Weekly projects and energy updates in South Africa

South Africa Energy Minister, axed

Many South African’s are stunned at the President’s bold reshuffle of Cabinet last night. Among the 20 position changes – some being axed and others shifted to different portfolios –  Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson got the boot.

The announcement identifies MP Mmamoloko Kubayi to replace Energy Minister Joemat-Pettersson.

Joemat-Pettersson has been active in her role for the past three years (May 2014-March 2017).

ESI Africa, 31 March 2017

Eskom Board acts against allegations

On Thursday, South African power utility Eskom announced that the Board resolved to undertake a forensic and legal investigation following the allegations against its interim group executive, with immediate effect.

The acting Group CE, Matshela Koko, has been in the spotlight this past week for his stepdaughter’s company netting ZAR1 billion (US$74.8 million) in Eskom-awarded contracts.

Eskom Chairman, Dr Ben Ngubane, said: “The allegations in the public domain have a corrosive impact on the social standing of Eskom, as a brand, as well as its entire leadership.

ESI Africa,31 March 2017

Biomass solution brings new energy to degraded land

A case study on renewable-energy development in conjunction with community upliftment has led to a proposal for biomass production and a 2 MW bioenergy power plant to be built in the Merafong local municipality, west of Johannesburg.

Mine rehabilitor and bioenergy/waste-to-energy power generation company Harambe Sustainable Ventures will develop the project.

Engineering News, 31 March 2017

Eskom to fast-track socioeconomic assessments for five coal stations facing closure

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has called on Eskom to urgently complete socioeconomic impact assessments for its coal-fired power stations in Mpumalanga, five of which having been earmarked for decommissioning over the coming five years, owing to flat demand and the introduction of new Eskom and independent power producer (IPP) capacity.

Speaking at the release of a socioeconomic impact assessment compiled by KPMG Services for the Koeberg power station, in the Western Cape, Brown said the studies were required to provide an empirical basis for deliberations on the future of the stations as South Africa transitioned towards a more diversified electricity mix. She also indicated that the outcome might influence deliberations on the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which should be updated in 2017.

Engineering News, 30 March 2017

Eskom considers nuclear power plants for Witbank

Eskom was considering building nuclear power plants in the Witbank area to use existing infrastructure as it phased out 34 000 MW of old coal-fired power over the next decades, the electricity utility’s chief nuclear officer, Dave Nicholls, said on Wednesday.

The Department of Energy has delegated the task of nuclear procurement to Eskom, which will be the owner and operator of the new nuclear power stations. Under the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010, South Africa plans to procure 9 600 MW of new nuclear power. Under the updated IRP 2016, under discussion, the plan is to add 20 385 MW of nuclear power by 2050, equivalent to about one-third of the total generation mix.

Nicholls told the Nuclear Africa conference in Centurion the first four units of the new nuclear build programme would be at Thyspunt. Another unit was likely to be placed at Duynefontein in the Western Cape where Koeberg power station is located. 

Business Day, 30 March 2017

NUM goes to war over proposed Eskom power station closures

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Wednesday said it was planning mass protest action over state-owned power utility Eskom’s decision to mothball five power stations in the next five years to make room for independent power producers (IPPs).

In an effort to “save” Eskom from bankruptcy and privatisation, as well as to prevent the loss of up to 50 000 direct and indirect jobs, the union said it would mobilise all its members across the mining, energy and construction sectors and society at large to protest against the signing of the inclusion of more IPPs into the national grid.

Engineering News, 29 March 2017

The above reflects a summary of certain news articles published during the preceding week. It is not an expression of opinion in respect of each matter, nor may it be considered as a disclosure of advice by any employee of Hogan Lovells.