Eskom’s financial crisis and the viability of coal-fired power in South Africa

Meridian Economics published a report recently on Eskom’s financial crisis and the decreasing demand for electricity while its costs continue to rise dramatically, driven primarily by its new-build programme. This is the executive summary of the report. The South African power system has reached a crossroads. Eskom, the national power utility, is experiencing an unprecedented period […]

New dams in Africa could add risk to power supplies down the line

In the 1980s and 1990s parts of Africa saw a surge in dam building for energy production. After a brief hiatus there has been renewed interested. Many new construction projects are planned and underway across sub-Saharan Africa. Hydropower represents a significant and rapidly expanding proportion of electricity production in eastern and southern Africa. Around 90% […]

Understanding natural gas and LNG options in Africa

The US Department of Energy recently published a handbook authored by a number of African contributors amongst others, which focuses on the benefits African countries can derive from the development of liquid natural gas (LNG) resources on the continent. LNG exports are poised to be an important catalyst for economic growth in African countries. Natural gas and […]

Can Eskom avoid a financial death spiral?

The challenges Eskom is facing around governance, corruption and state capture are common cause, but it is unfortunately crowding out an even more serious structural problem, which speaks to the very viability of Eskom as a utility company. Cleaning up the company, improving efficiencies and restoring it to its former glory as an efficient operator […]

Irrational IRP madness grips the energy sector in South Africa

At a media briefing on 7 December 2017 during the so-called “Energy Indaba”, energy minister David Mahlobo announced that the long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan for electricity, IRP 2017, had been finalised and approved by the cabinet the night before. President Jacob Zuma and Energy Minister David Mahlobo IRP 2017 sets the course for the technology […]

Koko’s disciplinary hearing at Eskom heads south…

The fifth day of the disciplinary hearing of suspended acting Eskom Group CEO and head of generation, Matshela Koko, got off to a very slow start on a wet, cold Saturday morning on 25 November 2017. The day commenced with a continuation of the inconclusive evidence of Alison Seckle, Eskom’s manager of governance and acting […]

Eskom inquiry: So what?

The Eskom inquiry has finally put into practice the theory that Parliament’s role is to hold the executive to account. It was a Sunday in 2014 when the Majuba power station’s coal silo collapsed and Eskom was forced to implement its harsh load shedding policy once again. Everyone remembers that day. For a group of friends […]

Moving towards the giant battery

When Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb, he never could have foreseen the industry of today – a global connection of wires that brings individual homes and businesses light and electricity. His simple creation paved the way for an industry that our society depends on daily. However, the power industry cannot progress if it […]

The renewable energy, new coal and gas-to-power IPP programmes in SA – quo vadis?

South Africa’s energy sector is at the cross roads in an uncertain and incoherent policy environment caused by the self-induced chaos of the Zuma administration, with three ministers of energy in 2017 alone, and further political change likely after the ANC’s elective conference in mid-December 2017. According to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, failures of governance, […]