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Transmission & Distribution News

Eskom challenges need to be addressed urgently, or South Africa will sink – Gigaba

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     18th January 2018 Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Thursday painted a grim picture of the financial challenges facing power utility Eskom, stating that the national fiscus would be unable to bail the State-owned enterprise (SOE) out in the event of a default. Speaking at a pre-World Economic Forum (WEF)... 

Editorial: Eskom requires surgery not a Band-Aid

By: Terence Creamer     18th January 2018 Eskom’s debt refinancing is undoubtedly a critical burning platform. The clock is most definitely ticking and the consequences of not closing the immediate financial chasm will be dire not only for the utility, but also for citizens. That said, government is extremely unlikely to allow Eskom to... 

Editorial: Eskom requires surgery not a Band-Aid

New ‘power-to-X’ prospects may arise as renewables costs continue to fall

By: Terence Creamer     15th January 2018 The outlook for solar and wind electricity costs to 2020 “presages historically low costs for new renewable electricity”, which could create new economic and industrial opportunities, a new International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) report argues. Released in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab... 

New ‘power-to-X’ prospects may arise as renewables costs continue to fall

Eskom's bonds face suspension from South Africa exchange

By: Reuters     15th January 2018 South Africa's stock exchange has not received Eskom's interim results on time and if they are not submitted by Jan. 31 trading of the power utility's debt may be suspended, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) said on Monday. Cash-strapped Eskom, the sole power supplier in Africa's most... 

Eskom's bonds face suspension from South Africa exchange

Aggreko 28 MW HFO plant comes online in Madagascar

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     12th January 2018 Electricity solutions provider Aggreko has started to supply stable power in Madagascar, using 28 MW of its heavy fuel oil- (HFO-) generated energy from its Noor 2 turbine, running alongside its joint venture partner Jovena’s Noor 1 turbines. This forms part of an extension to a 50 MW agreement... 

Calls made for far-reaching Eskom restructuring as sustainability risks mount

By: Terence Creamer     9th January 2018 Eskom’s current financial situation makes it difficult to see any other path to sustainability than that of drastic cost-cutting, restructuring and bringing private equity into the business, Energy Intensive Users Group of Southern Africa (EIUG) past chairperson Piet van Staden argues. In an... 

Calls made for far-reaching Eskom restructuring as sustainability risks mount

Canyon Coal connects local community to electricity grid

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     21st December 2017 Mid-tier coal mining and exploration group Canyon Coal, which has operations and projects in Mpumalanga and Gauteng, connected families who live next its Phalanndwa colliery in Delmas, to its electricity grid. Phalanndwa GM Alan Mabbett noted the company was “excited” to provide free electricity... 

Canyon Coal connects local community to electricity grid
Photo by Duane Daws
The Phalanndwa colliery

ABB, SNC-Lavalin joins forces for substation projects

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     20th December 2017 Automation company ABB and infrastructure company SNC-Lavalin have signed an agreement to form a joint venture (JV) for the execution of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects for electrical substations. SNC-Lavalin will have majority and controlling interest in the JV. 

Nersa grants Eskom's tariff hike, but not 20% 

By: News24Wire      15th December 2017 South Africa's National Energy Regulator (Nersa) has declined Eskom request for a 20% hike, instead granting Eskom a 5.2% hike. The regulator is due to publish a document outlining the decision in the next couple of days, Nersa chair Jacob Modise said. The 5.23% tariff increase, announced by... 

Nersa grants Eskom's tariff hike, but not 20%

CPV plant’s success contributes to economic growth

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     15th December 2017 Being the only concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) power plant of its kind in South Africa currently, independent power producer Pele Energy Group senior asset manager Ziska Mc Gilton says the 36 MW ac Touwsrivier CPV project is continuously providing economic upliftment and support for surrounding... 

Zuma promises ‘seamless’ ANC transition at energy indaba that sidesteps IRP debate 

By: Terence Creamer     7th December 2017 President Jacob Zuma used his address at the Energy Indaba, taking place in Johannesburg this week, to assure business and investors that the upcoming African National Congress (ANC) elective conference would be “orderly and peaceful”, while promising a “seamless” handover to the new ANC... 

Zuma promises ‘seamless’ ANC transition at energy indaba that sidesteps IRP debate
President Jacob Zuma and Energy Minister David Mahlobo

Renewables-heavy mix is South Africa’s cheapest option, yet another study confirms

By: Terence Creamer     1st December 2017 A new, independently produced techno-economic model of South Africa’s cost-optimal power generation mix in 2040 outlines a system where 69% of the electrical energy is produced from onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) generators, supported by batteries and gas-fired generators. Conducted by... 

Renewables-heavy mix is South Africa’s cheapest option, yet another study confirms

Civil rights groups voice opposition to ‘rushed’ Energy Indaba

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     29th November 2017 Twenty-three South African civil rights and environmental activist groups have sent a letter to Energy Minister David Mahlobo seeking clarity on the nature and purpose of the upcoming Energy Indaba, scheduled for December 7 to 8 in Johannesburg. “It appears that the indaba will relate to the... 

