Weekly projects and energy updates in South Africa

Eskom’s chairman backs controversial chief financial officer 

On the same day that a leading advocate published a scathing report adding to the mountain of evidence against Eskom’s chief financial officer, the utility’s new chairman has expressed confidence in Anoj Singh.

In his major findings on Thursday, advocate Geoff Budlender said under Singh’s leadership, Eskom irregularly and illegally paid ZAR266 million to Trillian Capital, a company owned by Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa.

However, Eskom denied having paid Trillian or having had any contract with the consultancy. This came after Singh was shown to have travelled on holiday to Dubai, where he stayed at a hotel at the expense of companies owned by the Gupta family.

Asked if Eskom would investigate any of the allegations against Singh, the utility’s acting chairman, Zethembe Khoza, said the board had "deliberated on Mr Singh’s competence and capability and consequently expressed full confidence in his professional ability to provide Eskom with the financial stewardship it requires at this time".

Business Day, 3 July 2017

JSE lists clean energy group with a core focus on natural gas

The South African stock exchange, the JSE, has successfully listed its first black empowered clean energy group, AEP Energy Africa, as a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company).

The energy group will introduce investors to the full spectrum of clean energy, beyond renewables only, with liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the core of its future operations, the company said in a statement adding that this is a first for South Africa.

“Management raised ZAR52 million (US$3.9 million) in the pre-listing offer and secured significant irrevocable undertakings from investors including the Public Investment Corporation to subscribe for additional shares post listing,” the firm said in a statement.

ESI Africa, 3 July 2017

Court halts controversial Dongfang deal with Eskom

The Johannesburg High Court has interdicted a controversial ZAR4 billion tender awarded to Chinese firm Dongfang to supply Eskom with a new boiler at its Duvha power station in Mpumalanga.

Losing bidders General Electric and Murray & Roberts accused Eskom in court papers of rigging the tender to favour Dongfang.

Eskom awarded the contract to Dongfang just days after Gupta linked advisory firm Trillian gave the deal the thumbs up even though its offer was ZAR1 billion more expensive than rival bids.

The court granted an interdict on Friday pending the outcome of an application to have the tender set aside and evaluated again.

Business Day, 1 July 2017

Women in energy efficiency look to expand mentorship programme

Following the initial success of the Southern African Females in Energy Efficiency (SAFEE) mentorship programmes in the past year, SAFEE aims to establish the mentorship programme in other provinces, as well as host SAFEE chapters at various tertiary institutions in the country.

“We would like to take the mentorship programme national, and to a point where it becomes something that is all around the Southern African Development Community,” said SAFEE board member Lesego Gaegane.

She participated in SAFEE’s latest women student mentorship programme event, held at the Tshwane University of Technology campus, in Pretoria West, last month.

SAFEE, a division of the Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency (SAEE), focuses primarily on supporting and celebrating the role of women in the energy efficiency industry and comprises energy efficiency professionals working to reduce energy waste in business and in homes.

Business Day, 30 June 2017

Renewable energy key to manufacturing competitiveness

South Africa’s renewable energy sector, which has grown from a ZAR100 million market to a ZAR1 billion market over the past few years, is a good example of manufacturing competitiveness.

Addressing delegates at the yearly Manufacturing Indaba, in Kempton Park, sector development agency GreenCape CEO Mike Mulcahy noted that a lot of change in manufacturing was driven by a desire to see growth in the green economy.

Mulcahy pointed out that there was a massive opportunity for Cape Town and the Western Cape region to take a leading role in providing solutions to many of South Africa’s renewable energy challenges.

He pointed out that the development of a ZAR1 billion special economic zone, in Atlantis, a historically disadvantaged area in Cape Town, was significant for the manufacturing sector, especially in the renewables space.

Engineering News, 28 June 2017

Ekurhuleni to invest ZAR2.2bn in energy infrastructure

The city of Ekurhuleni has committed ZAR2.2 billion to invest in energy infrastructure over the next three years.

“Ekurhuleni is pursuing a renewable energy strategy that will generate 10 MW [sic] of energy by 2021 as part of its local strategy to ensure energy stability in the region, without completely relying on the national grid, Mayor Mzwandile Masina said at the yearly Manufacturing Indaba, in Kempton Park, on Wednesday.

The city also plans to lay new electricity cables, expand supply and build a small substation to help meet energy demand.

The infrastructure investment also includes a programme for electrification in informal settlements across Ekurhuleni, which will be completed by the end of this financial year and cover 16 000 households.

Engineering News, 28 June 2017