A nation’s industrial growth as well as the quality of life is dependent on energy supply and
demand. With the current situation of the supply of energy not matching the growing demand,
small-scale hydropower projects could play an important role, especially in providing electricity
to remote areas. Even though the experts classify South Africa as a water-scarce country, there
is still abundant water for small-scale hydropower schemes which could help with the sustainable
energy supply for the future (Banks & Schäffler, 2006).
There are numerous small-scale hydropower plants which played an important role in providing
both urban and rural areas of South Africa with energy, even though not well documented. Both
Pretoria’s and Cape Town’s initial electricity was provided by small scale hydropower stations,
however these stations were decommissioned due to the national electricity grid expansions
(Jonker Klunne, 2009). Approximately 188 hydropower sites are currently in South Africa, which
are either potential (54 sites), under construction (21 sites), operational (91 sites) or have been
decommissioned (22 sites), excluding privately owned sites (Jonker Klunne, 2016).
It was hypothesised that a user-friendly framework in conjunction with a Hydropower
Development Assistance Tool (HDAT) could be compiled. The designed framework and the
HDAT could guide the potential power producers through the process of developing new or
upgrading existing hydropower facilities in South Africa. The objective of this study was to develop a framework which is designed to guide users through
a decision analysis procedure regarding the refurbishment, renewal or replacement of existing
hydropower sites in South Africa, as well as providing guidance for the development of these
identified sites. Using a visual representation with the necessary economic evaluation to
determine feasibility using an Excel-based assistance tool.
The Hydropower Development Assistance Tool was tested on the Aliwal North decommissioned
hydropower site. This site was chosen by the Water Research Commission (WRC) to be
recommissioned. The result was a practical decision support system for the evaluation of existing
or decommissioned hydropower sites in South Africa.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2018.