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?


South Africa: Nuclear Power’s Threat to Democracy

EarthLife Africa | 30 April 2013 | AllAfrica.com


Without much fanfare, the Department of Energy has propelled the country towards a democratic crisis. In a briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Energy (April 16, 2013), the Department of Energy stated that it would not be reviewing the country’s electricity plan (Integrated Resources Plan 2010) this year, and that the planned six new nuclear reactors were not up for review at any point in the future. The Department’s Director General, Nelisiwe Magubane, indicated that this was the view of Cabinet.

The possible purchase of 9600 MW of new nuclear power represents the most expensive procurement in the history of South Africa and will have long-term impact on the level of South Africa’s national debt.

The day after the Department’s briefing to Parliament, the National Planning Commission released a study, conducted by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre, into South Africa’s energy future. The headline messages from this study (Towards a New Energy Future, available at http://www.erc.uct.ac.za/) are that there is no need to invest in nuclear power for at least the next 15 to 25 years, that nuclear power is not cost-effective based on the latest cost data, and that South Africa can meet its commitments on carbon emissions without nuclear power. One of the reasons why nuclear is not required now is that the demand for electricity has grown slower than what the Department of Energy predicted back in 2010…

(The full NPC modelling report is also available here).


WWF South Africa Energy Planning Workshop, 20 March 2013, 08h30 – 16h30

WWF 12 March 2013.

WWF South Africa will table a draft proposition for renewable energy development in South Africa, at this workshop to inform and discuss stakeholder engagement with energy planning processes, including the second Integrated Energy Plan (IEP2) currently in progress, and revision of the electricity generation plan (IRP2010) in the second half of 2013, as well as climate change response policy implementation.

Relevant government officials have been invited to present progress and reflect on challenges; presenters will include the Electricity Governance Initiative (EGI); Million Climate Jobs Campaign and the NUMSA initiative for social ownership in the renewable energy sector.

This is a participatory event to encourage civil society actions to advance low-carbon and labour-intensive energy development options, including energy access initiatives. Support is available to cover travel costs of key stakeholder representatives: Motivation for payment of specified travel costs should be sent to Jessica@rsvpagency.co.za – a.s.a.p.; latest end 14 March.


Action in energy arena needed

Business Report, Liz McDaid, Robert Fischer, Yvette Abrahams 18 December 2012.

Once the brouhaha around who will lead the ANC for the next five years is out of the way, those at Mangaung this week have a bigger dilemma on their hands.

With rising unemployment, an ever widening gap between rich and poor, and mounting social unrest, the ANC is arguably in one of the toughest spots it has been in since coming to power. It has to act decisively to deliver on its promises of a better life for all or risk losing credibility.

One opportunity for decisive action lies in the energy sector, where many of these challenges converge. Key decisions here will have massive impacts on national debt, social equity and job creation in the years to come, to say nothing of environmental consequences.

Access to modern energy services is considered to be a key aspect for improved economic development and reducing inequality. The many economic and social benefits that accrue to humanity in general and the poor in particular, from access to electricity, for example, are covered by a vast body of respected research…

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Do we really need a nuclear fleet?

Business Report, Mike Kantey 25 November 2012.

(Editor’s note: An excellent article, don’t be put off because it was written by a known anti-nuclear activist!)

Despite protestations by thousands of South Africans, our ANC-led government seems determined to spend over R1 trillion on a nuclear fleet, including a uranium enrichment plant, a fuel assembly plant, a reprocessing plant and a high-level waste management facility.

How has this impossibly expensive project been motivated and by whom?

Before the Integrated Resource Plan (the IRP2010) was finally promulgated, Eskom’s position was presented at the public meetings which were held along the coast to review the first draft of the Environmental Impact Report for “Nuclear-1” in March-April 2010.

During these meetings, Eskom presented a “Project Motivation” at Slide 7 in their presentation as follows:

l Increasing demand for electricity (> 4 percent growth per annum).

l Projected requirement for more than 40 000MW of new electricity-generating capacity over the next 20 years.

l In SA only coal and nuclear power are solutions for base load generation.

This first notion of a “four percent per annum” growth in electricity demand was explained on September 25, 2007 at an “Energy Summit” to which only the select few were invited.

Eskom’s Kannan Lakmeeharan suggested at Slide 3 of his presentation that due to economic growth and the government’s policy, ‘Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa’ (AsgiSA), it calculated that the load will grow at an aggregated value of 4 percent per annum from the current load of 34 807MW in 2007 to 93 776GW in 2030…

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Eskom lowers full-year sales forecast as flows to industry taper

Engineering News 20 November 2012.

State-owned electricity utility Eskom reported sales of only 110 766 GWh in the six months to September 30, 2012, a decline of 2.9% when compared with the 114 043 GWh recorded during the same period in 2011.

The utility also lowered its full-year sales forecast to 219 342 GWh from 222 083 GWh, owing to the prevailing low-growth environment in South Africa. In the year to March 31, 2012, Eskom sold 224 785 GWh, which itself was only 0.2% higher than that recorded in the previous year…

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Eskom welcomes nuclear movement, but says guidance still needed

Engineering News 8 November 2012.

State-owned electricity utility Eskom has welcomed Cabinet’s decision to endorse it as the designated owner-operator of nuclear energy plants in South Africa in line with the Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008.

However, Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe says it is still awaiting a determination from Energy Minister Dipuo Peters with regard to nuclear, as well as guidance on the process that will be followed.

Cabinet received a briefing this week following the inaugural meeting of the National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordination Committee (NNEECC), which is chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. The NNEECC has been established to oversee any future nuclear procurement process, as well as any future build programme.

South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity proposes the development of 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity for introduction into the electricity system by 2030…

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