‘Green’ rating a first for UCT

The 400-seater New Lecture Theatre (NLT), at the southern end of University Avenue, was built with the aim of obtaining a four-star green rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). Jigisha Mandalia, MPhil in Energy and Development Studies student at UCT’s Energy Research Centre, conducted a case study analysis of three recently completed UCT buildings: the New Engineering Building, Snape and the NLT. “UCT has been working on developing plans and targets to improve sustainability across campus… Read more‘Green’ rating a first for UCT

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Postgraduate Symposium

Recently three masters students from the Energy Research Centre (ERC) attended the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Postgraduate Symposium (REPS) which was partly funded by the by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), through the National Research Foundation (NRF). REPS has taken place annually for the past 6 years, with all prior symposiums held at Stellenbosch University. This year, however, it took place at the University of Fort Hare which was also celebrating its centenary. The main aim of the… Read moreRenewable and Sustainable Energy Postgraduate Symposium

What lies behind Africa’s lack of access and unreliable power supplies?

Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan research network, recently released areport highlighting Africa’s electricity challenges. Power shortages can hamper socioeconomic development, but they also have implications for health and education. The Conversation Africa’s energy and environment editor Ozayr Patel spoke to Peter Penar, one of the researchers. How serious is the electricity crisis in Africa? One of the most glaring disparities is that across the 36 countries surveyed, 94% of urban dwellers have access to the electric grid, whereas only 45% do… Read moreWhat lies behind Africa’s lack of access and unreliable power supplies?

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: Dassiesklip Wind Farm

The morning started with clear skies in sunny Cape Town, but after we reached the Overberg, the mist appeared and the clouds gathered. It was raining hard and was very windy as we reached the Dassiesklip Wind Farm near Caledon; a perfect day to see a wind turbine in full action! As we entered the grounds, we were welcomed by a beautiful rainbow touching the ground on both sides with, at one end, the wind turbines. As we approached those… Read moreThe pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: Dassiesklip Wind Farm

Class trip to Palmiet

The 2015 Masters class of the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre recently went on a fieldtrip to Eskom’s Palmiet hydro electric pumped storage power plant near Gordon’s Bay in the Western Cape. The tour consisted of a presentation given at the plant’s visitor’s centre as well as a tour through the inside of the plant itself, including the operator’s control room. The basic operation of the power plant and the way in which it generates electricity was explained… Read moreClass trip to Palmiet

Developing the art of participation at a COP

Being a veteran of three and a half days at a COP, I have realized that managing one’s time at a COP is something of an art. It has perhaps been one of the biggest challenges of the week, trying to fit in attending one’s side events of interest, selecting events that are actually of interest, carrying out stall duties, attending negotiations, and trying to keep track of what is happening in the bigger COP picture (Tip: Eco newsletter every… Read moreDeveloping the art of participation at a COP

Space observation and Satellite imagery in the context of climate change, capcity building and technology transfer

The EU organised a workshop around the benefits of integrating space observations in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, capacity building and training in that sector for developing economies and LDCs. The workshop was a collaboration between European Space Agency (ESA), the recently launched South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the Joint research centre (JRC) together with their Gabonese partner. Not being an expert in space technology and satellite imagery myself, the main points highlighted were with regards to… Read moreSpace observation and Satellite imagery in the context of climate change, capcity building and technology transfer

The Minister keeps us in the loop!

Having only arrived on Sunday the 13th in Copenhagen, halfway through the negotiations, Meagan and I (Thapelo) were really privileged to find that a meeting (briefing session) had been arranged with the South African delegation team, including the Minister herself, for all interested parties from South Africa. Although the Minister herself could not be in the meeting for long due to an emergency ministerial meeting of the Africa Group to address the “killing Kyoto” saga of that morning, she managed… Read moreThe Minister keeps us in the loop!

My first impression of COP15

On arrival in this city I was no doubt surprised by the icy cold weather, which for someone who has never experienced a winter in the Northern Hemisphere, has taken a while to adapt to. That said, once here I found myself immediately immersed in COP15 activities. Once I had done my two and a half hours in the registration queue I finally entered the Bella Centre. While a number of events were attended it was obvious from this first… Read moreMy first impression of COP15

Ministers start working – after a while

On Monday, Ministers started engaging in the negotiations under the guidance of the COP President, Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard.  This is unusual – at a typical COP, Ministers come only for the last three days and spend most time making national statements and holding bi-lateral meetings.  Copenhagen is different.  A whole list of ‘crunch issues’ has been kicked from the negotiator level to that of Ministers. (For a sense of the issues, see earlier posting on Week 2). This… Read moreMinisters start working – after a while