Category Archives: Parliament

includes Parliamentary Standing Comms, Bills, Legislation,etc

Joint media release: What we expect from SA’s Integrated Resource Plan for electricity

Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), 9 november, 2017

Media reports indicate that the Minister of Energy has instructed the Department of Energy to publish the long-overdue update to the crucially important Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity 2010-2030 (IRP) within the next week.

Energy Minister David Mahlobo (as at 13 November, 2017 anyway). Image: moneyweb

At this critical juncture in South Africa’s energy future, our choices have to be based on sound, accurate, current, and accepted energy policy that will benefit all South Africans. The Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle Campaign (made up of groundWorkthe Centre for Environmental Rights and Earthlife Africa, Johannesburg) and Greenpeace Africa would like to reiterate our position on what we expect to see in the IRP.

 

We also express our alarm that, despite earlier  statements in Parliament by the Department of Energy that there would be provision for further consultation on the draft IRP, the Minister has since suggested that a final policy-adjusted IRP will be promulgated without further public participation. To date, stakeholders have only had an opportunity to consider and comment on the draft IRP base case and assumptions published a year ago in November 2016. An open and democratic IRP process requires first, a new base case taking account of those comments, and then open discussion of any variations that will be taken into account in the drafting of a policy-adjusted IRP.  A policy-adjusted IRP without further public participation can only be viewed as illegitimate.

State Capture Inquiry Day 1: Unpacking looting at Eskom

Fin24,  Matthew le Cordeur, 17 October, 2017.

Parliament’s public enterprises committee has started its first state capture inquiry, starting with allegations of corruption and capture at Eskom.

SA cannot afford new nuclear – Eberhard

South Africa cannot afford to build a new nuclear fleet, Professor Anton Eberhard told Parliament’s state capture inquiry into Eskom on Tuesday.

“From my research, a new nuclear fleet would be extremely difficult to finance with our current fiscus status,” he said.

President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet on Tuesday, placing a new minister in the Energy portfolio for the second time this year.

This time, David Mahlobo was made Energy Minister. As State Security Minister, Mahlobo was part of Zuma’s visit to Russia in 2014, where reports alleged he signed a secret nuclear energy deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With Zuma’s future uncertain, analysts believe the president is eager to push through the programme, which had been suspended by a court this year.

Eberhard said there has been a 400% electricity price increase over the last 10 years, which is highly unusual. “This has had a serious impact on the economy,” he said.

“The increases are mostly due to Medupi and Kusile, which has added massively to Eskom’s finance costs. An increase in coal costs are also contributing to this.

“The price should not have been much more than inflation,” he said. “If you look at renewable IPPs, there has been a 78% decrease in solar PV prices in last five years. This points to the fact that Eskom’s price increases are out of synch.”

Here is the link to the full article – and there is lots more!

The South African government hasn’t given up the fight for nuclear

Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg, in The Conversation, 17 May, 2017.

Nuclear energy in South Africa is a highly contested issue; so much so that a court recently ruled against the government’s plans to issue a contract for the construction of eight new nuclear power stations.

The ruling appeared to have delivered a significant blow to President Jacob Zuma, and those who support him, who had set their sights on immediate nuclear expansion. The court’s decision was met with jubilation by those opposing the nuclear plan.

The expectation was that the government would appeal the decision. It didn’t, but this shouldn’t be read as a shift in its thinking.

Minister of Energy Nkhensani Kubayi made it clear after the court ruling that, while there would be no appeal, the government remained fully committed to nuclear expansion, and was planning to initiate a new process without delay.

This signals a realisation by government that an appeal would have little chance of success, and that a lengthy court process would tie up the parties in legal cases for months or even years. This would delay a nuclear build even further.

The minister has made it clear that the government is not giving up on its push for the controversial nuclear plan. But it has realised the process must start from scratch. This is the clearest indication yet that Zuma intends launching the nuclear build before his term of office ends in 2019.

Adding to fears that the government isn’t giving up the fight was the surprise reinstatement of Brian Molefe as CEO of the country’s power utility Eskom. Molefe left the job under a cloud six months ago. His reappointment led to immediate and widespread public outrage. Many have interpreted his return as beefing up the quest for nuclear.

Molefe’s return, however, isn’t as critical to the nuclear project as imagined, as Eskom has maintained his pro-nuclear stance in his absence.

What’s more important is that it’s clear that contestation around the future of South Africa’s energy sector will continue unabated. This despite the president having been severely weakened in recent months, and with it the power of the pro-nuclear lobby supported by his faction.

And here is the original in The Conversation

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and renewable energy

Bishop Geoff Davies, in the Daily Maverick, 9 February, 2017.

So-called developed countries are doing their best to move away from both coal and nuclear energy, with huge investment in developing renewable energy. South Africa, we had hoped, would have become a manufacturing hub for renewable energy in Africa.

“We mustn’t listen to those who say we must only use renewable energy,” said aspiring president Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a church gathering this past weekend. No developed country uses only renewable energy, there must be a mix, she said.

It is highly unfortunate that our political leaders are so poorly informed about energy developments – or are they so well informed about the financial benefits to be gained through the procurement of nuclear energy that they support nuclear energy at all costs?

There are such dramatic developments taking place in electricity storage, and equally dramatic reduction in costs, that long before a nuclear power station could be built, renewable energy will be far cheaper, safer and more accessible to the people of South Africa than nuclear-generated electricity delivered through a centralised grid could ever be.

 

Here is the full article

Public-private partnership bridge energy gap – Ramaphosa

ESI Africa, 19 January, 2017.

South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, advises countries to consider a partnership between government and the private sector in order to bridge the energy gap.

Ramaphosa was speaking during a panel discussion about bridging the energy gap in Africa by 2030 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, Fin24 reported.

According to the media, the deputy president is leading the South African delegation in Davos, themed “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”.

Among other ministers attending the seminar is finance minister Pravin Gordhan, minister of trade and industry Rob Davies and minister of economic development Ebrahim Patel.

Energy gap in Africa

Media reported that Ramaphosa recommended that in order for Africa to improve energy access, governments should look at getting the private sector to partner with them and eventually reach a point where the private sector generates power independently.

He said: “In South Africa we have seen the effectiveness of involving the private sector to set up independent power projects.”

The partnership is said to have resulted in nearly ZAR194 billion ($14 billion) worth of investments and 2,500MW of power generation, which presented the private sector an opportunity to generate power independently.

IPP programme

According to Fin24, Ramaphosa told the delegates that the South African IPP programme was established when government realised it could not bridge the electricity gap alone.

“We needed to bring in new technology and those with better reach for technology were in the private sector,” the deputy president stated.

He explained that the private sector is capable of raising funding and use their networks to acquire technologies, media reported.

As a result, a special unit was set up within the Department of Energy, which developed a policy to evaluate the IPP proposals. He applauded the robustness of the regulations in place.

“We had a huge number of proposals that came in because the private sector realised the government was serious about increasing energy supply in the country and that we wanted to move towards renewable energy and smart energy,” Ramaphosa said.

He added: “The private sector had a key role in sharpening government’s capability in this regard. We came out strong on renewable energy.”

Here is the article.