SA’s green energy plans point way for Africa

SA’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is among the top 10 privately funded renewable energy programmes in the world. And, according to Professor Anton Eberhard, chairman of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s energy advisory panel and director of the management programme on infrastructure reform and regulation at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, its potential for roll-out to the rest of Africa is vast.

A key lesson to be shared from the success of the REIPPPP, he says, is that there are significant benefits to be gained from a well-designed and transparent procurement process as private sponsors and financiers are willing to invest in renewable energy if the procurement process is well designed and transparent, transactions have reasonable levels of profitability, and key risks are mitigated by government. A further lesson is that competition drives down prices.

The perfect storm of energy supply and demand must be weathered with cost-effective renewable power options and enabling frameworks to attract investments, Eberhard says. Only then will Africa’s vast renewable energy resources have the power to dramatically accelerate economic growth, job creation, energy security and the increasing generation of clean electricity on the continent, he says.

Business Day, 21 July 2015

SADC hopes to open renewable energy centre this year
The establishment of a renewable energy efficiency centre was one of the main talking points at the 34th meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers in Sandton this week. On Tuesday, Department of Energy acting director-general Wolsey Barnard said the organisation was looking to establish the centre by the end of this year.

Although Mr Barnard could not speak about the budget for the centre, he said those details would be known after the winning bidder for the development of the centre was announced. The winning bidder would then host the centre in eight countries. The centre would work on research and policy development for the region’s energy needs. "Renewable energy is the golden key for Africa," said Mr Barnard, adding that they would also discuss the access to energy backlog in the region.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) launched a similar centre in 2010. Apart from the centre, other issues up for discussion include renewable energy tariffs and load shedding.

Business Day, 21 July 2015

Energy committee quizzes regulators
Parliament's portfolio committee on energy on Tuesday visited the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) in Pretoria to understand the processes used by the regulator to decide on electricity tariffs, including its rejection of Eskom’s latest application for a tariff hike.

The committee is visiting Gauteng energy institutions and facilities this week as part of its oversight responsibilities. Later in the week committee members are due to have a joint briefing with the portfolio committee on public enterprises at Eskom’s Megawatt Park head office. "The two committees will engage with the power utility on its plan of action, including dealing with maintenance backlogs, to manage and eventually reduce the amount of load shedding the economy is experiencing," said a statement by the energy committee.

On Wednesday the committee will visit the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation plant to discuss SA’s nuclear build programme.

Business Day, 22 July 2015

SA nuclear corporation tells MPs it is ready for nuclear new build programme
The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy on Wednesday that it is ready for South Africa’s proposed programme to build a number of new nuclear power plants (NPPs). 

Necsa CEO Phumzile Tshelane assured the visitors that his organisation would support the development of a local nuclear industry through the planned localisation programme that will be part of the new NPP project. Furthermore, in answer to a question, he gave the assurance that estimates that the new NPP programme would cost ZAR1 trillion were, in Necsa’s words, “unrealistic in global comparison”.

The corporation can undertake nuclear standard manufacturing and has already exported nuclear reaction chambers to Russia. Other international customers for Necsa-manufactured components are Alstom and Areva in France. It has also produced parts for Eskom’s new coal-fired Medupi and Kusile power plants. The corporation also operates a Learning Academy where it trains engineers, artisans and other skilled technical workers. Necsa has also carried out feasibility studies regarding the manufacture and supply of nuclear fuel for the proposed new NPPs. 

Engineering News, 22 July 2015