Eskom to name Arnot power station coal supplier "before end of quarter"

Eskom said on Friday that it would announce the winning bid to supply coal to its Arnot power station before the end of this quarter, after raising concerns over Exxaro’s performance and rising cost of coal.

Exxaro’s contract with Eskom to supply coal to the Arnot power station in Mpumalanga expired on 31 December.

Business Day, 11 January 2016

Sky-high solar balloons operating as energy storage

A team of Japanese and French researchers on solar photovoltaic, NextPV, based in Tokyo are currently working on a solar balloon concept that could be deployed as an energy storage system.

The energy storage system is planned to involve a combination of solar PV panels, hydrogen production and fuel cells, which are to be placed as solar balloons above the clouds enabling solar PV to continue generating power even  when it's cloudy, reports TreeHugger.

ESI-Africa, 11 January 2016

NERSA gears up for national hearings into Eskom’s ZAR22.8bn claw-back claim

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) will host public hearings between 18 January and 5 February on Eskom’s application to claw back ZAR22.8 billion through the Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) mechanism of the electricity tariff-setting methodology.

It is anticipated that stakeholders will appeal to NERSA to reject or restrict any additional tariff hikes over and above the 8% already sanctioned.

Engineering News, 11 January 2016

Energy supply stable despite early-year demand spike, says Eskom

State-owned Eskom says it continues to progress the maintenance of its power generating plants, despite national demand increasing by nearly 2000 MW on Monday as business activities resumed following the seasonal break.

"Power station units that had been taken offline for maintenance during the festive season to take advantage of the low demand of electricity are now being brought back to service to meet increasing demand of electricity," it said in a statement.

Engineering News, 12 January 2016

Nuclear no match for renewables

Renewables thrive on the fair and open competition that no new nuclear plant anywhere has survived. Nuclear costs are murky, rising, and augmented by the long-term burdens of decommissioning radioactive plants and storing their wastes for millennia.

Russia proposes to finance its nuclear build in SA from South African taxpayers, who would be locked into repaying Russia for decades through electricity-purchase contracts at inflated prices.

Not just Russian, but any nuclear power, is a bad idea for SA. It can’t compete with efficiency and renewables, by every relevant measure: cost, timeliness, financing, jobs, economic development, environmental and safety risk, independence, security, abundance of free domestic energy sources, and the social good of "energy democracy".

Business Day, 13 January 2016