BCM bid to use green energy

Buffalo City Metro plans to use renewable energy as it hopes to stop relying so heavily on Eskom for electricity. A tender advertisement for a feasibility study was issued last week.

Picture: EPA

The metro also plans to introduce light-emitting diode (LED) street lights to try to save electricity.

These were revealed yesterday to German scientists who are in the metro to build working relations with the city.

The delegation of two scientists from Germany’s DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems work with renewable energy systems and will be in the city until tomorrow in an effort to combine German and South African ideas to create renewable energy projects for the metro.

DLR’s Meike Kühnel said BCM was currently not creating electricity from its wastewater treatment work and sludge treatment despite the potential in the field.

“The wastewater treatment and sludge treatment is not focused on creating electricity from it, it just consumes electricity with the purification of water and if you include that we can use all the energy of sludge to produce electricity and to have a self sufficient plant there.

“We have advised them to produce energy from waste,” she said.

The workshop was held at the Beacon Bay electricity department where BCM water and electricity managers made presentations on the status of the services and plans for renewable energy.

Acting BCM electricity and energy services manager Robert Ferrier said the electricity department was in the process of issuing a renewable energy audit tender to establish clearly the potential within BCM.

At least 37 potential bidders attended the tender briefing yesterday following the tender advert last week.

“BCM has vast potential within the city to reduce reliance on external energy,” Ferrier said, adding that in terms of national requirements BCM should cut its electricity consumption by 10%.

“We decided that we need to conduct a feasibility study and at the moment we are in the tender stages for that renewable tender to establish this potential.

“The main thing is to gauge the potential. One of the things that the tender calls for is that they need to take note of what has been done previously and identify the gaps in the market and the opportunities, set targets, identify the strategies and programmes, identify strategic partners and develop a multi-year programme and allocate resources.”

BCM renewable energy options include wind energy (where large tracts of land are more suitable for wind farms than housing), solar energy, waste energy with a “big” regional waste disposal site with “huge potential” and closed waste dump sites which have potential to harvest natural gas.

“The big one we are looking at is the Berlin waste site for recycling and supply of electricity energy,” Ferrier said.

“We are really keen on getting that up and going. At the moment the way waste is generated it just goes straight to the dumpsite – there is no recycling and there is potential there.”

Ferrier said they were in talks with the Department of Energy about changing all the city’s existing street lights, which are mainly high- pressure sodium street lighting, to LED street lighting.

“LEDs are very efficient in terms of the light they put off the ground – they are cheaper and the maintenance is efficient,” he said.

The city has budgeted R420-million to upgrade the wastewater treatment works in the current financial year.

This includes upgrading the Reeston wastewater works, Zwelitsha wastewater works and Eastern Beach sewers. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

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