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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

South Africa’s govt and nuclear power utility Eskom undermine renewable energy development

Nuclear and coal lobbies threaten to scupper renewables in South Africa The Conversation,  Hartmut Winkler
Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg June 27, 2017 South African power utility Eskom recently repeated that it will not conclude supply contracts with the developers of new renewable energy power stations. These developers were selected under a programme to facilitate private sector involvement in the building of medium-sized renewable energy power stations.

The programme has won plaudits for its success in facilitating the establishment of multiple solar and wind farms in record time. But Eskom is once again stalling.

The power utility’s stand threatens the viability of the entire renewable energy sector in the country. It’s hostility also defies logic given that the whole world is embracing renewable energy as key to a clean energy future and combating climate change.

So what lies behind the opposition?

The answer lies in the fact that two powerful lobbies are at work in South Africa. One is pro-coal, the other pro-nuclear. This has made the success of the renewable energy projects a target for attacks from interested parties in both. Disrupting the renewable energy sector would ensure that the coal sector remains dominant. And that, over time, it is gradually displaced by nuclear.

The lobby groups attached to coal and nuclear appear to have had powerful allies on the state utility’s board. There is mounting evidence that they have been furthering the interests of a group linked to the Gupta family. It in turn has been accused of capturing state entities to further its own ends, as well as those of President Jacob Zuma, his family and allies.

t has also been widely argued that the massively expensive proposed nuclear build is being driven by the same interest groups.

The battle over renewables is therefore closely linked to a wider political confrontation over control of key aspects of the South African economy.

Eskom’s flawed argument

The renewables dispute centres on the state utility’s refusal to endorse 1121 MW of new renewable energy….

The Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has been disingenuous in citing cost as a reason to stop the last phase of renewables. The higher costs she recently quoted were presumably those associated with the first round of renewable energy projects. These contracts were concluded in 2012 and prices for renewables have come down considerably since.

For its part Eskom has pointed to the oversupply of electricity as the reason for its objection. But elsewhere it has trumpeted the need for more nuclear power. It can’t have it both ways.

Powerful forces at play

Until two years ago Eskom was seen as a neutral player committed to effectively provide electric power in the best interests of the country. It threw its weight behind previous power procurement plans.

But that all changed in 2015 after Brian Molefe was appointed CEO.

Molefe and his successor Matshela Koko are both linked to the controversial Gupta family. Their names featured in the Public Protector’s State of Capture report as well as in a bulk leak of emails which implicated the Guptas and other leading figures in the state capture network.

Molefe and Koko played a pivotal role in helping the Guptas purchase a coal mine – the Optimum mine – and to secure a lucrative coal supply contract with Eskom. Both are also strongly pro-nuclear. They have also gone on record to argue that renewable energy is too expensive……https://theconversation.com/nuclear-and-coal-lobbies-threaten-to-scupper-renewables-in-south-africa-79799

June 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, renewable, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear deal with Russia is central to the corruption in South Africa

There’s more to state capture than meets the eye, News24, Sipho Pityana, 23 June 17, The leadership crisis and the ravaging uncertainty that South Africa is going through now affect all of us.

I say this because the ethical failures committed by Zuma are not confined to the president’s office. They are cascading down, like a disease, into every aspect of South African life. They are killing our country, and killing us with it. Every extra day Zuma remains in power, this erosion continues and our crisis deepens.

Zuma’s strategy is simple: keep the ANC firmly captured by stealing the leadership elections at the party’s elective conference in December, and install his protégé. His successor as president of the ANC – and, subsequently, the country – would make sure that he not only stays out of jail, but also that the state capture project continues unabated…….

 I believe it is true that the fish rots from the head. The problem we face, as South Africans, is that the rot is so advanced that it’s already approaching the tail. And unless we act soon, this beautiful creature that we call South Africa will soon be a rotten pile of bones…..
The state capture project, with Zuma at its epicenter, is effectively an international crime syndicate. It is a global mafia operation involving business and sometimes state interests in China, Russia, Asia, the Middle East and several African countries……..

