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Recent developments have shown that it is possible to generate sufficient energy from organic material contained in a variety of wastewater streams to provide a significant portion of the energy required to run the plant. It is however, an energy intensive operation… (more)


In the modern world nothing happens without electricity, and yet in our land it is often referred to in disparaging terms by the general public, by our customers and by the media… (more)

by Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

On 23 August 2011, EE Publishers hosted an open panel discussion and debate in Midrand, entitled “Renewable Energy in South Africa – going backwards or forwards?” At the debate, key players in the renewable energy (RE) sector of South Africa covered the background on where the country finds itself now, as well as the road ahead in the implementation of the ambitious renewable energy targets detailed in the national integrated resource plan for electricity, IRP 2010 – 2030. This will involve the installation of some 9200 MW of wind generation capacity, 8400 MW of solar photo-voltaic (PV) capacity, and 1200 MW of concentrating solar plant (CSP) capacity by 2030… (more)

by Mark Botha and Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

The debate around hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo is an issue of national and public interest. Shale gas extraction has the potential, some say, to change the face of the country’s power industry and improve the lives of millions of South Africans. Public opinion, however, is a powerful force well-known to have hampered the nuclear industry in the past… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers
Within a few weeks, Judge Kgomo of the South Gauteng High Court will rule on whether Eskom must hand over certain documents requested by Media 24 in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act that would reveal details of secret pricing deals with BHP Billiton that have long been held to be confidential. However the matter may not end here, but could be heading for the Constitutional Court… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

Phindile Nzimande, former CEO of EDI Holdings (Pty) Ltd, has been appointed CEO of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) with effect from 1 May 2011. This follows a decision by the cabinet announced in December 2010 to disband EDI Holdings by 1 April 2011… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

At long last, the cabinet has approved and published the national Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, IRP 2010. Now this just has to be passed by parliament and published in the Government Gazette. Let’s hope there will not be further delays, and that a measure of certainty will prevail so that the electricity sector can get down to work. But what is IRP 2010? Why is it important? And what exactly does it say?… (more)

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

Get The Daily EE News free – a round-up of local and international news and information in the energy, power, electricity, electronics, measurement, automation, computer, telecomms and geographic information science sectors. The Daily EE News organises information and links shared by EE Publishers on Twitter into an easy-to-read newspaper-style format. Simply bookmark to view The Daily EE News at any time, or click the Subscribe button on The Daily EE News to receive a two-line plain-text email reminder and link when The Daily EE News is published each day at 12 noon. The Daily EE News is also archived daily, to enable you to view all back issues… (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 Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers,

Once again, public sector governance issues, and battles between the CEO, the board and the responsible minister have rocked South Africa. Eskom, SAA, Transnet, the SABC… and now, in the latest saga, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA). On 15 November 2010, Chairperson Cecilia Khuzwayo indicated that the regulator had suspended its CEO, Smunda Mokoena, for “alleged gross transgression of NERSA’s code of conduct”. Whilst official spokesman Charles Hlebela would not be drawn on the specifics, an article in The Times on 15 November went a step further, quoting a source alleging that that “quite recently he (the CEO) chaired a meeting completely drunk”, and that “he had a drinking problem that was getting out of hand”… (more)

Reliable sources have revealed that the cabinet has decided to withdraw a bill published on 17 June 2009 proposing an amendment to the constitution of South Africa in respect of the existing entrenched rights and obligations of local government entities (i.e. municipalities) to distribute electricity. This decision by the cabinet is said to be the precursor to the disbanding of EDI Holdings (Pty) Ltd by 1 April 2011. EDI Holdings is a state owned company that was established by government on 1 July 2003 to project-manage the restructuring of the EDI… (for more see

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers,

This article was first published on 12 November 2010 in Critical Thinking Forum, a supplement to the Mail & Guardian,

In a world of rising energy demand, natural gas as a low carbon energy solution is playing an increasingly important role in many countries. Natural gas is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels, but is in relatively scarce supply in South Africa. Given its environmental benefits and the need to diversify and secure energy supply, what is the role of natural gas in meeting electrical energy demand in South Africa, and what building blocks are needed today to establish a vibrant gas industry for South Africa in future?… (more)

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 Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

There has been some criticism of the lack transparency and inadequate time allowed for effective stakeholder engagement in the 20-year Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP 2) currently under development by the Department of Energy (DoE) in South Africa (Energize, May 2010 issue, page 15).

Many stakeholders and interested parties may wish to be involved but may not be aware of the stakeholder engagement process currently in progress, of the DoE website at where information and documentation on the process may be obtained, and of the tight time-lines involved… (more)

by Chris Yelland, EE Publishers
On 16 April 2010, Fin24 sent out a report that may have startled some, and sent shudders through ideological die-hards within the Tripartite Alliance.
The article was apparently based on discussions with Eskom’s new finance director, Paul O’Flaherty, and human resources director, Bhabhalazi Bulunga. It stated that “Eskom is planning a major restructuring, which could involve a partial privatisation and a major shake-up of its labour force”, and that “the company may be split up, and certain of its assets privatised, in a similar fashion to that of arms utility Denel”.
The very same day, this was promptly and vehemently denied in a press release from Eskom’s media desk, in which O’Flaherty is quoted as saying that “Eskom is looking at standardising and streamlining its systems and processes across the business. We have had no discussions about reducing our workforce and have not made any changes to our labour policies”. The press release stated categorically that Eskom has no plans of restructuring as outlined in the Fin24 article.
Two apparently contradictory reports? Let’s take a closer look at the three pillars of Eskom’s business – generation, transmission and distribution – to try and understand what’s actually going on here… (more)

by Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

After gazetting a flawed and widely criticised 3-year interim electricity integrated resource plan (IRP 1) on 31 December 2009, well after Eskom had submitted its initial (45% pa for 3 years) and revised (35% pa for 3 years) multi-year price applications to NERSA in the second half of 2009, the DoE is now franticly working on the long overdue real thing – a 20-year national integrated resource plan for electricity (IRP 2) as required in terms of the National Energy Act of 2008, the Electricity Regulation Act of 2006, and the Electrical Regulations on New Generation Capacity of 2009… (more)

by Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

It’s official – we’ve got the loan. And from the limited information available at this time it appears that it is unconditional, this despite the lack of support from significant shareholders of the World Bank. It has been reported that the USA, UK, Italy, Norway and Netherlands abstained from voting on the loan application.

The award will come as a great relief to the government, the ANC, Eskom and those concerned about security of supply in South Africa through the construction of the 4800 MW Medupi coal-fired power station, scheduled to start coming on stream in 2012. The loan will ensure that there should be no delays to Medupi as a result of funding issues… (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)

by EE Publishers staff reporter

There’s been a lot of media coverage of the pending World Bank loan of US$3,75-billion for Eskom. According to analysts, it is unlikely that the loan will not be granted. But who is the World Bank, how does it make its decisions, and what are the stakes?

The current funding shortfall for Eskom’s new build programme (Medupi, Kusile and Ingula) will only partially be met by the World Bank loan, and one must not lose sight of what funding is still to be secured, namely: the $3,75-billion (R27-billion) World Bank loan itself; the R8,5-billion additional borrowings required as per MYPD2; the cash shortfalls of R14-billion and R7,9-billion as per MYPD2; a price increase of some R17-billion for Medupi in coming years; and R20- to R40-billion private equity funding for Kusile. This gives a total current funding shortfall of R94- to R114-billion!… (more)

The AMEU was recently approached for comment by the Treasury Department of a member municipality regarding some communication they had apparently received from NERSA. This followed some media reports (radio and internet, at least) on warrants being issued for the arrest of the municipal manager, the mayor and the financial head of Umsobomvu Municipality in Colesberg in the Northern Cape because they apparently ignored a court order prohibiting the practice of disconnecting consumers’ electricity because payments for other services were overdue… (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)

In view of Eskom’s current network expansion at 765 kV, it was necessary to address occupational exposure of substation workers to electric fields, particularly in 765 kV substations with busbar height of 12 m. This paper reports on the assessment of 50 Hz electric field levels that substation workers may be exposed to in 765 kV open air substation.It was found that at 12 m busbar height, at 800 kV line voltage, the maximum calculated electric field, 21,9 kV/m, exceeds the International Commission for Non-ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) reference level (20 kV/m) at two locations covering a small area… ( 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)

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 City Of Cape Town in the financial year 2006/2007 lost approximately R22-million of ratepayer’s money, due to non-ferrous thefts. This coupled to the promise that we will supply an uninterrupted service to our consumers, has forced the City to do something drastic to minimise the losses to the ratepayer. However, since the establishment of the “Copperheads”, we have only recorded losses of R500 000 for the financial year 2007/2008. How can we fulfill this promise, when there are people and organisations out there that are stealing and vandalizing our networks, equipment and the very services we work so hard to supply… (more)

There is an enormous dormant energy potential in the desert regions on our Earth’s solar belt, where the sun is available for power generation for over 4800 hours a year, equivalent to more than three times the total annual insolation in Germany. Within six  hours the desert regions receive more energy from the sun than mankind consumes within a year. An area measuring 300 x 300 km fitted with parabolic mirrors would be sufficient to meet the world’s entire power demand. The Desertec concept describes sustainable power supply for Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa based on renewable energy sources. The power is to be generated by solar thermal power plants primarily located in Northern Africa and by wind farms off the coast of Northern Africa and northern Europe… (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)

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)

Audio cast: Listen to Dr. Pat Naidoo on the dream of low-cost renewable energy for Africa (MP3 file)

Audio cast: Listen to Dr. Pat Naidoo on the harsh reality of global resource business and DRC politics (MP3 file)

Westcor CEO Dr. Pat Naidoo

Dr. Pat Naidoo

At an executive business briefing hosted by the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) on Friday 31 July 2009, Dr. Pat Naidoo, CEO of the Western Power Corridor Company (Westcor), provided a sad update on the dream of a pan-African project to harness the renewable hydro-electric energy resources of Central Africa for the benefit of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the wider African continent … (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)

Eskom Chairman Bobby Godsell was the guest speaker at EE Publishers’ Executive Business Briefing on 6 February 2009, where he presented on the energy crisis and the way forward for South Africa. Listen to an audio recording of his presentation here… (more)

Audio-cast: Bobby Godsell speaks out (2,8 MB MP3 file)

The reports about punitive electricity tariffs to regulate electricity consumption are a cause for serious concern. The answer to electricity supply failure lies in mobilizing the people with visionary leadership, and not in punitive tariffs… (more)

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