Saturday, November 17, 2012

Trigeneration power plant for Chris Hani Baragwanath may get

MTN's trigeneration plant

Gauteng MEC for infrastructure development Qedani Mahlangu was exploring the feasibility of installing a gas-fuelled trigeneration power plant at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, in Johannesburg, to mitigate the facility’s power challenges.

The MEC, who toured telecoms group MTN’s 2 MW, R22-million methane-powered plant at its Fairland offices on Friday, said that a trigeneration plant could reduce the hospital’s reliance on coal-fuelled power generation and its often unreliable boilers.

It could also reduce the frequency of operation cancellations and prevent equipment degradation and laundry back-up, besides others, owing to power disruptions and unreliability from the national grid.

Switching to a potentially cheaper, cleaner mechanism of energy generation could save the hospital money, while earning extra revenue from the sale of carbon credits.

MTN, which registered its trigeneration plant with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as a Clean Development Mechanism project, had recently agreed to sell all its credits to electricity utility company EDF Trading, a wholly owned subsidiary of Electricité de France SA, until 2020.

Speaking to Engineering News Online, Mahlangu said that, should the project prove feasible, it could be rolled out at three other major hospitals and health facilities in Gauteng and possibly feed any excess power generated onto the national grid.

The department would complete a financial model over the next few months and aimed to start construction at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital next year.

The province was currently in talks to partner with an undisclosed private company to undertake the multimillion-rand trigeneration project.

Further, Mahlangu aimed to engage the Department of Energy and MTN’s gas supplier Egoli Gas on the costly gas prices and the options of lowering the rates.

The project formed part of Gauteng’s integrated energy strategy.

Mahlangu was also examining other alternative power generation mechanisms more suited to infrastructure such as schools and old-age homes, as the province seeks ways of moving away from fossil-fuel power generation to alternative, ‘greener’ energy.

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