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Delivering a key note address at the ICUE Conference in August 2013, SAIEE president Paul van Niekerk says the South African government has ambitious plans for massive infrastructure development. The president, in his State of the Nation address given in parliament on 9 February 2012, said that the government would launch a huge campaign of building infrastructure nationwide to boost the economy and create job opportunities. A strong focus on infrastructure development will consequently require an increase in energy availability… (more)


In 2013 the global energy and utility industry faces significant challenges from ongoing environmental sensitivity, changing policymaker attitudes and consumer expectations. The top ten technology trends affecting the markets include mobile and location-aware technology, cloud computing, big data and social media… (more)

“Is Chernobyl dead? Essays on energy – renewable and nuclear” by CM Meyer is a fascinating new book, breathtaking in its scope and gripping in its coverage. The 302-page book has 51 easy-to-read chapters (essays), each one essentially self-contained and extensively referenced, woven together to form the whole. There are also over 100 figures and pictures, many of them rare and retrieved from international archives, with significant historical interest… (more)

The wheels of the electrical power industry are starting to turn, albeit slowly and with much creaking and squealing. The DoE has finally taken the first steps to get the RE program off the ground, has also announced that the plans for future nuclear power plants will be finalised shortly, and is proceeding with the resurrection of Approach to Distribution Assett Management ADAM.  Lastly the Treasury has announced a program of tax benefits for companies who implement energy efficiency programs. All in all three strong drivers for the industry… (more)

Presentations have been made recently to the AMEU Education and Training Committee, as well as to a meeting of the AMEU Highveld Branch, on a National Treasury Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) division initiative to “professionalise and strengthen local government to ensure sustainability and delivery of infrastructure”… (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

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

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

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)

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)

All energy sources have a footprint of some type. The current focus is on carbon footprints, but the introduction of non-carbon based sources of energy is leading to a consideration of footprints based on a wider range of characteristics. We are all familiar with the term carbon footprint, which is used widely today, but is actually a bit of a misnomer as the focus is on carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources, and it should be called the fossil fuel footprint… (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)

Lower CO2 emissions demand more renewable energy in the energy system. This calls for new solutions that take account of the considerable variations in the amount of wind energy, hydropower, solar energy etc. One of the solutions is to store surplus energy locally using solid oxide electrolytic cells (SOEC)… (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)

Where are biofuels going? Will European and American politicians now hesitate to turn more food into fuel, as food shortages in the third world create continued headlines? Is Chris Skrebowski, the internationally known editor of “Petroleum Review” correct when he says that the expansion of biofuels’ supply will be much smaller than recently believed? Or are the millions of new motorists that are expected in rapidly developing countries such as India, China, Russia and elsewhere going to decide the issue, by creating a huge new demand for fuels: just as oil supplies around the world are becoming scarcer and more expensive to exploit… (more)

South Africa averages at least one arc flash incident with lost time injuries per month and at least one fatality every two months.  This statistic is based only on cases reported in the Highveld media and is not necessarily representative of the actual number of incidents which is believed to be greater. Standards South Africa is publishing the first standard which is dedicated to electrical arc flash safety and will soon follow with standards which aim to reduce the number of arc flash incidents and the effects of such incidents in the workplace… ( 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)

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)

Doug_KuniIf there are not sufficient megawatts under construction, the problem will not go away – irrespective of how much we talk. We can mitigate the extent to which we feel the pain, by means of the PCP (Power Conservation Program, where large users must cut 10% or face penalties), and energy efficiency measures such solar heaters, light bulbs etc. But that will not make the problem go away. And economic growth will be proportional to the new megawatts coming on stream. So why aren’t there sufficient megawatts under construction?… (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)

Responsible users of energy can now save significantly through further tax incentives on certified energy efficiency projects; a measure introduced by Mr Trevor Manual in his 2009 Budget in Parliament…(more)

From the presentations and discussions at the SANEA “Action for Energy”, it was clear that very serious energy problems do exist in South Africa, and that greater efforts are required address and coordinate the currently inadequate research, policy, regulation, planning, funding, implementation and communication issues that are bedevilling the energy sector. These issues cut across all primary energy sources, including coal, oil and liquid fuels, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, solar and biomass… (more)

Audiocast: Keynote presenter, Dr. Benny Mokaba, executive director responsible for Sasol’s SA energy cluster, speaks out on energy policy, regulation, investment and sustainability in South Africa (MP3 file)

In the excitement surrounding the announcement of REFIT tariffs, the introduction of a “non-renewable energy” tax from July 2009 has been overlooked. This will result in collection of an enormous amount of money, but little thought has been given to how and where this will be used… (more)

The final determination of the renewable energy feed-in tariffs (REFIT) was announced on Tuesday 31 March 2009 at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) offices in Pretoria. NERSA electricity regulator, Thembani Bukula, delivered this long awaited ruling, which was originally scheduled for 9 March 2009, but was postponed to allow due consideration of the numerous submissions received in response to the consultation document issued by NERSA in December 2008 and the subsequent public hearings in February 2009… (more)

Audiocast: Ruling by NERSA electricity regulator Thembani Bukula (MP3 file)
Audiocast: Interview with Thembani Bukula by the editor of Energize (MP3 file)

The eThekwini Municipality has unveiled an “energy office” to increase awareness around saving electricity and promoting energy efficiency. The office will establish the municipality as a leading local authority in promoting and implementing energy management to achieve a sustainable energy future for businesses and residents of eThekwini… ( more)

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