Finally, there is Russia. The Russians have a very, very keen interest in the nuclear energy deals that the president allegedly signed irregularly on our behalf, which our courts have now stalled. There are billions of rands at stake. We have already seen indications that a deal is in the making, and there are consistent allegations that the captains of state capture, Zuma and the Guptas, have already received – or at least stand to get – massive kickbacks from any Russian nuclear energy deal.Given the scale of the deals (estimated at about R1.8 trillion), even a small kickback is going to run into hundreds of millions. And, as we’ve seen from the various reports on state capture – from the SACC, the Public Affairs Research Institute and the former Public Protector herself – the kickbacks are never small.

So if you join the dots: in effect, and based merely on the uncontested evidence we have at hand, we have a president and his cronies who stand at the centre of a global crime network that involves China, Russia, Asia, the Middle East and certain parts of Africa.

…….you have a South African president with an even more broken ethical compass than Trump? A president who is prepared to let business interests take precedence over the national interest? A president who is prepared to sell his own country to the highest bidder?……….

 – Pityana is the convenor of the Save South Africa campaign. This is an edited version of a speech on ethics he delivered at the annual meeting of the Marketing Code Authority in Johannesburg on 22 June…….http://www.news24.com/Columnists/GuestColumn/theres-more-to-state-capture-than-meets-the-eye-20170623

June 24, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

R1 trillion nuclear power project still happening, says South African President Jacob Zuma

Zuma: The Nuclear Deal Is Still Happening, Folks He says nuclear power stations will eventually bring the country profits once they are built. Huff Post, Amil Umraw, Politics Reporter  23/06/2017 South Africa’s controversial nuclear build programme is still very much on the cards.

In his responses to parliamentary questions on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said government still intends to pursue the acquisition of nuclear power stations at a “pace and scale” that the country can afford…..

He denied that the deal is going to push the agenda of any country, especially Russia.

However, Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi reportedly told a delegation at a nuclear conference in Moscow on Wednesday that the deal would be awarded to the “most experienced people who have a track record”.

Kubayi reportedly met Russian Energy minister Alexander Novak and Rosatom head Alexei Likhachev during her visit. Rosatom is a Russian state company believed to be the strongest contender for the award of the nuclear contract.

The nuclear build programme was dealt a blow by the Cape Town High Court after Earthlife Africa and the Southern Africa Faith-Communities’ Environmental Institute successfully challenged the way in which the state determined the country’s nuclear power needs. The plan would have seen South Africa purchasing 9 600 megawatts of extra nuclear power.

The programme is expected to cost the country around R1 trillion.http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/2017/06/22/zuma-the-nuclear-deal-is-still-happening-folks_a_22580816/

June 24, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Vulnerable to Climate Change – Mphampha, Malawi

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots  Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change, Guardian, John Vidal, 23 June 17

Mphampha, Malawi

Late last year, the temperature in southern Malawi in southern Africa rose to more than 46C. A long regional drought crossing Zimbabwe, Zambia, Madagascar and Tanzania had scorched and killed the staple maize crop and millions of people who had not seen rain for more than a year depended on food aid. Long-term climate data in southern Africa is sparse, but studies backed by oral evidence from villagers confirm the region is a climate hotspot where droughts are becoming more frequent, rains less regular, food supplies less certain, and the dry spells and floods are lasting longer.

With more than 90% of Malawi and the region depending on rain-fed agriculture, it does not need scientists to tell people that the climate is changing. I sat down with villagers near Nsanje in the south of Malawi.

“I know what it is to go hungry,” says Elvas Munthali, a Malawian aid worker. “My family depended on farming. The climate is changing. Now we plant maize at the end of December or even January; we used to do that in November.”

Patrick Kamzitu, a health worker in Nambuma, says: “It is much warmer now. The rains come and we plant but then there is a dry spell. The dry spells and the rains are heavier but shorter.”

