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Energy Generation using Low Head Technologies
Expanded Title:In South Africa, mainly due to relative scarcity of surface water, there is a prevailing perception that the potential for the conventional hydropower development is rather low. However the country’s 1082 dam facilities store about 65 percent of the total mean annual surface runoff re‐evaluated at 49 210 million m3 (WRC, 2005). At present only seven dam facilities are equipped with hydropower generation plants, largest being the Gariep hydropower plant situated on the Orange River having an operational capacity of 360 MW (the larger pumped storages are excluded as these are not considered “green” and installed for a peak supply only). In South Africa there are almost 4 500 registered dams of all sizes providing water mainly for the irrigation and urban/rural water users. The key objective of this study is to identify and evaluate hidden potential as well as to recommend most suitable low head hydropower applications for the potential developers in the public and private water supply and wastewater disposal sectors. The study was focused mainly on the investigation of existing irrigation, river flow measuring and wastewater disposal infrastructure administered by water users’ associations (WUAs), Government Water Schemes (GWS), local authorities and water utilities. These administrators are responsible for extensive water infrastructure where low head hydropower potential can be found. Several irrigation schemes were studied in detail to determine low head hydro‐electrical potential. Similarly the river flow measuring infrastructure (i.e. gauging weirs) and urban wastewater plants were investigated for low head hydropower potential. Various sites, with potential ranging from pico to small hydropower installations were identified. The results of investigation indicate clearly that there are significant potential for the development of low‐head hydropower in both the perennial streams and within existing water supply (i.e. urban and agricultural scheme) and wastewater treatment infrastructure. This potential is not necessarily significant with regard to the contribution to the Eskom’s national grid. However, it is significant on the background of the potential reduction in electricity demand on the national grid presently supplying the conveyance, pumping and treatment of raw water and the treatment of large quantities of urban wastewater. The low‐head hydropower potential estimated is significant in the context of discounting energy demand on the national grid providing either for the whole or a portion of the in‐house demand instead wheeling generated energy to the national grid. The report estimates that a 100MW potential exists from low head hydro solutions.
Date Published:01/12/2013
Document Type:Research Report
Document Keywords:Environment, Hydrology, Technology
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Consultant
WRC Report No:KV 323/13
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0487-8
Authors:Van Vuuren SJ; Loots I; Van Dijk M; Barta B
Project No:K8/1017
Originator:WRC
Organizations:University of Pretoria
Document Size:10 255 KB
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