Category Archives: DoE

Unravelling South Africa’s opaque foreign nuclear cooperation agreements

Polity.org.za, 26 August, 2014.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s intention to secure nuclear power expansion is increasingly evident (2) and the country’s forthcoming nuclear expansion has attracted several foreign suitors and the signing of agreements with corporations from China, the European Union (EU), France, Germany, Russia, South Korea and the United States (US), amongst others. But South Africa’s path towards nuclear development is replete with domestic obstacles (3), and despite Zuma’s strident commitment to nuclear expansion, these obstacles linger in the form of present concerns for South Africa’s nuclear renaissance…

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Cabinet approves ratification of Grand Inga Treaty

Polity.org.za, 21 August, 2014.

Cabinet has approved the ratification of the Grand Inga Treaty with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.

The treaty would see South Africa buy over half of the power generated by the first phase of the world’s biggest hydroelectric project, aimed at generating 40 000 MW of power on the Congo River…

“The project has the potential to supply clean and affordable, imported hydroelectric power to meet the needs of the DRC, South Africa, and surrounding countries,” Radebe told journalists following Cabinet’s regular fortnightly meeting.

South Africa had agreed to buy 2 500 MW of electricity, in the first phase, under the treaty which was signed in October 2013 and would now be tabled in Parliament.

Africa Will Add More Renewable Energy In 2014 Than In The Last 14 Years Combined

ClimateProgress, 21 August, 2014.

Sub-Saharan Africa will add more renewable energy projects in 2014 than it has in the last 14 years, according to research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

As Bloomberg reports, Africa is expected to add about 1.8 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, a category which includes geothermal, wind, and solar but excludes major hydroelectric power plants. According to thestatement from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the rise in renewable energy in Africa has occurred due to the fact that there’s a growing need for power in Africa and the fact that wind and solar energy costs have dropped significantly in recent years. Due to this price drop, renewable energy can serve as a less expensive alternative to things like diesel, coal, or gas-powered plants…

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Industrial power and energy savings initiatives in South Africa

EE Publishers, 19 August, 2014.

The electricity crisis of 2008 sparked an unprecedented interest in electrical energy efficiency. In the previous era of the cheapest electricity in the world and an abundant supply, little attention was paid to efficiency of electricity usage. The crisis resulted in numerous initiatives by government, the utility, industry associations and consumers, all aimed at reducing both the power demand on the grid and the overall consumption of electrical energy. This article provides a summary of some of the main initiatives introduced since 2008, their effectiveness and impact, focussing mainly on the industrial sectors.

The main purpose of the programmes was to reduce the demand on the grid, and free up generating capacity. Two approaches were adopted:

  • Demand management, which controls and limits the demand for power from the grid by limiting the maximum demand or peak power demand placed on the grid by consumers.
  • Efficiency measures, which primarily reduce the amount of energy used by industrial machinery and systems, but may also have the effect of reducing the power demand of a system for the same output.

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SA blinded by nuclear’s dying light

Mail & Guardian, 15 August, 2014.

International report paints a bleak future for the nuclear industry.

The global nuclear industry is in decline, with ageing plant shutdowns threatening to outstrip the rate of new plants coming online, against a backdrop of rising construction and operating costs.

The grim scene, outlined in the recently released World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014, contrasts starkly with upbeat pronouncements by President Jacob Zuma and Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson that South Africa will be procuring up to six shiny new nuclear reactors’ worth of generating capacity as soon as possible.

Its findings throw further doubt on the wisdom of plans to spend close to the country’s entire annual tax revenue – an estimated R1-trillion – on new nuclear reactors.

Zuma and Joemat-Pettersson’s statements fly in the face of separate studies commissioned by the National Planning Commission and the department of energy, both of which counsel that a decision on nuclear can be deferred for years without adversely affecting the country’s future energy needs…

…Incidentally, the current (nuclear) cost of $8 000 per kilowatt is a third more than the reported $6 000 per kilowatt cost that Areva and Westinghouse quoted Eskom in 2008. Eskom balked at the price; it cancelled the tender. Not only are construction costs on the up; so too are operating costs, the report says.

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