An automated solution to facilitate sustainable DSM in the mining environment
Steyl, Jacob Petrus
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South Africa is experiencing a serious electricity supply problem. This problem is expected to persist until at least 2012. During the winter of 2006 load shedding and electricity supply-cuts started occurring in the Western Cape. These spread to the rest of the country during the summer of 2007. By January 2008 daily load shedding was a common occurrence across South Africa. In the 1990s the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME), the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) and Eskom started a national demand side management (DSM) programme with the help of energy services companies (ESCOs). The aim is to reduce demand peaks and to promote the efficient use of electricity. These projects can be implemented much faster than building new power stations and are also more cost-effective. In 2008 an accelerated DSM program was launched to address the electricity shortage in South Africa. Unfortunately, South African DSM projects experience the same sustainability problems as their counterparts overseas. These projects have been shown to be unsustainable over the five year projected life-span. There are various reasons for this, including client mismanagement and maintenance problems. An automated and rapid feedback system was identified as the best solution to address this problem. If plant personnel could be informed as soon as a DSM project's performance starts to decline, they would be able to respond much faster to rectify the problem. Reporting on DSM performance is difficult to achieve as these reports and the processing of measured data are time-consuming and presently no system exists to automate the process. A new feedback solution was developed to fully automate the process of data gathering, processing and reporting. The implemented solution reduced the number of man-hours spent by ESCOs' project engineers dramatically. In addition, project performance increased by 13% and showed an increase in over-performance of 12.8%, while financial savings for clients improved by an average of 12%. The feedback solution also provides the client with an accurate maintenance reporting system. This system can be implemented on all DSM projects, maximising Eskom's DSM investment.
- Engineering