South Africa Calls for Power Cooperation

South Africa Calls for  Power CooperationSouth Africa Calls for  Power Cooperation

Iranian energy companies can play a major role in generating electricity in South Africa from renewable resources, as the Persian Gulf country generates a part of its much-needed electricity from geothermal sources.

After holding talks with Iran's Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, his South African counterpart, Tina Joemat-Pettersso, said her country welcomes Iranian enterprises active in the field of producing electricity from renewable energy resources like wind, water and sun as well as geothermal sources, IRNA reported.

Highlighting South Africa's willingness to collaborate with Iran in developing photovoltaic power plants and technology transfer, Joemat-Pettersson said, "Our national power grid lacks stability and we hope Iranian experts can help us develop innovative solutions to sustainability problems within the energy industry. Moreover, our experts need to be trained in Iran. In addition, South Africa grapples with the problem of power transmission."

She noted that having close ties is not enough and the two sides should reap profits in commodity and know-how trading.   

According to the African official, South Africa's status in the European Union can provide Iranian companies with a great deal of room for maneuver in energy sector.

Joemat-Pettersson believes that economic dynamism of the two states is dependent on developing energy and its infrastructures, as national and regional security are both rooted in energy security.    

On the prospects of expanding energy cooperation, the Iranian energy minister suggested establishing an energy workgroup to speed up the implementation of power initiatives.

  Turbine Manufacturing

Chitchian noted that Iranian enterprises are capable of manufacturing gas and steam turbines in addition to different kinds of generators whose know-how can be transferred to the African state.

"Iranian manufacturers are ready to play a major role in manufacturing electricity equipment up to 400 kilovolts in South Africa," he said.

According to the minister, currently wind turbines with a capacity of 660 kV and 2.5 megawatts are developed domestically and meet the needs of other states as well.

Pointing to domestically-manufactured solar panels, he said, "Plans have been devised to improve the efficiency of our panels to make them meet European standards. We can also cooperate with South Africa in equipping their electricity network with smart systems."

Chitchian said Iran's first 5 MW geothermal power plant was built in Ardabil province, adding that in spite of the fact that the equipment was procured from Italy, the exploratory and drilling projects were undertaken by Iranian experts by using cutting-edge knowledge.

Geothermal power is considered a sustainable, renewable source of energy because the heat extraction is small compared with the Earth's heat content. As of 2015, worldwide geothermal power capacity amounts to 12.8 GW, of which 28% or 3,548 megawatts are installed in the United States.

International markets grew at an average annual rate of 5% over the last three years and global geothermal power capacity is expected to reach 14.5–17.6 GW by 2020.

Countries generating more than 15% of their electricity from geothermal sources include El Salvador, Kenya, the Philippines, Iceland and Costa Rica.

  GTL and Blending MoU

The Research Institute of Petroleum Industry and South Africa's National Oil Company signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of developing gas to liquids sector—aka GTL on Sunday.

According to Hamidreza Katouzian, the head of RIPI, the agreement was concluded in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma who arrived in Tehran on Sunday at the head of a 180-strong delegation of African businessmen and officials to explore grounds for cooperation in oil and power sectors.

The agreement also calls for the Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa and RIPI to collaborate in refining technologies and crude oil blending process know-how. Moreover, PetroSA will invest in Iran in the field of GTL.

RIPI has already embarked on extensive research projects in GTL domain and regarding South Africa's GTL state-of-the-art know-how, it tries to update its knowledge in cooperation with other developed states in the field.   

Gas to liquids is a refinery process to convert natural gas or other gaseous hydrocarbons into longer-chain hydrocarbons such as gasoline or diesel fuel. Methane-rich gases are converted into liquid fuels via direct conversion.