One of best studies comes from the Chiwawa district near Nsanje, close to the Mozambique border. Detailed research by the University of Malawi, backed by 50 years of rainfall and temperature data, established that rains, floods, strong winds, high temperatures and droughts were all becoming more common.

The story is more or less repeated across southern Africa and backed by governments and scientific modeling. USAid, the African Development Bank, the World Bank and IPCC assessments suggest average annual temperatures rose nearly 1C between 1960 and 2006.

Looking ahead, scientists expect average annual temperatures across southern Africa to soar, possibly as much as 3C by the 2060s, to 5C by the 2090s – a temperature that would render most human life nearly impossible. But estimates vary greatly. Rainfall, says USAid, could decrease in some places by 13% and increase in others by 32%.

All African countries know that they must adapt their farming, restore their forests, improve their water supplies and grow their economies quickly to have any chance of surviving climate change. But the adaptation money pledged to these, the world’s poorest countries, by the rich at successive UN climate summits has barely started to trickle through.

Changes could be catastrophic. In North Africa, Egypt could lose 15% of its wheat crop if temperatures increase 2C – 36% if they rise 4C. Morocco expects crop yields to remain stable up to about 2030, but then to drop quickly afterward.

Conversely, a study of 11 west African countries from the International Food Policy Research Institute expects some farmers to be able to grow more food as temperatures rise and rainfall increases. Climate change may mean Nigeria, Ghana and Togo can grow and export more sorghum, raised for grain.

But most African countries are extremely vulnerable to climate change and have no reason to expect it will improve their lot. Instead of waiting for western money, they are pressing ahead where they can with water conservation, tree planting and small-scale irrigation schemes. Drought and flood resistant crops are being adopted by the few, but the odds of more severe droughts and floods are high and the resources to resist them are slim…..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/23/from-heatwaves-to-hurricanes-floods-to-famine-seven-climate-change-hotspots?CMP=share_btn_tw

June 24, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Malawi | Leave a comment

President Zuma “knows nothing” about nuclear corruption in South Africa, or his family benefiting

ZUMA ‘HAS NO KNOWLEDGE’ OF HIS FAMILY BENEFITING FROM NUCLEAR PROGRAMME http://ewn.co.za/2017/06/22/zuma-has-no-knowledge-of-his-family-benefiting-from-nuclear-programme, President Jacob Zuma said the government will pursue a nuclear power project at a pace and scale that the country can afford. Rahima Essop CAPE TOWN – President Jacob Zuma has told the National Assembly he has no knowledge of his family benefitting from South Africa’s proposed nuclear build programme.

He was responding to a question by Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, who asked him directly, whether he or any of his family members have received payments related to the project.

Zuma was asked questions about state capture, the recession and his government’s nuclear power ambitions.

The president was terse in his response to Maimane’s frank question about the possibility of corruption in the proposed nuclear build programme.

Zuma said the government would pursue a nuclear power project at a pace and scale that the country could afford.

He also reaffirmed the state’s position that nuclear is a clean and reliable form of energy.

Earlier this year, the Western Cape High Court dealt a legal blow to government’s plans when it found certain agreements related to the project were unconstitutional and unlawful.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma says South Africa is committed to nuclear power expansion

South Africa committed to nuclear power expansion, process to be open – Zuma, http://www.reuters.com/article/safrica-politics-nuclear-idUSJ8N1H5007

South Africa is committed to an “open, transparent” process to build new nuclear power plants and the government planned to go through with its plans for nuclear expansion, President Jacob Zuma told parliament on Thursday.

South Africa is planning to build 9,600 megawatts (MW) of nuclear capacity, a project that could be one of the world’s biggest nuclear contracts in decades.

But Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said on Wednesday in Moscow that the plans will be reviewed as the country is in a recession. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia)

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear power to Uganda

Uganda Could Become The First African Country To Develop Nuclear Power http://www.konbini.com/ng/lifestyle/uganda-could-become-the-first-african-country-to-develop-nuclear-power/ by Odunayo Eweniyi , 22 June 17 Like there’s not enough wrong in Africa right now, Uganda has signed a deal with Russia to develop uranium into nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Not to mention that it’s really suspicious that Russia seems intent on handing nuclear power to anyone and everyone who will take it. But let’s not worry, they said it’s for peaceful purposes.

