Renewable energy sector increasing in ELIDZ

Ayanda Ramncwana of the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) said that of the ELIDZ’s secured private sector investment worth ZAR4 billion, 54% was in the renewable energy sector. This was an indication of the growing sector diversity in the zone.

“The ELIDZ is progressing well in this sector with two renewable energy investors in solar PV manufacturing as well as inverter manufacturing already secured. The ELIDZ science and technology park’s (STP) focus on supporting growth through the incubation of new technologies also remains critical to the development of this sector,” she said.

Engineering News, 7 March 2016

South Africa to start shale gas exploration in next financial year

The first exploration for shale gas in South Africa will begin in the next financial year, the government said on Tuesday, following years of postponement. 

"One area of real opportunity for South Africa is the exploration of shale gas," the statement said. "Exploration activities are scheduled to commence in the next financial year. This will lead to excellent prospects for beneficiation and add value to our mineral wealth."

Engineering News, 8 March 2016

South African regulator finalising shale gas exploration applications

South Africa's Petroleum Agency expects to make its recommendations on the first two of five shale gas exploration license applications by early May, the acting chief executive said on Tuesday.

“The two we are making recommendations on are Falcon and Bundu,” Lindiwe Mekwe told Reuters after government said they expected exploration to start in the next financial year. 

The regulator is also considering applications from Shell and two other companies, Mekwe said. Once recommendations have been made it will be down to the Minister of Mineral Resources to make a final decision on granting licenses.

Engineering News, 8 March 2016

Request for proposals on nuclear build scheme likely at end of March

The Department of Energy is preparing to issue a request for proposals for the government’s 9600MW nuclear build programme at the end of this month to test the market, Director-General Thabane Zulu said on Wednesday.

He explained that the request for proposals was based on the Cabinet’s decision to go ahead with the nuclear build programme, and was aimed at testing the market in terms of South Africa’s state of readiness for the project and the best funding model to use. Suppliers would submit technology and funding proposals.

The request would ultimately show what the best and most cost-effective method would be for proceeding with the programme. The government could then proceed to determine a funding model.

Business Day, 9 March 2016

No load shedding until end of winter, Eskom CEO Brian Molefe tells MPs

Eskom does not expect to have to load shed for the rest of the summer, autumn and winter despite continuing with its rigorous maintenance programme, CEO Brian Molefe said in Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Molefe's optimism about load shedding contrasts with his statement after the decision last week by the National Energy Regulator of SA (NERSA) to grant Eskom only a 9.4% tariff increase - ZAR11 billion less than it applied for. At the time Mr Molefe said NERSA's decision meant Eskom might have to load shed.

Business Day, 9 March 2016 

Eskom to spend US$21 billion on new power plants in next five years

Eskom will increase its capital expenditure by 44% to ZAR324 billion (US$21 billion) over the next five years to build new power stations, the state-owned company said on Wednesday.

Eskom is building three new power plants to help shore up power reserves in Africa's most industrialised country, and expects to add 5620 MW to the network by 2018 when units at Medupi and Kusile's coal-fired plants come online.

Mining Weekly, 9 March 2016