South Africa & Botswana
October 29 thru November 13, 2014
Johannesburg, South Africa is the gathering point for the NECA Study mission team. We will be back and forth to Johannesburg 3 different occasions to allow the logistics of this trip to work.
Lions Camp, in Kruger National Park, South Africa
The NECA Contractors were invited to observe the re-installation of two DC generators that are the backup electrical power supply for the camp when there is a loss of local utility power (see photo below). This was scheduled for Friday, October 31. As luck would have it, at the last minute the work was rescheduled for later in the month by their electrical contractor. However, we reviewed the contractor's quote with General Manager, Sven Linstrom, and offered suggestions to engineer savings for the installation to the new updated generators. See the attached contractor quote for the installation. The camps KW costs are $.60 per KW which in the US is about an average of $.20 per kw we were all shocked by the high cost that the SA utilities charge their customers. Adding the updated generators will help supplement the usage of SA Utilities which should help in reducing their utility costs.
We offered the following suggestions from our examination of the Lodge’s facilities:
- To explore the cost of installing Solar Panels to offset his utility usage costs. We all feel at $.60 per kw being charged by SAU, the pay back would very short to see an ROI on his investment. With the installation of solar panels there would additional saving of generator fuel costs that would reduce the generator usage. Pictures are included to show the tired old generators with very large number on the run hour meters.
- We all thought with minimal engineering, that a card entry key system at the entrance of each lodge door entrance to shut off or turn the AC units. Currently the AC units are running constantly. Shutting the units off when there isn't anyone in the room should show savings very quickly to again have a positive ROI in a short period of time.
- We notice that the night time security path way lighting should have timers installed on the system to shut the lighting off more timely for additional savings.
- Although the initial cost of retro fitting of LED lighting would be an investment, the long term lamp replacement and maintenance costs would truly offset the cost and yield a long-term ROI.
Sanctuary Lodges – is one of the premier hotel/lodge companies in southern Africa. At each facility in Botswana we met with the General Manager to review current operating systems and made recommendations on how to reduce kw costs, which are very high. We were pleased to note the company is in the initial stages of installing solar panels in each of their facilities. The overall governing code is European electrical code of IEC. However, since isolated in remote areas of the country, there’s a considerable amount of “making due.”
Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp
We arrived November 2rd at the Stanley’s Camp. In comparison to the Lion Sands we were much closer to nature as the facility is more primitive. So the electrical review is not as extensive since the power demand is not that high.
Following a walking inspection on Monday with the Willem the camp manager, the NECA team met and came up with the following suggestions:
- Again, like Lion Sands we strongly recommend that Sanctuary investigate with a good contractor installing a solar panel power supply as a supplement to the DC power supply. We feel with fuel costs and the potential to down size the kw generators and the run time, there should be a substantial ROI for them to realize.
- LED lighting is expensive but again the reduced wattage usage and the reduce maintenance costs this is truly going a quick ROI for their investment.
- The team was impressed that there was Wi-Fi and satellite dishes. Although the Wi-Fi was limited, it still allowed the NECA Contractors to stay connected with their businesses.
Sanctuary Chiefs Lodge
We arrived Tuesday November 4th
. Chiefs Camp was not as primitive as the Stanley’s but still no AC in our accommodations. We spoiled Americans! However, this is a factor that we deal with in coming up with solutions in reducing their energy costs. After our walk thru of the camp on Wednesday, our NECA Contractor team offered the following energy savings ideas:
- The cycling of the generators power system is again something we monitored and made the same recommendation as Stanley’s to extend the down time of the resting generator would over time allow for saving on the fuel costs and maintenance.
- The installation of a solar panel power system is really a no brainier for an addition supplemental power system for the camp. In talking with the maintenance engineer of the camp they have secured quotes for a solar farm to power the camp and are planning an installation of a solar power system in 2015.
- The biggest use of power here at Chiefs is the lighting. So we do feel to look at LED lighting replacement of the current lights is a real opportunity to lower power usage here at this camp.
- The technology is working its way to the 21st century, with Wi-Fi to reach out to the outside world in each cabin for the contractors to be in touch with their businesses. The staff'’s accommodations have satellite discs to support their needs for TV and high speed internet support.
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero Lodge
On Friday, November 7, the NECA Contractors had a great meeting with the Sanctuary’s Concession Manager Andres Van Burden and his staff. Together we toured the facilities to observe the electrical installations. One of the first observations is their "Electrified Fence" installed to keep the wild game out of the camp. This was the first fencing we have seen since starting out visits.
This camp is powered by an outside power company, the Batswana Power Corp. The kw cost is at $.65 per kw hour. Ouch! Theirs is a back-up power supply at the camp since there are so many storms that cause frequent power outages. We did experience such a storm our first night and their back-up system worked very well to maintain our lights and AC. The generator is a Batswana Power Corp / Olympian Gen. Cat engine that powers the generator to create 220 kw 230 / 400 wye voltages. The generator appeared to be in good repair and maintained. In the park they have installed solar panels in the bush to provide power for the water pumps to provide water for the camp. All the water is drawn from the Chobe River and processed for the camp’s use. The Color coding of phasing is red yellow blue with a black neutral. Green is ground seems to be the universal color for grounding. Again as in the other camps the same suggestions apply here as well.
Also on Friday accompanied by Andres we visited the nearby city of Kasane to observe the power distribution installation, which looks to be very similar to our US installations. Their IEC codes are similar to the U.S. NEC Electrical code when it comes to distribution. Their overhead power distribution of 2400 DC Volts is then stepped down via transformers to 220 v DC to feed the government housing. The picture attached shows the similarities of distribution installation. The group all agree that the distribution was installed in a very neat workman like manner, which is usually very unusual in the 3rd world countries.
Cape Town, South Africa
Upon arrival into Cape Town it became very apparent that the town was in a growth mode by all the tower cranes that could be seen. Monday afternoon we all went for a tour along the renovated harbor area to observe forms of electrical distribution and branch circuit installations. The installations differ from how we would install in the US. We saw more open wiring verses hard wire of conduit installations as we use our country.
On Tuesday we visited Camps Bay, a summer resort with open public beach. We observed the point of electrical distribution to the area. The park's maintenance person explained how the power is received and distributed. We visited other communities around the Cape to observe transmission and distribution systems. As we observed in past tours, they are consistent with their installations following very closely the European electrical codes of IEC.
The existing transmission systems installations were very similar to what we see and installed in the US. We also observed a 3.3 mega kw Solar Farm.
The final stop on the tour was in a residential neighborhood to see a local home under construction. See the pictures attached of the construction site. From our vantage point all seem organized job sites but a little lacking in our US OSHA rules and regulations.
As the trip comes to an end all agreed that the time away from home and our businesses was very educational and informative sharing with the African contractors and project managers.