Weekly projects and energy updates in South Africa

Room for renewables and nuclear in energy mix – researcher

Renewable energy falls short of being a base load power source in South Africa, suggests a researcher.

Ben Heard, director of Bright New World organisation and PhD Candidate at the University of Adelaide, has conducted research to dispute the claims by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) that renewables have the capacity for a 70% share of South Africa’s energy sector.

The research conducted by CSIR analysts, Jarrad Wright, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, Joanne Calitz and Crescent Mushwana, showed that renewables would be the least cost option for South Africa.

News24, 12 March 2017

Economic development a competitive advantage for renewables bidders – Juwi

Since renewable-energy feed-in tariffs have decreased over the last few years – 35% and 78% for wind and solar respectively since 2008 – project owners are paying more attention to the competitive advantage they gain by focusing on economic development (ED) targets, such as increasing the number of local people employed, says juwi Renewable Energies’ Greg Austin.

Primary ED improvement efforts revolve around local content and job creation which, combined, account for 50% of the ED score. In respect of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which sees chosen projects feed electricity into the national grid, projects have been awarded 70% on tariff and 30% on ED.

Engineering News, 10 March 2017

Eskom commissions second 500 MVA transformer at the Ngwedi substation

On Thursday, Eskom announced that it has energised and commissioned the second 500 MVA power transformer at the newly built Ngwedi substation, bringing the total capacity to 1000 MVA.

This will provide improved flexibility and reliability of the network in South Africa’s platinum belt – the greater Rustenburg area, the utility highlighted in a statement.

This second transformer marks a significant step towards the completion of the Medupi Power Station Integration Project.

ESI Africa, 10 March 2017

Energy policies undermine Eskom’s viability, says Lynne Brown

Government policies in the energy and transport sectors are undermining the financial viability of Eskom and Transnet, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said on Wednesday.

However, despite the pressures, Eskom was projected to post a profit for the financial year to end-March 2017. The utility made a net profit of ZAR4.6 billion in the 2015-16 financial year, Brown said in a briefing to Parliament’s public enterprises committee.

She said the policy of independent power producers of renewable energy had a potentially adverse effect on Eskom’s balance sheet especially in the current context of an electricity surplus. Eskom has excess capacity of 4000 MW at present

Business Day, 8 March 2017

Shutting of power stations is “hostile act” by Eskom, Cosatu says

An Eskom board decision to shut down five power stations — Hendrina‚ Kriel‚ Komati‚ Grootvlei and Camden — has outraged Cosatu.

"[This] is not just an arrogant decision‚ but a hostile act of provocation directed at workers and their unions‚" the union federation’s national spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, said on Tuesday.

Pamla said Cosatu would seek a meeting with Eskom and the government to discuss the "unacceptable decision".

Business Day, 7 March 2017