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Aus firm gets SA gas project go-ahead

first_img11 October 2013Australian-listed company Sunbird Energy has received government approval for the acquisition of the Ibhubesi gas project off South Africa’s west coast, paving the way for a multi-billion rand investment that would boost the country’s gas-to-electricity generation capacity.Sunbird and its South African empowerment partner Umbono Capital were “particularly happy with the extremely professional and timely handling of the approvals process by the regulator”, Sunbird said in a statement on Wednesday.The approval establishes Sunbird as the operator of South Africa’s largest and most advanced undeveloped gas field with a 76% working interest, with national oil company PetroSA holding the remaining 24% of the licence.“On our current economic modelling of the 2P reserves base, the project has a potential net present value of over US$1-billion,” said Sunbird Energy chairman Kerwin Rana.Sunbird said it would be looking to supply gas from Ibhubesi to state company Eskom’s 1 338-megawatt (MW) Ankerlig power station, which is currently burning expensive imported diesel, and a new 474 MW gas-fired station for which the Department of Energy has requested private sector proposals.“With the Ibhubesi gas project being South Africa’s largest proven gas field and its strategic location on the energy-constrained west coast, Sunbird is in a strong position to commercialise a domestic gas reserve of national importance,” Rana said.The company said it had started field development planning as part of the front end engineering and design phase of the project, and would make a final investment decision by early 2015.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

‘Plug-and-Play’ Solar is Closer to Market

first_imgAlthough it won’t be commercially available for a couple of years, a photovoltaic system under development by a Boston-based research laboratory could be installed by a homeowner and connected to the grid in about a day. In a press release, The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) said it had demonstrated the installation of its Plug and Play PV System. Technicians completed the job in an hour. (You can follow the project on Twitter at #FhCSESolar.)The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative is paying for the research and development project, which CSE said would help bring the cost of solar electricity from $4 per installed watt to $1.50 per watt by 2020, a reduction of more than 60%. The lab said the system “addresses all aspects of the solar purchasing and installation process” by simplifying interconnection, permitting, and inspection.CSE Director Dr. Christian Hoepfner said in the release the lab is focused on getting technologies such as clean energy into the hands of consumers.“The Plug and Play system is centered around ease of use and installation to encourage people to adopt solar,” the statement said. “Once commercially available, homeowners will be able to go to their local building supply stores, purchase the PV systems, and install them in less than 10 hours — as easily as installing a washer/dryer combination.” Making installation as simple as possibleHoepfner said in a telephone interview the panels use “pretty traditional” crystalline silicone technology. The panels were rated at 175 watts each, small and light enough for someone to carry under an arm, although they also could be produced with a higher rated capacity than that.They’re attached to the roof with an adhesive made by Royal.Developers had three major problems to solve, Hoepfner said: making the wiring on the rooftop and down to the side of the house as simple and safe as possible, connecting the panels to the electric meter, and simplifying the interconnection process — that is, hooking it up to the grid.“We put a lot of thinking into this and in particular a lot of focus on making it safer so that it is basically impossible to accidentally kill yourself on any high voltage on the roof,” he said.Panels would be connected to the house wiring via a PV socket installed behind the utility’s meter. A licensed electrician or utility worker would have to pull the meter (not something a homeowner could legally do), install a “meter collar” incorporating the socket, and then re-install the meter, a process Hoepfher said should take all of about 10 minutes.Once the socket was installed, the homeowner shouldn’t need any additional help from a professional. It would be a matter of going to a retail store, buying the panels and installing them.Once the panels have been commissioned, the system sends data to the local building officials and the utility, “automating the permitting, inspection and interconnection process.” Northeast Utilities likes the programElectric utilities haven’t always been eager to see new residential PV systems. Some have complained that as more homeowners install them and reduce their purchase of electricity, non-solar households have to pick up more of the cost of maintaining the grid. Lower sales of electricity also could lower earnings for shareholders in publicly traded utilities.That could be a potential rub if homeowners suddenly have an easier, cheaper path toward installing PV. CSE, however, said it has been working with several New England utilities, including Northeast Utilities, National Grid and Green Mountain Power, as it developed the Plug and Play system.And Northeast responded positively to the demonstration project.“We at Northeast Utilities see this program as incredibly important because it not only addresses installation barriers, but also simplifies the interconnection process,” Penni Conner, Northeast’s senior vice president and chief customer officer, said in the CSE statement.“These systems make solar adoption a less complicated and time-consuming process for our customers and easier for us to bring new solar onto our systems. Our customers are going to have easier access to solar, helping us support a more sustainable energy future.”Why have utilities embraced Plug and Play?“Most people and most utility executives would agree there are big changes ahead and a lot of uncertainty about that and how it will evolve,” Hoepfner said of distributed solar generation. “On the practical level, however, utilities are required to do this already… Once you do this and the political decision has been made to do this, either voluntarily or involuntarily, then you want to make this as easy as possible.”Another reason is that Plug and Play would reduce the number of PV systems hooked up without utilities knowing about it. That may not be a huge problem now, Hoepfner said, but as solar becomes cheaper, more people will be tempted to buy panels and install them with or without utility permission.The CSE Plug and Play, however, can’t be energized unless the utility has actively given its permission to interconnect. That feature would give utilities an “unprecedented level of insight” into how much solar was actually on their grid. Utilities would like that, too. Solving one of solar’s most pressing problemsIf it gets to market, the Plug and Play system would address one of the biggest obstacles to a wider adoption of residential PV — the relatively high “soft” costs of permitting, installation, inspections and other non-hardware components.In a 2013 report, The Rocky Mountain Institute said hardware costs have dropped sharply since 2008 while progress on bringing down soft costs has been “particularly unimpressive.” That’s one reasons the cost of installed solar electric systems in Germany is half of what it is here.The report said in part: “Australia and Germany, both with healthy solar markets, have residential solar costs at about half that of the U.S. What’s more, nearly every penny of the savings in upfront capital costs in those countries is due to much lower soft costs. In brief, soft costs have become a national embarrassment.“Framed more concretely, in the U.S. you could give away solar panels for free and still end up paying nearly $20,000 for a residential system. That may seem absurd, but it’s our current reality.” Don’t go shopping quite yetHoepfner said he’s already getting calls from installers who want to know where they can buy the equipment, but it’s two years or more away from store shelves.In 2015, CSE hopes to move the system from a “technology demonstration” to a “commercially ready prototype,” but it would be 2017 before all of the pieces were in place for retail sales.It’s not just a single product that needs more complete development, Hoepfner said, but the framework in which a standard is developed, allowing a lot of companies to take part and offer plug and play products. That’s going to take time.last_img read more