Civil rights groups voice opposition to ‘rushed’ Energy Indaba

Hawks probing Brian Molefe's R30m pension payout claims

By: News24Wire      24th November 2017 Trade Union Solidarity announced on Thursday that it would launch legal proceedings to force former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to repay the "unlawful" R30-million pension payout he received. "Unlawful actions must bear consequences. An apology and even pay back [from Molefe], is not enough,"... 

Hawks probing Brian Molefe's R30m pension payout claims
Photo by Duane Daws
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe

Microgrids add new arrow to Africa’s electricity access quiver

By: Mia Breytenbach     24th November 2017 The launch of a R25-million solar energy, lithium-ion battery storage microgrid on Robben Island – the World Heritage Site in Table Bay, Cape Town, which, until recently, relied on diesel to generate electricity – not only showcases the versatile advantages of microgrid technology, but also... 

Microgrids add new arrow to Africa’s electricity access quiver

Power and utilities drone market worth more than $9bn

By: Dylan Slater     24th November 2017 The international drone market comprising solutions that use drones for the power and utilities industries is worth as much as $9.46-billion a year, according to a report published by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).  

Africa specialist punts local presence as key to capitalising as infrastructure spend set to boom

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     23rd November 2017 Through innovation in the energy sphere, Africa is slowly starting to overcome historical blockages that have prevented the continent from achieving economic growth and creating sustainable jobs, according to energy consultancy Africa House director Duncan Bonnett. Speaking at a PowerGen and... 

Africa specialist punts local presence as key to capitalising as infrastructure spend set to boom

Eskom’s ‘death spiral’ under the microscope 

By: Terence Creamer     21st November 2017 A major topic of discussion during recent public hearings into Eskom’s 2018/19 revenue application, was whether a further double-digit tariff hike could trigger a “utility death spiral”, whereby rising tariffs and utility costs spark an exodus of energy-intensive customers from the network,... 

Eskom’s ‘death spiral’ under the microscope

Investment in solar has overtaken coal globally, says IEA

By: Kim Cloete     16th November 2017 Breaking all-time records, renewables currently account for two thirds of global net capacity additions, according to one of several reports about how renewable energy is powering ahead. The trend is set to continue. “All renewables will grow at double the velocity of fossil fuels within the next... 

Investment in solar has overtaken coal globally, says IEA

Solidarity ranks SOEs, lambastes 'cadre merry-go-round'

By: Anine Kilian     14th November 2017 Trade union Solidarity has ranked South African Airways (SAA) as the most poorly managed State-owned enterprise (SOE) in the country. Speaking at the launch of its latest report ‘South African State Institutions and the Value for Tax Money’, on Wednesday, Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann said SAA... 

Solidarity ranks SOEs, lambastes 'cadre merry-go-round'

As Mozambique marks historic Cahora Bassa transfer, attention shifts to big capex plan

By: Terence Creamer     13th November 2017 Hidroelectrica Cahora Bassa (HCB), the Mozambique concession company which operates the Cahora Bassa dam and the 2 075 MW hydropower plant, is poised to move into a period of sustained investment, having settled all debt associated with the 2007 transfer of ownership of the scheme from Portugal... 

As Mozambique marks historic Cahora Bassa transfer, attention shifts to big capex plan
Cahora Bassa: HCB to commemorate historic transfer of ownership of Cahora Bassa from Portugal to Mozambique on November 27

1 000 locally manufactured valves sold to aid electrical power distribution

By: Nadine James     10th November 2017 National research institution Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) collaboration with valve manufacturer Paltechnologies (Paltech) has led to the first locally manufactured aluminium valve. To date, about 1 000 butterfly valves, each 80 mm in diameter, have been manufactured... 

1 000 locally manufactured valves sold to aid electrical power distribution
PALTECH BUTTERFLY VALVE Forms part of a number of products selected by Eskom for localisation

Upcoming energy event to showcase African project opportunities  

By: Simone Liedtke     10th November 2017 A key focus point of the African Energy Indaba (AEI) – which celebrates its ten-year milestone next year – is to provide access to project opportunities across the African continent. 

Upcoming energy event to showcase African project opportunities
Africa Energy Indaba (AEI) MD Liz Hart, AEI chairperson Brian Statham and South African Electrotechnical Export Council CEO Chiboni Evans discuss the AEI next year. Camera: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Lionel da Silva.

Manufacturing Circle implores Eskom to do internal clean-up before seeking electricity tariff increase

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     8th November 2017 Around 88% of respondents in the Manufacturing Circle Investment Tracker survey for the third quarter noted that they still relied on electricity as the primary energy source for their organisation, followed by gas and other energy sources. For this reason, the Manufacturing Circle is imploring... 

Manufacturing Circle implores Eskom to do internal clean-up before seeking electricity tariff increase
Photo by Duane Daws
Manufacturing Circle chairperson Andre de Ruyter

Johannesburg faces R17bn electricity infrastructure challenge

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     8th November 2017 The undoings of the previous administration has resulted in the City of Johannesburg requiring an investment of around R17-billion over the next ten years to upgrade its ageing electricity infrastructure. City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said his administration was facing serious... 