Uganda’s State Minister for Minerals, Simon D’Ujanga and Russia’s Deputy Director-General of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, Nikolai Spasskiy, signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Moscow, and it includes collaboration in the areas of radiological and physical security, fundamental and applied researches, human resource training, and nuclear research centres.

The discussions with Russia started last October, shortly after the launch of the Uganda-Russian Joint Permanent Commission, an inter-governmental framework for economic, scientific and technical cooperation.

 Uganda also has ongoing discussions with China to help develop peaceful nuclear power. This agreement with Russia comes just a month after a team from Uganda’s Ministry of Energy travelled to meet with the Zhonguan Engineering Corporation (CZEC), a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

At least 8 countries in Africa are actively considering starting nuclear programs – Nigeria (don’t laugh), Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia; but the question is why? Emerging countries like the ones listed generally do not have the expertise for this, so as opposed to focusing on building and relying on licenses from developed countries who arguably have their own agendas when sponsoring developments like this one in African countries, why don’t we focus on building the expertise first?

And African countries are largely unable to manage the present grid system that we have, where do we get the assurance that they can manage nuclear power plants, which they say are built for peaceful purposes, but could just as easily harm citizens?

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia signs up Sudan to buy nuclear technology

Sudan and Russia Sign MOU for Cooperation Nuclear Power for Peaceful Uses, 20 June 17  Khartoum — Sudan and Russia signed in Moscow Monday a memo of understanding for cooperation in the field of nuclear power for peaceful uses, which was signed by the State Minister at the Ministry of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, Engineer Yousif Hamza, and the General Director of the Russian Nuclear Power Agency for the Russian side.

Engineer Yousif said that implementation of the programs included in agreement will result in the signing of an agreement between the Sudanese and Russian sides in the field of atomic power for peaceful uses by the end of the year 2017…..http://allafrica.com/stories/201706200480.html

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing | Leave a comment

Rosatom’s plans to DEVELOP NUCLEAR CLUSTER IN SOUTH AFRICA 

ROSATOM SAYS IT HAS PLANS TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR CLUSTER IN SA http://ewn.co.za/2017/06/19/rosatom-says-it-has-plans-to-develop-nuclear-cluster-in-sa  In April, the Western Cape High Court ruled that government’s decision to call for proposals for the procurement of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy was unlawful and unconstitutional.Tara Penny JOHANNESBURG – Russia’s Rosatom has confirmed it is in contact with South African authorities on plans concerning the civilian use of nuclear energy.

The CEO of Rosatom’s foreign unit, Anastasia Zoteyeva made the comment while answering questions on the sidelines of a conference in Moscow on Monday morning.

She also told reporters that the Russian state nuclear corporation is proposing to develop a whole nuclear cluster in South Africa.

In April, the Western Cape High Court ruled that government’s decision to call for proposals for the procurement of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Earthlife Africa, which brought the case, said the judgment vindicates its argument that the process government has followed was unlawful because it failed to consult the public about its decision.

The case was first brought in October 2015, when Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute argued that former Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersen had not consulted the public nor Parliament before deciding to procure 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power.

The judgment meant all deals that government had pursued with Russia and the United States were not valid.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom denies any ‘secret deal’ with South Africa

Russia’s Rosatom says no ‘secret deal’ with South Africa http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFR4N1JC007 Jun 20, 2017, MOSCOW,   – Deputy chief executive officer of Russia’s state nuclear firm Rosatom Kirill Komarov told a briefing on Tuesday that there was no “secret deal” between Russia and South Africa over nuclear projects.

 

He also said the nuclear pact between two countries from 2014 was standard for such circumstances.

