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There is a move towards introducing renewable energy (RE) sources into the South African energy mix. At present developers of RE generation projects do not have a clear idea of the available capacity for connection of projects to the transmission network. To address this situation a study was undertaken to determine the available connection capacity for new generation at the different MTS substations. This article gives a brief summary of the results of the study… (move)


by Mike Rycroft, Mark Botha and Chris Yelland, EE Publishers
It is well known that the price of electricity in South Africa has been too low for years. The generation capacity crisis in 2008 prompted a review of Eskom’s build programme and associated funding plan. The original expectation was that there would be a short-duration adjustment to bring prices to the correct level, and thereafter electricity prices increases would follow inflation. But the adjustment did not develop in line with expectations, and price increases much higher than inflation are expected for many years to come… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

In recent months and at various venues Eskom has been lobbying and punting the view that a new dispensation and enabling environment is required for the utility to secure the cheap and abundant supplies of coal needed for its current and future fleet of coal-fired power stations. When pressed for details, Eskom officials become a little coy. But stripping aside the euphemisms, what Eskom is saying is that, in the light of higher global demand and world market prices for even the low-grade coal used in Eskom power stations, the utility is having difficulty matching these prices and contracting on a voluntary basis with the coal miners to secure its medium and long-term coal supplies… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

Chris Yelland speaking on Radio 702 on Friday 7 January 2011 with Stephen Grootes, discussing Eskom and the state of the electricity power system in South Africa.

Click here to listen to the discussion (MP3 audio file)

by Mike Rycroft, editor of Energize

This article was first published in Critical Thinking Forum, a supplement to the Mail & Guardian,

Three announcements in the last few weeks have created new hope that the long-awaited renewable energy (RE) programme will get underway, namely: the request-for-information on renewable energy projects from the Department of Energy (DoE); the announcement by the minister of energy of the establishment of a solar park in the Upington area; and the release of the draft integrated resource plan for electricity (IRP2010) for public comment… (more)

by EE Publishers staff reporter
Various media have already reported Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll as saying that Anglo would consider investing in a power station if necessary. Fin24 has reported sighting documents showing that Anglo is being considered as an investor in Kusile, the R142-billion coal-fired power station being built near Delmas, in which Eskom is seeking a 30% to 49% private equity partner, although this has since been denied. Now the Anglo website has officially announced its study for the construction of a new coal-fired power station using circulating fluidised-bed combustion technology. What will be next?… (more)

There has been renewed speculation about future power stations in South Africa since December 2008, when Eskom, after receiving tenders from two vendors for new nuclear power stations, decided not to place an order. South Africa has a critical shortage of generation capacity. In a healthy electricity grid the reserve margin should be about 15%. The reserve margin quoted by Eskom is 8%, but in practice it could be as low as zero… ( more)

Safe and reliable supply of electric power is aprerequisite for continuation and growth of prosperity in any country. As shown in the past there are circumstances which require a substantial adaptation of the power systems to new conditions. For example, changes in the political conditions in Europe at the end of the 1980s have resulted in a massive restructuring of the power systems in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition, the liberalization of the power industry, which started globally in the nineties of the last century, caused substantial changes to the power systems because of new reference conditions, in particular by intensifying electric power trading… (more)

A solution to improve wind power reliability is interconnected wind power.  In other words, by linking multiple wind farms together it is possible to improve substantially the overall performance of the interconnected system (i.e. array) when compared to that of any individual wind farm. The idea is that, while wind speed could be calm at a given location, it will be noncalm somewhere else in the aggregate array… (more)

Over the last 10 years the electricity reserve margin in South Africa, has been steadily declining, due to increasing demand for power and limited new generation capacity being commissioned. In 2006, regional load shedding was required due to network inadequacies and insufficient regional generation resources. In early 2007, the first incident of national load shedding occurred due to the inability to supply demand with the operational generation capacity… (more)

Dr.Willie-de-BeerADAM , the Approach to Distribution Asset  Management, aims to identify and develop strategies to address maintenance, refurbishment and funding gaps, and also provides EDI Holdings with a plan that covers every aspect of distribution asset management.
Mike Rycroft, editor of Energize, interviews Dr. Willie de Beer, CEO of EDI Holdings on the status of ADAM… (more)