Two Assam Rifles men killed in ambush

first_imgSuspected extremists ambushed a convoy of 40 Assam Rifles in Nagaland’s Mon district on Saturday, killing two personnel of the paramilitary force and injuring three others. Officials said the ambush took place at Thainyak between Ukha and Tobu in the district bordering Myanmar. “There was an exchange of fire after the ambush at 1 p.m. Two of our men died, and the injured were taken to a hospital,” an Assam Rifles spokesperson said. The gunfight lasted an hour, but the security agencies could not confirm if any extremist was killed. No organisation has claimed responsibility, but the needle of suspicion is on the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland that operates from its base in Myanmar, but has been under pressure from the armed forces of both countries. Other extremist groups such as the United Liberation Front of Assam and some Manipur outfits have been fighting alongside the NSCN(K) under an umbrella organisation. Saturday’s attack happened at the same place where NSCN(K) had attacked and killed nine Assam Rifles personnel in 2015.last_img read more

PVL: FEU tramples San Sebastian in straight sets

first_imgKammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief LATEST STORIES With the All-Star Game over, CJ Perez quickly shifts focus on 2nd round San Sebastian, which went to two straight NCAA finals, will now make do without the lethal Grethcel Soltones, who carried the Lady Stags for the past couple of seasons.“So far so good, and I told them to we have to start this tournament on a good note so we can end this on the same level,” said new FEU head coach George Pascua, who replaced Shaq Delos Santos. “They have to release their maximum potential in the games.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Of course our goal is the championship because it’s still a different when you win a championship, that’s the objective of the team.”Nikka Dalisay led the Lady Stags with 10 points. View comments Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding FILE PHOTO – FEU’s Bernadeth Pons (2) celebrates with her teammates. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFar Eastern University gored through rebuilding San Sebastian in three sets, 25-17, 25-21, 25-14, in its first match in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Team captain Bernadeth Pons led the Lady Tamaraws with 13 points while Toni Rose Basas added 11.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:50Trending Articles01:08Two elephants trample crowd at Sri Lankan pageant, injuring 1701:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspensionlast_img read more

TFA OFFICIAL RECOGNISED AT AUSPORT AWARDS

first_imgHot on the heels of the Australian Mens 30’s Touch team being nominated at the Australian Sports Awards, one of TFA’s leading officials was nominated for an award at the Australian Sports Commission 2006 Ausport Awards.The Ausport Awards recognise coaches, officials, management and other programs that have played pivotal roles in developing sport Australia-wide. TFA took the opportunity to nominate a member of our National Referees Panel (NRP) who has served the sport and its officials tirelessly for many years.Ian Matthew, who is also the Director of Referees in NSW, was nominated for the ‘Officials Development Award’ and we were delighted when he was short-listed to the final three nominees. Unfortunately Ian was unable to attend the Awards breakfast in Melbourne, due to his commitments in Coffs Harbour for the NTL, but Miles Davine, Touch Football Victoria Manager, kindly stepped in and attended on Ian’s behalf.The eventual winner of the award was Sharon Arnold from Basketball Australia, while Ian Matthew and Neil Poulton from Baseball were both highly commended at the breakfast.Ian can be credited for many of the strategies and techniques in place in Touch Football today to develop referees from grass roots level to the elite level. He has influenced an enormous number of referees through his work at local, state, national and international level. Thank you Ian for all of your hard work!last_img read more