Russia and South Africa discussed joint nuclear projects but those plans were disrupted after South Africa’s High Court deemed a nuclear cooperation pact with Russia unlawful earlier this year. (Reporting by Alexander Winning; writing by Maria Tsvetkova; editing by Vladimir Soldatkin)

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear power to Zambia

Russia’s Rosatom to review opportunity of nuclear power plant building in Zambia http://tass.com/economy/952152   June 19 MOSCOW, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom will prepare a preliminary feasibility study for construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) in Zambia. A relevant agreement was signed between the parties within the Atomexpo 2017 exhibition framework, TASS reports on Monday.

This document signifies the first stage of the project execution prior to making an investment decision on NPP construction in Zambia, Rosatom says.

A contract for services of assessment and development of the nuclear infrastructure in Zambia, a contractor for preliminary engineering survey in Zambia by Rosatom’s affiliate Atomstroiexport and an agreement on setup of a nuclear science and technology center in Zambia were signed also.

Memoranda of understanding and cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear energy with Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia were also signed within the forum framework.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Solar lamps tackling poverty and ill-health in Africa

Solar lamps light up more African nights http://climatenewsnetwork.net/22346-2/  June 5, 2017, by Paul Brown Solar lamps are tackling poverty, ill-health and natural hazards in Africa, thanks to Chinese industry and a UK-based charity.

LONDON, 5 June, 2017 – With 600 million people in Africa still without electricity and relying on expensive kerosene for lighting, the invention of a new high-quality solar light gives hope for a better quality of life for the poorest people of the continent.

And with solar light design and quality constantly improving and prices falling, a brighter future is more affordable – and can even turn a profit for householders.

The new £4 ($5) lamp now on offer in parts of East Africa was created by Inventid, a company based in Manchester, UK, and has undergone trials with 9,000 families in Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. The SM100, as it is called, is now being made in China by the solar giant Yingli and distributed in Africa by the charity SolarAid

The lamp is small enough to be used as a hand torch or a bicycle lamp, and has a stand which lets it be used as a table lamp or overhead light. It is tough enough to survive being dropped, or drenched in rain.

SolarAid, which has been pioneering the sale of solar lamps to poor communities in Africa since 2006, says the new model gives twice the light of a kerosene lamp and and, over its five-year guaranteed lifetime, saves a ton of carbon dioxide for each kerosene light it replaces. 

Cash generator

Although it is a charity, rather than give the lamps away SolarAid prefers to sell them at cost, creating trade in the economy. Each lamp sold at £4 generates £145 in cash for food and essentials in East Africa, it says.
Jeremy Leggett, founding director of SolarAid, says there are not many social-benefit paybacks as good as this in the world today: “We know that much of the money saved is spent on food and seeds. This is a great way to help people help themselves while famine stalks the continent.” 
Most people without electricity in Africa live on less than $1 a day, and buying kerosene takes up around 15% of their annual income. The SM100 runs at full power for up to eight hours when fully charged, and will also charge mobile phones.
As well as helping people escape from poverty, the lamps also help to improve their health; kerosene fumes damage eyes and lungs. The light also allows children to study after dark.

But Leggett says it is the light itself that makes the real difference. “Seeing the faces of Africans who witness a solar light being turned on for the first time in a hut at night, as I have, is a highly emotional experience.

“We often forget how lucky we are in the rich nations – how much we take for granted. One thing I hadn’t realised before I went to Africa is what a danger snakes are at night. With a solar light, you have a chance to see them.

“There are so many other benefits. It is thrilling to think that our lights address almost all the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

So far SolarAid has sold 1.9 million solar lights to Africa and hopes that this cheaper, later version will be even more successful. One of the problems is that some countries, for example Uganda and Malawi, tax solar lights, making them less affordable for the poor.

“In my view this is short-sighted, because the price has to be passed on to the consumer, meaning fewer lights will be sold, meaning reductions in the cash freed up by savings on the  kerosene which is no longer needed”, says Leggett.

Price of a drink

“Those savings, spent in the local economy, would help the governments build a healthy economy much more than the taxes they raise.”