Johannesburg faces R17bn electricity infrastructure challenge

Trillian whistleblower says Eskom’s Singh paid R30.6m for no reason

By: African News Agency      3rd November 2017 A whistleblower on Friday told the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom the power utility settled a fraudulent invoice from Trillian for R30.6-million. Former Trillian Management Consulting (TMC) chief executive Bianca Goodson said she found her signature on a cover letter to the invoice that was... 

South Africa’s capital city replacing electricity meters after court ruling

By: African News Agency      2nd November 2017 South Africa’s capital city is replacing thousands of electricity meters after the high court ruled that the contract for their procurement was invalid, an official said on Thursday. Cilliers Brink, member of the mayoral committee for the municipality of Tshwane, which incorporates the capital... 

Treasury grilled on R74bn deviation procurement

By: News24Wire      2nd November 2017 Treasury's Director General Dondo Mogajane was grilled by members of SCOPA on Wednesday on how it was possible for state entities and institutions to have been allowed to deviate from required procurement processes to the tune of a total of R74-billion in 2016/17. While the public procurement... 

Heavy increase in irregular expenditure in South Africa, now pegged above R45bn, says AG 

By: African News Agency      1st November 2017 Irregular expenditure by government departments and State-owned entities has ballooned by over 50% in 2016/2017 when compared to the previous financial year, topping R45-billion, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu revealed on Tuesday. “Irregular expenditure has increased by 55% since the previous year... 

Heavy increase in irregular expenditure in South Africa, now pegged above R45bn, says AG
Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu

City of Joburg's anti-corruption unit makes major bust 

By: News24Wire      1st November 2017 The City of Johannesburg’s anti-corruption unit made one of its biggest busts since its inception a year ago, with about R80-million worth of City Power equipment seized from sub-contractors. The City's anti-corruption unit, which was established by Mayor Herman Mashaba last year, and headed by... 

Loeriesfontein Wind Farm connected to grid

27th October 2017 Loeriesfontein Wind Farm as well as Khobab Wind Farm, both located in the Northern Cape, are now connected to State-owned power utility Eskom’s grid, through Eskom’s Helios substation and the commissioning of wind turbines has started. “We energised the wind farm substations with Eskom... 

Loeriesfontein Wind Farm connected to grid
STATE CONNECTIONS Loeriesfontein and Khobab should start supplying electricity to the national grid by early December, in the meantime the developers continue to work closely with Eskom

Conference aims to strengthen cross-border relations

By: Nadine James     27th October 2017 The prospects for wind power within and beyond the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) will be discussed at this year’s Windaba conference and exhibition, exploring opportunities outside South Africa’s borders, and consider ways of establishing cross-border... 

Conference aims to strengthen cross-border relations
ANSWERS IN THE WIND The Windaba programme has been designed to be relevant regardless of whether the mid-term outlook is good or uncertain

Wind energy sector still attractive to investors

By: Nadine James     27th October 2017 Shorter fabrication time, lower costs for parts, and increased repeatability and uniformity have led to impressive improvements in the wind energy sector, says multidisciplinary engineering consultancy WSP Africa power director Dinesh Buldoo. “For instance, there is significant focus on advanced... 

Wind energy sector still attractive to investors
DINESH BULDOO WSP Africa states that several wind projects have progressed through the planning pipeline, and the industry continues to generate significant investor and developer interest

Eskom a ‘risk to entire economy’, Gigaba says as he reaffirms unaffordability of nuclear 

By: Terence Creamer     25th October 2017 As guarantor over a significant portion of Eskom’s debt, the prevailing governance problems at the State-owned utility were of “grave concern” and had become an “enormous risk” to government and the entire economy, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Wednesday. Delivering his first Medium-Term... 

Eskom a ‘risk to entire economy’, Gigaba says as he reaffirms unaffordability of nuclear

New initiative to be launched at tenth Africa Energy Indaba

By: Simone Liedtke     24th October 2017 In the run-up to the tenth yearly Africa Energy Indaba (AEI) in February, the South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC) on Tuesday announced that it would launch its African Energy Consultants initiative at the event. The SAAEC, which is a partner of the AEI Trade Association that... 

Brian Molefe’s young wife boosted his pension payout

By: News24Wire      20th October 2017 Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe's marriage to Arethur Moagi in December 2016 boosted his pension payout, according to Sibusiso Luthuli, CEO of the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF). Luthuli was briefing Parliament’s public enterprises committee as part of its state capture inquiry. 

Eskom’s new R174bn grid plan includes R18bn for IPP connections

By: Terence Creamer     19th October 2017 State-owned electricity utility Eskom says all connection costs relating to 27 outstanding renewable-energy projects have been included in its latest Transmission Development Plan (TDP), which covers the ten-year period from 2018 to 2027. The renewable-energy projects were legally procured in... 

Eskom’s new R174bn grid plan includes R18bn for IPP connections

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