South Africa: Energy Snippets - 21 May 2019

Last Updated: 5 June 2019
Article by Charles Marais

Release of updated IRP imminent, says Radebe, as he allays coal producers' fears

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has promised that the update of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which reflects the government's policy blueprint for the power sector, will be concluded "very shortly".

He told delegates attending the African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa forum, in Cape Town, on Tuesday, that the government was still in the process of engaging with its social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, but emphasised that the update was imminent.

Engineering News, 14 May 2019

#AUW2019 and PowerGEN Africa Day 1: South Africa not ready to just ditch coal, says Radebe

Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe on Tuesday assured delegates at the opening of the African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa in Cape Town of South Africa's commitment to safe and clean energy, but reminded all that the country's coal reserves cannot just be ignored.

Radebe also told delegates South Africa's long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan that is supposed to give the necessary clarity on the direction of the country's energy future, will be finalised "shortly". Asked later in an interview what shortly means, he sidestepped the time-frame issue. The Minister said the plan is still under discussion by Nedlac.

ESI Africa, 14 May 2019

Positive reaction to Radebe's lifting of licence restraints on small-scale power plants

Industry has reacted positively to revelations that Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has written to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) indicating that it should begin to license small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) projects with capacities of above 1 MW.

Business Day reported on Wednesday that Radebe had written a letter to Nersa informing the regulator that it can consider granting licences to SSEG projects, with a combined capacity of 500 MW, without the developer having to seek permission from the Minister for a deviation from the Integrated Resource Plan.

Engineering News, 15 May 2019

Sanedi launches two solar heating system projects

The South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) on Wednesday launched the first solar district heating system in South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand's (Wits) Junction Campus, as well as the largest solar process heat system in sub-Saharan Africa at the Klein Karoo International tannery.

These two Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative projects, funded in part by the Austrian Development Corporation, will save the two buildings millions of rands in energy costs.

Engineering News, 15 May 2019

Eskom "too big to fail" and won't be privatised, Ramaphosa tells investors

President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated at an investment conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday that struggling power utility Eskom would not be privatised, adding it was "too big to fail".

Ramaphosa was delivering his first major post-election economic address at a conference hosted by the Goldman Sachs Group.

Engineering News, 15 May 2019

Zimbabwe platinum mines to ride out power cuts, gold output less secure

Power imports are cushioning platinum mining companies against Zimbabwe's worst blackouts in three years, but gold mines could face production cuts as they continue to rely on an unstable national grid, industry officials said.

State utility Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company this week started indefinite rolling power cuts lasting up to ten hours per day, blaming low water levels at the dam that supplies the biggest hydro plant and creaking infrastructure at ageing coal-fired generators.

Engineering News, 15 May 2019

Experts mull over Eskom's future as South Africa awaits IRP

While South Africans may still be relatively in the dark over the release date of the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) outlining the country's future energy plans, experts on Tuesday agreed the future of energy in South Africa will be very different.

Energy experts Ted Blom and Dr Grové Steyn, who serves on the Presidential Task Team on Eskom, took part in a panel discussion at the African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa conference and exhibition in Cape Town covering issues relating to the future of Eskom, the planned unbundling of the utility and energy in a future with climate change.

ESI Africa, 15 May 2019

Jeff Radebe on South Africa's energy landscape

South African Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has highlighted sub-Saharan Africa as home to several of the world's fastest-growing economies, including the Top 10.

"As SADC we want to emulate the examples of Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal amongst others, and the resolution of SADC electricity challenges will prod even faster development in our region," Radebe said during his opening address at the opening of the African Utility Week in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The Minister highlighted where South Africa is currently in terms of the energy landscape, noting the future utility model.

ESI Africa, 15 May 2019

UCT GSB professor joins global initiative to end energy poverty

A new Global Commission to End Energy Poverty will draw on the combined expertise of energy experts around the world to accelerate the United Nations goal of universal electricity access by 2030.

Professor Anton Eberhard from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) has been appointed to the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty – a new initiative that aims to accelerate access to electricity to millions of under-serviced homes and businesses quickly and cost-effectively.

ESI Africa, 15 May 2019

Power Africa moves towards its goal of bringing more energy to the continent

Power Africa, which was launched by former U.S. President Barack Obama six years ago, is working towards its target of providing energy access to an additional 60 million new homes and businesses and adding 30 000 MW of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity on the African continent.

So far, the programme, which brings together technical and legal experts, private sector and governments around the world to increase the numbers of people with access to energy, has helped 121 power generation projects that provide a combined capacity of more than 10 000 MW, reach financial close.

Engineering News, 16 May 2019

"Well intentioned" IPP investments MUST have real impact – expert

Investment in renewable energy projects must translate into sustainable, real and meaningful impact in the communities where the IPPs (Independent Power Producers programme) are centred, delegates at the African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa conference and exhibition in Cape Town heard on Thursday. Yet this, according to a senior consultant in renewable energy economic development Dr Ric Amansure, is not always the case.

Various community stakeholders in the IPP programme on Wednesday showcased their work highlighting the difference these projects are making in their lives – most notably the lives of women and children. National Operations Manager of the Field Band Foundation Ushama Jerrier told delegates the Foundation has a database of 7000 children involved in its activities in seven of the nine provinces.

ESI Africa, 17 May 2019

Greenpeace Africa welcomes move by Energy Minister to boost rooftop solar



Jeff Radebe's decision advising Nersa that it can consider granting licences to small-scale embedded generation projects with a combined capacity of 500 MW.

The Minister highlighted that the regulator could pursue these licenses without the developer having to seek permission from the Minister for a deviation from the Integrated Resource Plan.

ESI Africa, 17 May 2019

Load shedding's impact on first-quarter GDP "more muted" than thought – Intellidex

Based off high-frequency data, the impact of record load shedding during the first quarter of this year is "more muted than previous estimates would suggest", financial consultant Intellidex said on Friday.

The company explained that it could account for about ZAR300 million per stage per day so far, but said that this was only from a small number of sectors.

Engineering News, 17 May 2019

Winter plan: Eskom requires efficient use of electricity

With colder weather conditions expected across the country and the demand for electricity projected to increase, South Africans can make a huge difference by rallying towards the common cause of using electricity efficiently, which has the potential to reduce demand by up to 500 MW – saving the equivalent of one unit at a power station.

In April, state-owned power utility Eskom indicated that it now has a better understanding of the root causes of breakdowns following work done by its technical review team and has a reliable maintenance plan for its plant, with maintenance being prioritised over this period.

Engineering News, 17 May 2019

Nuclear is a solution to Eskom's woes

The success of all the countries that have undertaken large nuclear programmes shows that nuclear energy is a credible solution to state-owned power utility Eskom's power challenges, says retired Eskom chief nuclear officer David Nicholls.

"The tariffs in pro-nuclear countries, such as France, show that it is a cost-effective option. However, nuclear energy does not lend itself to non-state investment, owing to the large capital cost involved for the large unit sizes – about 1 000 MW."

Engineering News, 17 May 2019

Eskom unbundling will allow for efficient and effective management

The challenges facing state-owned power utility Eskom can be mitigated through proper, efficient and effective management, which is possible with the company's unbundling, says Stellenbosch University Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies director Professor Sampson Mamphweli.

During his State of the Nation Address in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Eskom would be unbundled into three separate state-owned entities focusing on generation, transmission and distribution.

Engineering News, 17 May 2019

The above reflects a summary of certain news articles published during the preceding week.

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