When the Climate News Network last wrote about solar lights for Africa in February 2015, SolarAid was asking companies to donate 5% of their profits to the scheme. It now needs more help to reach more of the 600 million Africans without electricity.

“To get solar lights out to the frontier areas where we work, SolarAid is currently overdependent on increasingly impossible-to-predict and precarious donations from large organisations,” Leggett says.

He is asking all his friends, and many other people besides, to donate £4 a month – “the price of a drink – to pay for one light a month for Africa. – Climate News Network

June 7, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, decentralised | Leave a comment

Chris Yelland on the disadvantages of nuclear power for South Africa

Is nuclear the best option for SA? Flexibility is key in an unpredictable world. Money Web, Roger Lilley  /  1 June 2017  Eskom appears to be more concerned with building new nuclear power stations than in signing power purchase agreements with independent power producers that use renewable energy sources. Energize caught up with energy analyst and managing director of EE Publishers, Chris Yelland, for his opinion on what generation technologies South Africa should opt for.

…….CHRIS YELLAND:…..I am certainly not opposed to a nuclear new-build in South Africa on ideological or technology grounds. But there are real issues that both nuclear and renewable energy proponents must deal with. ….
Firstly, there are public perceptions of political motives, political interference and corruption associated with mega-project procurements. There are widespread public perceptions that things happen in secret behind closed doors, that due process is not being followed, and that there are some rather sinister motives. Whatever we think of these perceptions, whether they are true or not, they actually need to be dealt with.

The high, upfront capital costs, and associated financing and affordability of such mega-projects, is an issue, and one really has to deal with this issue, because it is one of the big drawbacks of nuclear.

We must also fully understand the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from nuclear power over the economic lifetime of the plant, taking into account the overnight capital cost, interest during construction, the fixed and variable operating, maintenance and fuel costs, and the costs of decommissioning and waste disposal. The LCOE indicates the overall cost, in R/kWh of the electricity delivered from a nuclear power plant, in order to be able to compare it properly on a similar basis with other technologies.

Nuclear power stations take a long time to build – up to ten to 12 years per reactor – and mega-projects are prone to high cost and time overruns. These realities cannot simply be ignored.South Africa needs flexibility in an uncertain and unpredictable world, where electricity demand is difficult to predict in the years ahead, and disruptive technologies are on the horizon. Technologies such as wind, solar PV and energy storage may change the rules of the game……..

A tipping point was reached as the price of wind and solar PV energy came crashing down. All of a sudden there are now lower-cost alternatives to new nuclear and new coal power. Nuclear is no longer the least-cost option, and a blend of wind, solar PV, gas and pumped storage can deliver reliable, despatchable, baseload power at lower cost than new nuclear and even new coal power…….

there’s the option of wind, solar PV, gas and pumped storage. This is a low carbon option, just as nuclear is a low carbon option. But it is also an option to deliver reliable, despatchable baseload power in a flexible way at lower cost than the nuclear option. This is what is termed “flexible power”…….

CHRIS YELLAND: In my view, the decline of the coal sector is inevitable, as the world moves away from coal to a cleaner, low-carbon future, both locally and globally.

We live in a global village, and South Africa simply cannot continue to burn coal regardless of the consequences to water use, pollution, health and climate change. The world is expecting us to move to cleaner options, and South Africa has made international commitments to do just this. We need to plan ahead and address these matters going forward. ……

The growth of rooftop solar PV in domestic, commercial and industrial applications has not been considered in the Draft IRP 2016 at all, and yet is a growing and inevitable reality, both globally and in South Africa.

The Department of Energy, Eskom and municipal electricity distributors ignore this growing alternative and supplement to conventional grid electricity at their peril. This is potentially a huge disruptor to the traditional business models of power utilities.

