Can SA meet its new target for universal electricity access?

The initiative by government to electrify the households of previously disadvantaged South Africans is generally regarded as one of the significant achievements of the democratic era. However, it is also widely accepted that it cannot be ‘business as usual’ if the country is to achieve the goal of universal access to modern energy for all South Africans by 2025 – a target that will require a combination of grid and nongrid technologies to be met.

Eskom senior GM Andrew Etzinger says access to electricity remains an imperative for economic development, but adds that there are budgetary and human-resource constraints to electrifying “all South Africans at one go”. Read on Engineering News >>

Put our resources together and solve the electricity crisis

Cape Times Brenda Martin 9 July, 2013.

PEOPLE are not great at joining the dots between cause and effect, but there is fairly widespread agreement that planning ahead is wise. We plan ahead when we prepare supper, we plan for our children’s education and we buy insurance “just in case” something happens.

But what happens to our planning when uncertainty rules? When unforeseen financial pressures knock over our deck of planning cards – like sudden electricity price hikes or an overnight petrol increase, not to mention water scarcity, turbulence and uncertainty in general?

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Medupi start-up delayed to mid-2014

By: Terence Creamer | 8th July 2013 | Engineering News

State-owned power utility Eskom confirmed on Monday that it would not be in a position to meet the end of year deadline for the flow of first power from the Medupi power station.

CEO <strong>Brian Dames</strong> reported that, following an independent assessment and fresh delays to the control and instrumentation contract, a new, “realistic”, timeframe had been set for the second half of 2014.

The power station was meant to supply first power to the grid by December 2013, a deadline reaffirmed as non-negotiable earlier this year by Public Enterprises Minister <strong>Malusi Gigaba</strong>.

Dames also confirmed that the cost of the project had increased from R91.2-billion to R105-billion, excluding interest during construction. In 2008, when the main boiler, turbine and civil contracts had been placed, Medupi’s cost was estimated at R87-billion and was revised to R91.2-billion in June 2012.

SOURCE: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/medupi-start-up-delayed-to-mid-2014-costs-rise-to-r105bn-2013-07-08

Southern African Power Pool: Planning and Prospects for Renewable Energy

With the energy systems of many African countries dominated by fossil-fuel sources that are vulnerable to global price volatility, regional and intra-continental power systems with high shares of renewable energy can provide least-cost option to support continued economic growth and address the continent’s acute energy access problem. Unlocking Africa’s huge renewable energy potential could help to take many people out of poverty, while ensuring the uptake of sustainable technologies for the continent’s long-term development.

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Can Obama’s Africa power plan hold a candle to China?

Polity.org.za 2 July 2013.

US President Barack Obama’s $7-billion plan to shine “light where currently there’s darkness” in Africa by doubling access to power on the world’s poorest continent was billed as a highlight of his African tour.

He announced the Power Africa initiative in Cape Town on Sunday in a speech which he also urged the fast-growing but still troubled region to follow the shining example of South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela

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Opposition to fracking is not leftist or anti-development

Saliem Fakir BDLive 3 July 2013.

Cape Town in August 2011. Picture: THE TIMES

SIMON Lincoln Reader has become the latest proponent of fracking. In his column on BDlive, he rails against environmentalists, bunching them all as left-leaning. His generalisations are quite a stretch.

As much as Jonathan Deal, chairman of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group — whom Reader criticises in one of his columns — is a public spokesman for anti-fracking activists, he is not exactly what leftists would call left. He has no tradition in leftist politics and would say so himself, even if some the issues he takes up are of interest to the left…

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