Eskom says it can fund nuclear build

Eskom can pay for the nuclear build programme because it will have accumulated a ZAR150 billion cash pile in the next 10 years, according to its head of generation, Matshela Koko.

The source and scale of funding for the nuclear energy programme has been a point of contention, both in the government and with the public since, it was put on the table by President Jacob Zuma two years ago.

Writing for Business Day on Friday, Koko says the improvement in Eskom’s finances — including improved access to finance, improved revenue from a better operating plant and the completion of the build programme — will allow it to build substantial reserves.

Business Day, 23 September 2016

Parliament goes toe-to-toe with Tina Joemat-Pettersson on nuclear documents

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s repeated refusal to supply information on Parliament’s nuclear procurement process is to be challenged by Parliament’s energy affairs portfolio committee, which decided yesterday to submit a request to her for the documents.

The decision follows the legal advice the DA sought from Parliament’s legal advisers, who advised that the minister had no right to refuse to supply documents if so requested by a chairperson of a portfolio committee.

It was up to the chairperson to decide what was classified and to restrict access to documents on this basis.

The legal opinion stated that a parliamentary committee had the right to summon any document required for it to perform its functions.

Business Day, 20 September 2016

South Africa doesn’t need nuclear – it needs better energy management: expert

Energy expert Chris Yelland says that South Africa doesn’t have an energy crisis, it has a management crisis – as government’s multi-billion rand nuclear plans are outdated in an environment that has changed significantly since 2010.

Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson recently announced that request for proposals to build nuclear power plants to add 9600 MW to the national grid would move forward on 30 September 2016.

The nuclear build has been a major point of contention among stakeholders, with reports of underhanded dealings with Russia, and speculated costs of over ZAR1 trillion – a bill South Africa can simply not afford.

Business Tech, 16 September 2016

Where will SA put lethal nuclear waste?

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s announcement that the procurement of 9.6 GW of nuclear power will begin at the end of September demonstrates the government’s commitment to its nuclear plans despite opposition.

The opposition has almost exclusively focused on the potential financial costs of the procurement as they relate to the build of nuclear plants, and on the relative costs of electricity produced by nuclear power compared to other forms of generation.

Surprisingly little has been said about the substantial additional costs of managing the radioactive waste that will be produced by new nuclear plants.

Business Day, 20 September 2016

Public comment period for Eskom application for nuclear installation licences extended

Interested parties will from Monday be able to comment on Eskom’s application for nuclear installation site licences in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, the power utility announced on Monday.

Earlier this month, the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) approved the extension of the deadline for public comment on the application.

“The notice of the extension of the comment period was published in the National Gazette on Friday last week (16 September 2016) and in the Provincial Gazette today, 19 September,” Eskom said in a statement.

Business Day, 19 September 2016

Molefe: No nuclear by 2035 could mean another power crunch

If South Africa doesn’t have additional nuclear power by 2035, the country will be in the same position as in 2008 when there was a serious shortage of power supply, Eskom CEO Brian Molefe said on Wednesday.

Molefe was part of an Eskom delegation who briefed Parliament on the power utility’s tariff increase for 2016/17 and its amended pricing structure for municipalities.

He was responding to a question from an MP, who asked him to elaborate on the cost slippage and delays of Eskom’s build programmes.

Engineering News, 21 September 2016

No need for Treasury to finance nuclear – Molefe

“A nuclear build programme for South Africa doesn’t need to be funded by the fiscus. There are enough potential financiers who would be willing to take the risk,” said Brian Molefe, Eskom CEO on Wednesday.

Speaking to Fin24 on the sidelines of a parliamentary meeting, Molefe said he doesn’t believe a nuclear build programme would put a significant burden on the fiscus. Molefe said he had not asked National Treasury to consider making provision for any nuclear costs for the medium term.

“It’s possible for nuclear to finance itself. Asking the fiscus for money is going overboard. We should be able to arrange some kind of funding for nuclear energy.”

According to Molefe, a nuclear plant has a life of 80 years – “even if it costs ZAR1 trillion it will have the capability to repay the cost in 15 to 20 years. So you can take the revenues generated from nuclear, ring-fence it and use it for future nuclear activities”.

Engineering News, 21 September 2016

Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm in full swing

Last week, the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape commenced commercial operation, feeding clean power into the national electricity grid.

The wind farm, which comprises of 31 turbines and has a 95 MW generation capacity, will not only contribute towards strengthening the grid, but towards uplifting the surrounding community as well.

According to The Herald, it was agreed that 2.1% of revenue will be earmarked towards socio-economic development and rental of the land where the turbines are sited.

ESI Africa, 19 September 2016