How will SA’s new nuclear power stations be paid for?

  The South African government has committed itself, by means of its Nuclear Energy Policy and Integrated Resource Plan, to an energy mix consisting of coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, solar and wind. Yet, if the government is so determined to pursue nuclear power stations, why was no mention of the financing for this included in […]

2015: New era or dark future?

  Without getting into any arguments about how the start and finish of decades are calculated, I will state that we are now just past the halfway mark of the 2010s decade. 2015 seems to be a good target year for achieving goals by many programmes, in fact the whole decade seems to have been […]

Further delays in first synchronisation of Unit 6 at Medupi announced by Eskom

  At its interim financial results presentation for the period 1 April to 30 September 2014, which was held on 25 November 2014, Eskom announced further delays in first synchronisation of Unit 6 (the first generation unit to be synchronised to the grid) at Medupi power station. The project team at Eskom and the minister […]

Nuclear reactions

  The recent announcement of the signing of an agreement between the South African government and the Russian nuclear company Rosatom has created a flood of speculation and comment about the future of nuclear power generation in this country. The official announcement describes the deal as an “intergovernmental agreement on strategic partnership and cooperation in […]

Closing the gap: The lost 20%

  I have worked in the energy sector for many years and have found that this sector is as vulnerable to “fashionable trends” as any other. One may remember that acid rain was a driving force in the 1980s and had a great influence on decision makers in the electricity sector.  Today the focus is […]

Just what is “sustainable development”?

  If there is one thing on which everyone agrees, it is sustainable development.  Yes, we all want development, and yes, we are all as green as each other and want development to be “sustainable”. But when you scratch the surface, you soon discover people talking past each other.  How can chopping down trees, or […]

Owning our energy future

  At a recent conference in Cape Town I was asked to address the load shedding of 6 March this year and the dire consequences for the South African economy and investor confidence. My response was that there are two ways we can view the South African power sector. On the one hand you could […]

Priorities for our new minister of energy

  Tina Joemat-Pettersson faces a daunting task as South Africa’s new energy minister. She will be the seventh energy minister since the advent of democracy in 1994 (on average, ministers have occupied the position for less than three years). None have truly put their stamp on the sector and the challenges the new minister faces […]

Some perspectives on getting the electricity industry back in business

  While Eskom is struggling to keep the lights on and all electricity stakeholders are familiar with the challenges around coal supplies, schedule delays at Medupi and Kusile, and unprecedented levels of breakdowns on Eskom’s ageing fleet, there is a debate getting lost in the noise on where the industry is supposed to be heading. […]

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