Energize Inbox, August 2016

August 11th, 2016, Published in Articles: Energize

Our winning letter

re: Renewable energy is an uneconomical source of energy


I think the CEO of Eskom has accurately described the renewable situation. Certain renewables, primarily wind and solar  are in reality uneconomic as major baseload power suitable for industry and the all-important manufacturing and mining industries. In essence they are a failed technology, at this stage of their technological development for base load power, that is why Germany has capped them and stopped subsidies.  As a result of their excessive use Germany  together with Denmark have extremely high electricity prices.

Currently there are plans by the CSIR for massive wind generation in South Africa. This could well ruin South Africa economically for a generation. All these plans effectively amount to subsidies of these renewables. Paid for by a long suffering public. Wind supported by combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) is not an answer at all. A mix of energy sources namely CCGT plus cleaner coal plus small nuclear plus Solar PV is the only economic way forward. It is what the South East Asian countries are doing. Our energy policy is poised to head in the wrong economic direction which will ruin South Africa economically politically and socially for a generation if either major nuclear or major renewables is selected. Incidentally Eskom must be split into two or three units market operator come transmission and generating operations. They should all be public private partnerships.

Rob Jeffrey

re: Massive cost and time overruns at Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power stations


Chris Yelland deserves huge credit for consistent and accurate reporting on Eskom’s enormous cost and time overruns on Medupi and Kusile (“Massive cost and time overruns at Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power stations”, Energize, July 2016). In the face of severe intimidation by Eskom’s CEO followed by a weak, apparently forced “apology”, Chris Yelland consistently states the facts. It might be useful (if at all possible) to check Eskom’s accounting of interest during construction (IDC), taking into account the relevant interest rates and periods. One wonders if these have been thoroughly checked and certified by the Auditor-General.

Ben Franklin

re: Massive cost and time overruns at Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power stations


The mines which were contracted to supply coal to these two power stations would have had to invest extensively in infrastructures to mine and convey the amounts of coal needed by the times they were required to the agreed points of hand over to the Medupi and Kusile coal handling plants. What penalties have been imposed by the mines on Eskom for its failure to accept the contracted amounts of coal at the originally contracted times? Have these loss-of-investment-return costs been included in the vastly extended costs to completion?

John Whybrow

re: Can we afford carbon free power stations


Mike Rycroft’s article “Can we afford carbon free power stations” (Energize, June 2016) indicates a renewable energy cost of R32 000 per kW for all REIPPPP projects. However this cost would include rounds 1 and 2 of the REIPPPP projects which were much more expensive due to breaking into the market. The article aims to compare the cost of building nuclear plants vs renewable energy plants, so it should actually compare the cost of newly built plants at today’s rate. If we were going to build new renewable plants the cost would be closer to Round 4 pricing. It would be interesting to compare the cost of nuclear vs renewable energy in this way. I think that the renewable energy cost would dip below the nuclear cost if evaluated in this way.

Anveer Chanderman

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