The expressive eyebrows that underline the towering forehead are a bit more unruly but as impressive as ever, questioning, prodding and encouraging. His ever-present hands with their long, fingers, now gnarled as if to emphasise each point, gesture as he expounds on his thoughts and ideas in all-encompassing arcs. There is nothing small about him. His blue eyes pierce directly into the soul of his interlocutors and his soft, almost drawling voice, persuasive and convincing as ever, belies the steely resolve of his Scottish ancestry. Ian Campbell McRae is eighty now, but the former Eskom Chief Executive has lost none of the determination that saw him build the company into a world class utility, bring electricity to all South Africans and lay the foundations for a Southern African Grid… (more)

Erica-JohnsonErica Johnson, Eskom’s chief officer, Customer Network Business, gave the opening keynote address at the 6th CIGRE; Southern African Regional Conference, held in Somerset West from 17 – 21 August 2009. A shortened version of her challenging keynote address follows … (more)

An interview with Doug Kuni, managing director of the South African Independent Power Producers Association (SAIPPA)

by Chris Yelland, managing director of EE Publishers

In this interview, Chris Yelland, managing director of EE Publishers, questions Doug Kuni, formerly from Eskom Generation, now a private consultant and managing director of the newly formed South African Independent Power Producers Association (SAIPPA), on the issues surrounding Eskom and IPPs in South Africa.

Audio-cast: Listen to the full interview with Doug Kuni (MP3 file)

Read the full interview and get the answers to the questions:

  1. Mr. Kuni, to what extent do you believe that South Africa needs IPPs and industrial co-generation as part of the solution to South Africa’s generation capacity crisis, and what advantages do IPPs bring?
  2. There has been talk of getting IPPs into the generation mix in South Africa for over ten years, but we still see few signs of progress. What is really going on, and what is it that is holding South Africa back?
  3. Do you believe that Eskom can be an honest broker as a generation project specifier, evaluator, adjudicator, power purchaser and competitor of IPPs, or is the conflict of interest a big problem?
  4. To what extent do you believe Eskom is hostile to IPPs and tries to keep them out?
  5. Please can you respond to statements often made to justify Eskom’s new build programme, namely that IPPs had not come to the table because they could not compete with Eskom’s very efficient and superior generation operation, and that this was therefore some kind of market failure?
  6. Please can you respond to statements often made by Eskom that it generates electricity at about half the price offered by IPPs, and that the country should therefore be wary of the IPP option?
  7. Eskom has commissioned some 2000 MW of OCGT (open cycle gas turbine) generation in the Cape. Since the operating costs are very high, has this helped or hindered the situation in South Africa, and should this have been left to IPPs?
  8. With the extremely high cost of operating the OCGTs, and the cost of Eskom’s new build programme spiralling upwards, how do IPPs feel about Eskom’s claims that they (IPPs) come at a high cost compared to Eskom?
  9. Is the current Eskom generation build programme (i.e. the return-to-service of mothballed power stations, OCGTs in the Western Cape, the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power stations , and the Ingula and Tubatse pumped storage schemes) South Africa’s best and least-cost option for generation capacity to meet the demand forecast over the next 20 years and more?
  10. Is there adequate understanding within government, the DoE, DTI, DPE, Treasury, Regulator and Eskom of the electricity supply industry and its dynamics?
  11. In an environment of severe government and Eskom funding constraints, to what extent can IPPs alleviate the burden being felt by Eskom, the Treasury and the country?
  12. What do you make of the government and Eskom’s funding of the development of the pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR), and should they be involved in this?
  13. Should Eskom involve itself in wind, concentrating solar, photo-voltaic solar, small hydro and other renewable energy projects, or should this be left to IPPs?

… (more)

It is an incontrovertible fact that ever since that marvellous invention of that genius Faraday and that somewhat strange man Tesla, and that loud Yankee from Menlo Park, electricity has been harnessed for the greater good of man – and dare I say it, womanhood. Economies rise and fall not so much by the rise and fall of empires any longer, but by the price of electricity; nowhere more so than in a country that thrives on mines and heavy industry, smelters and furnaces. It is therefore all the more disturbing – disappointing? – in any case, outrageous, the way the price of electricity in your beloved country has escalated of late… (more)

An interview with Brian Dames, COO of Eskom Generation, by EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland.

Audio-cast: Listen to the full interview with Brian Dames (MP3 file)

EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland questions Brian Dames, COO of Eskom Generation, on electricity generation policy in South Africa, with particular reference to Eskom’s generation capacity planning and mix in the years ahead.

Read the interview and get Brian Dames’views:

Audio-cast: Listen to the full interview with Brian Dames (MP3 file)

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