A mining perspective on the potential of renewable electricity sources for operations in South Africa : Part 2 – A multi-criteria decision assessment

Votteler, R. G. ; Brent, A. C. (2017)

CITATION: Votteler, R. G. & Brent, A. C. 2017. A mining perspective on the potential of renewable electricity sources for operations in South Africa : Part 2 – A multi-criteria decision assessment. Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 117(3):299-312, doi:10.17159/2411-9717/2017/v117n3a11.

The original publication is available at http://www.saimm.co.za

Article

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The first in this series of two papers, on the potential of renewable electricity sources for mining operations in South Africa, investigated the internal structure of mining corporations to evaluate feasible alternative electricity sources that were identified as through earlier research. The purpose of this paper is to combine current knowledge about the external macroeconomic and the internal environments to produce a clear picture of how renewable sources of electricity could perform from the perspective of mining corporations in South Africa. The multi-attribute value theory (MAVT) approach was adapted to structure the research and results. The model was fed with real-time data provided from five different energy companies and four mining corporations operating in South Africa. The results show that the performance of hybrid versions of the currently used electricity sources (diesel generators and Eskom grid connection) with solar PV and onshore wind is favourable compared with the current sources alone. The advantage of diesel generators is significantly greater than that of the Eskom grid connection. By combining the macroeconomic influences with the MAVT results, hybrid solar PV versions are identified as having the greatest potential. In second place are hybrid wind solutions, which have the shortcoming that good wind conditions occur only in coastal regions where there are fewer mining activities. Geothermal hybrid versions are the least favourable owing to the lack of service infrastructure and high initial investment costs.

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