Eskom to enlist help of private sector

Private sector participation would be essential for the new coal-fired power stations that the government aimed to bring on stream, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said last week.

The private sector could also be involved in the demothballing of old power stations. Ms Brown said last week’s synchronisation of unit three of the ZAR25 billion Ingula hydro pump storage scheme with the network would add 333 MW, reducing pressure on the grid and allowing Eskom to undertake its maintenance programme.

The scheme is located on the escarpment of the Little Drakensberg. Once it comes into full operation this year, the scheme will add 1332 MW to the grid.

French keen to include energy-intensive South African firms as nuclear equity partners

The French nuclear industry, led by electricity utility EDF, is gearing up in earnest to respond to South Africa’s request for proposals (RFP), which could be released before the end of March.

“Our offer will be based on a partnership that emphasises domestic ownership and empowerment,” Foreign Affairs and International Development Ministry permanent secretary Christian Masset said during a briefing, held at 37 Quai d’Orsay, which houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Engineering News, 13 March 2016

Solar energy to power poor Northern Cape town

Residents and businesses in the town of Groblershoop, near Upington in the Northern Cape, will now receive electricity from the Bokpoort concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, officially opened on Monday.

The ZAR5 billion plant — a joint venture between SA and Saudi Arabia, can store up to 9.3 hours of electricity for night usage, making it one of the largest thermal storage plants in the world.

The CSP plant has an expected life of 20 years and has the capacity to power more than 200 000 households.

Business Day, 14 March 2016

New platform targets small African renewables projects

A new platform to support small-scale and distributed renewable-energy projects within sub-Saharan Africa has been launched, with initial targets of getting 150 MW of new generation off the ground over the next five years.

The Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), developed by the European Investment Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme, aimed to provide projects smaller than 25 MW a “toolbox” of free assistance to reach financial close and break ground.

According to REPP’s website, onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, geothermal, waste-to-energy, tidal power, run-of-river hydropower, biomass and biogas were eligible renewable-energy technologies.

Engineering News, 14 March 2016

Eskom applies for nuclear site licences

Eskom has applied to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) for two nuclear site licences.

In a statement, the NNR confirmed that the two prospective sites were Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape and Duynefontein in the Western Cape.

NNR Media Release made available by Sabinet, 15 March 2016

Russia’s confidence about winning South African nuclear bid relates to “technical ability”

Russia is confident of winning a planned bid to build a fleet of nuclear power plants in South Africa because it has the best technology and a cost advantage due to the weak rouble and oil price, its state nuclear agency said on Wednesday.

Mr Drozdov also said reports that President Jacob Zuma and Russian leader Vladimir Putin had already agreed to give Russia the nuclear build contract was "baseless speculation".

Business Day, 16 March 2016

Nuclear seen as secure and cost competitive source in South Africa

Addressing the economic benefits of nuclear power in South Africa, Chairman of New Nuclear Watch Europe, Tim Yeo, highlights that nuclear is a low carbon source of power, is a secure source, and is cost competitive.

Adding that the country has a nuclear power station, which has been running successfully since it came into commercial operation in 1984, Yeo says that should South Africa want to deliver more sustainable electricity – low carbon sources of generation – nuclear is the most reliable one available.

ESI-Africa, 16 March 2016