Researching the long-term impact of load management projects on South African mines
De Kock, Nicolaas Cornelius Jacobus Marthinus
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Eskom is currently facing an energy crisis due to the limited operational electricity generating capacity in South Africa. The historically low electricity price, the rapid growth in economy and the energy intensive nature of South African industries are the most common reasons for the peak supply problem. Various supply and demand technologies have been identified to address this energy crisis. Due to the lengthy process of building new peaking load power stations, Eskom has initiated the Demand-side Management (DSM) programme as a solution to the short-term supply problem. The National Energy Regulator (NER) has set targets to Eskom DSM to reduce the evening peak demand by 153 MW per annum and 4 255 MW over a 20-year planning horizon. Due to the energy intensive nature of the mining industry, it has been targeted for DSM savings. To date there have been a number of DSM projects implemented on the clear-water pumping systems of various mines, with a large potential for DSM savings identified on future projects still unrealised. The generation benefit of DSM load-shifting projects is twofold; firstly Eskom's evening load capacity increases due to the reduction in demand during these periods and secondly, the mine receives electricity cost savings due to load management practices. Because Eskom DSM is dependent on the client consumer to accept and roll-out the DSM programme, client satisfaction is of paramount importance. Due to the fact that load-shifting efforts require from the mine to change their normal operating schedules, there is uncertainty on the impact and knock-on effects of DSM projects on a mine. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate and thereafter quantify the overall impact of DSM load-shifting on the clear-water pumping system of South African mines. A generic model was developed by performing case studies on existing DSM projects. This model was then applied to future DSM projects to validate the findings made throughout the research study. The case studies performed on existing DSM projects, as well as the results obtained when modelling the overall impact of DSM on future mines, proofs that DSM definitely benefits a mine. The total annual cost saving on the four future DSM projects is predicted to be in the order of R7.64 million instead of the R 4.27 million when considering only the electricity cost savings to the mine.
- Engineering