Independent power for grid possible by year-end

Business Day Live 29 May 2013.

ESKOM could see the first power from the inaugural round of the independent power producer procurement programme by year-end.

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters on Tuesday launched the R240m RustMo 1 Solar Farm developed by black-owned energy group Momentous Energy.

The group is one of 18 preferred bidders in the first window of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. The bidders will generate 631MW of electricity from solar parks ranging in capacity from 5MW to 64MW…


Hints of more support as Eskom mulls ways to plug R225bn hole

Terence Creamer | 24 May 2013 | Engineering News

Eskom reaffirmed to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy on Friday that it would not, through efficiencies alone, be able to close the R225-billion financial gap arising from the lower-than-requested tariff determination for the coming five years.

Several other responses were, therefore, being pursued, including an initiative to identify whether additional support might be required from the utility’s shareholder, the South African government.

On February 28, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) granted Eskom yearly increases of 8% for the period from 2013/14 to 2017/18, instead of the 16% it had requested. This translated into allowable revenue for the period of R862-billion, rather than the nearly R1.1-trillion sought. Continue reading

Eskom wind farm gets green light

SAPA | 20 May 2013 | Times LIVE

The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) has granted Eskom a licence for its Sere wind farm in the Western Cape, the power parastatal said.

"This is an exciting milestone in Eskom’s move towards a cleaner energy mix," Eskom CEO Brian Dames said in a statement.

"Sere is our first, large-scale, renewable energy project. It demonstrates our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and to investing in a sustainable energy future."

The licence would allow Eskom to start construction of the R2.4 billion project which was expected to deliver its first power to the national grid in the first half of 2014, with full commercial operation by the end of 2014. Continue reading

Siemens to supply wind turbines to Sere farm

Reuters | 17 May 2013 | Mail & Guardian Online

Situated about 16km north of Cape Town, Sere is a flagship project for Eskom – which is weaning itself from an over-reliance on coal to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Installation of the wind turbines, each reaching a height of 115m, is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2013 and start operating in the first half of 2014.

"We are proud that Eskom chose to partner with Siemens in their first ever utility-size wind project," Tom Pedersen, director of Siemens Wind Power Division for Africa and the Middle East, said in a statement.

Pedersen did not provide a value for the contract. Eskom said previously that $260-million of a $3.75-billion World Bank loan would go towards building Sere and a separate 100MW concentrated solar power plant.


Eskom reviewing tariff decision – Gigaba

Sapa | 8th May 2013 | Engineering News

Eskom is reviewing the implications of Nersa’s decision to grant it a lower than requested electricity tariff hike, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Wednesday.

"We are studying it in detail, because we need to understand what will happen to Eskom’s operations through the build programme over the next five years," he said at a Cape Town Press Club breakfast.

Eskom welcomed the National Energy Regulator of SA’s ruling, because this was to the benefit of consumers, but it presented problems Eskom would need to deal with.

Eskom had applied for a 16 percent increase in electricity prices in each of the next five years. This would have more than doubled the current price, taking it from 61 cents per kWh in 2012/13, to 128 cents per kWh in 2017/18. Continue reading

NEWS ANALYSIS: Cut down usage or face load shedding this winter, consumers warned

Carol Paton | 23 April 2013 | BDLive

SWITCH off your geyser between 5pm and 9pm, or face load shedding this winter, was the essence of the message conveyed by Eskom CEO Brian Dames and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba at their briefing on the state of the system on Monday.

While this was the message, the words “there will be load shedding” were carefully avoided by both gentlemen.

Mr Dames, after being questioned, eventually said that only if faced with a blackout — that is, an unplanned catastrophic collapse of the system — would he “drop the load.” Mr Gigaba refused to say the words: “We will not say there will be load shedding, because you want us to say it.” However, he said that unless there was drastic behaviour change from consumers, Eskom would be unable to keep the lights on and certainly could not do the job alone. Continue reading

Eskom urges South Africans to ‘beat the peak’ going into winter

MEDIA STATEMENT – Eskom urges South Africans to ‘beat the peak’ going into winter

Monday, 22 April 2013: Eskom has today provided an update on the outlook for the power system as we go into winter 2013, urging all South Africans to partner to keep the lights on in a challenging year.

In previous years Eskom has generally reduced planned maintenance to the minimum during the winter months, so as to ensure it has maximum capacity available to meet higher demand for electricity.

However, higher levels of planned maintenance are urgently required in order to ensure that our ageing [sic] fleet of power stations can perform more reliably, on a sustained basis. This means that the power sys­tem will be very tight over the next few months, particularly during the evening peak from 5pm to 9pm.

“This winter is different,” said Eskom Chief Executive Brian Dames. “We cannot and will not defer es­sential maintenance work. We are taking action to ensure that our power stations can improve and sus­tain their performance, so that they can meet South Africa’s long-term need for a secure supply of elec­tricity.” Continue reading