design and act for sustainability : a participatory planning approach for local energy sustainability
    (MDPI, 2020-01-23) Fouche, Elaine; Brent, Alan C.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This paper focuses planning approach for local energy sustainability. The characteristics of a complex problem were reviewed to establish that the problem of sustainable energy at a local government level is complex. In order to better manage complex problems, the literature shows that soft operational research or problem-structuring methods need to be applied, and hence these methods were used as a starting point for developing a participatory planning approach. The requirements for a planning approach were elicited, namely that the approach must be participative and inclusive, holistic, simple and transparent. In addition, the approach must include the identification and assessment of risks as part of the deliberation process, the development of a realistic action plan must be attainable at the end of the stakeholder engagement, the approach must be dynamic, and should be formalised with clear institutional arrangements. A novel participatory approach, namely EDAS—to Explore, Design and Act for Sustainability—was then developed, applied, and evaluated as part of a case study with a local municipality in theWestern Cape Province of South Africa. The insights are relevant not only for local governments, but for any institution on a journey towards sustainability.
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    Using a system dynamics modelling process to determine the impact of eCar, eBus and eTruck market penetration on carbon emissions in South Africa
    (MDPI, 2020) Pillay, Nalini Sooknanan; Brent, Alan Colin; Musango, Josephine Kaviti; Van Geems, Francois
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The complexities that are inherent in electricity value chains are non-linear in nature and they require unconventional modelling methods, such as system dynamics. This paper provides an overview of the system dynamics method applied for obtaining an understanding of the impact of electric-bus, -car, and -truck market penetration on carbon emissions in South Africa, through the development of the electric mobility simulator (eMobiSim). Two scenarios were tested. The World Reference scenario was based on a market penetration of 22% eCars, 19% eTrucks, and 80% eBuses and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) scenario was based on 2.38% eCars, 1.79% eTrucks, and 12% eBuses. The results indicate that the World Reference scenario is the most optimistic, with a 12.33% decrease in carbon emissions in the transport sector and an increase of 4.32% in the electricity sector. However, if the economic structure that is specific to South Africa is to be considered and the GDP scenario is run, then there would only be a 1.77% decrease of carbon emissions in the transport sector and an increase of 0.64% in the electricity sector. Although the eCar market penetration produces the highest reduction in carbon emissions, the volumes that are required are large and other factors, such as price parity and affordability in the various income deciles, would have to be considered in determining whether this volume is achievable.
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    The impact of residential rooftop solar PV on municipal finances : an analysis of Stellenbosch
    (University of Cape Town, Energy Research Centre, 2017) Korsten, N.; Brent, A. C.; Sebitosi, A. B.; Kritzinger, K.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Electricity utilities throughout the world are responding to the increased uptake of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) in the household sector. Although the increase of decentralised solar PV is seen as progressive for sustainable development, it is not without financial implications for electricity utilities. There is a concern in South Africa that allowing rooftop solar PV connection to the grid will reduce electricity sales for local governments and thus their revenue streams from electricity. An investigation was carried out to examine the financial impact that increasing installations of grid-connected rooftop PV at a household level might have on local governments in South Africa. Stellenbosch Municipality was used as a case study, and two different approaches were used. The first considered the maximum grid capacity for distributed generation, as determined by the South African grid standards. The second was based on individual households that would gain the most financial benefit from investing in rooftop PV. The outcome indicated a financial reduction in total electricity revenue of 0.6–2.4% depending on the approach followed. A fixed monthly charge of about R363 would counter these potential financial loses, but entail a disincentive for households to invest in solar PV installations.
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    Guidelines for energy management in the South African wine industry
    (Energy Research Centre, 2016-11) Brent, Alan C.; Silinga, Cebo; Sanetra, Nadia
    Pressure is mounting on the wine industry to consider energy management interventions to, inter alia, reduce energy consumption – to be more competitive, become more self-reliant, and to reduce the carbon footprint of the sector. This paper then summarises the process that was undertaken to develop an appropriate energy management guideline for the South African wine industry. It is based on a literature analysis of best practices elsewhere, and a number of case studies across different sizes of winery operations in South Africa. The positive outcomes from energy management interventions at these cases are demonstrated, but a number of challenges are also highlighted. Recommendations are made accordingly.
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    Leapfrogging to renewable energy : the opportunity for unmet electricity markets
    (Southern African Institute for Industrial Engineering, 2017) Batinge, Benjamin; Musango, Josephine Kaviti; Brent, Alan C.
    Electricity plays a crucial role in the socio-economic development of any country. Developing countries, however, unlike their developed counterparts, do not have electricity markets that are fully satisfied, nor are they ‘laden’ with large-scale infrastructure that could create inertia about making the transition. The objective of this paper is to identify the potential trajectories for unmet electricity markets in sub-Saharan Africa to leapfrog to renewable energy as they strive to accelerate access to electricity. The following key drivers of renewable energy leapfrogging in unmet electricity markets were identified from the review: the need to achieve sustainability targets; the availability of renewable energy resources on a sufficient scale; growing investment in renewable energy; maturing niche renewable technologies; a weakening renewable energy cost hypothesis; and a growing population and increasing urbanisation. The paper further conceptualised three potential transition paradigms: revolutionary, scattered, and coned pathways. These paradigms were defined by the pace and magnitude of the transition that can be observed, and depend on the intensity of the identified drivers in a specific unmet electricity market. The paper argues that the largely unmet electricity market in sub-Saharan Africa provides an opportunity to leapfrog the fossil-intensive energy regime to adopt a renewable energy regime.