Customers are choosing cleaner and cheaper sources of energy to reduce both their costs and dependency on public utilities. Thus I expect very significant growth in this market as solar PV and battery storage prices continue to drop, while the price of grid electricity continues to rise.Utilities have to sit up and take note. Otherwise they may find themselves in a death spiral, where rising costs of grid power drive their customers away to alternatives. As people move to these alternatives in greater numbers, so the costs of the new alternative technologies come down due to increasing economies of scale. At the same time, in a vicious circle, this further pushes up the price of grid power, as utilities try to recover their fixed cost structure from declining kWh sales volumes.

This really needs to be taken seriously. It has happened in other parts of the world, and it’s not unthinkable that it could happen in South Africa. https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/nuclear-energy-the-best-option-for-south-africa/

June 2, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear power company Eskom wants a blank cheque from the South African government

Eskom asks Gigaba for blank cheque, news 24, Sipho Masondo

2017-05-28 Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has been asked to approve various components of the nuclear deal and effectively give Eskom a “blank cheque”.

These requests are contained in a letter Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane wrote to Gigaba earlier this month. In the letter, dated May 10, Ngubane also pleads with the minister to intervene in the stand-off between Treasury and Eskom regarding the Gupta family’s Tegeta Mine.

The letter was sent to Gigaba two weeks after the Western Cape High Court’s ruling that key elements of the nuclear deal were unconstitutional.

The letter appears to be an attempt by Ngubane to set a new tone for the relationship from the somewhat tense one that Eskom had with Treasury under ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan. Treasury and Eskom clashed repeatedly in recent years as the former insisted that the power utility abide by the rules and questioned its procurement practices.

 In his letter, Ngubane:

. Asked for a direct line to Gigaba;

. Pleaded with Gigaba to revise the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) or rush to introduce the Procurement Act to enable “radical economic transformation”;

. Requested the finance minister to relax the stringent conditions relating to the extension of the power utility’s R350 billion guarantees;

. Appealed to Gigaba to approve various programmes relating to the nuclear deal. These included exempting Eskom from the PPPFA and the approval of the Standard Infrastructure Procurement and Delivery Management; and,

. Raised concerns that Treasury had appointed another service provider to review Eskom’s coal contract with Tegeta and that the stand-off between the two parties regarding the power utility’s coal contracts with the Gupta family’s Tegeta mine had been going on for two years……..

ast month, City Press also reported Eskom was set to get the nuclear deal underway in June by issuing a request for proposals.

At that time, sources had told City Press that President Jacob Zuma had removed finance minister Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas because they were opposed to the nuclear deal and were dragging their feet in having it implemented.

After seeing Ngubane’s letter, a source with knowledge of Treasury’s workings said: “Now you know why Gordhan and Jonas were removed. This is the completion of state capture.”

The source said Ngubane and the Eskom leadership wanted the PPPFA to be relaxed “so that they can do as they please with procurement”.

“Why would they want the conditions that come with guarantees to be relaxed? You must remember, for government to give guarantees, there must be stringent conditions. You simply cannot relax them,” he said.

Such conditions, he said, included a corporate plan that should be seen and approved by Treasury, and procurement policies that were in line with the Public Finance Management Act and the PPPFA.

A senior executive at Treasury said: “Baldwin [Ngubane’s middle name] is saying the previous minister was not a friend of Eskom. He was strict and put Eskom under watch through guarantees and other procurement conditions.

“He is asking the new minister to relax conditions, approve the nuclear deal, exempt Eskom from procurement measures and give the favours as outlined in the letter.” http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/eskom-asks-gigaba-for-blank-cheque-20170527

May 31, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa: corruption and th ecapture of the State

Betrayal of the Promise: The Anatomy of State Capture https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-05-26-betrayal-of-the-promise-the-anatomy-of-state-capture#.WS4FiJKGPGg  RANJENI MUNUSAMY

South Africans have been bombarded with revelations of how the state has been hijacked to amass wealth for a connected power elite involving President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. An academic research partnership has consolidated all available information into a frightening compendium on state capture, mapping the deals, the key players and the modus operandi for commandeering control of state institutions and parastatals. Their report shows why it is necessary for a judicial inquiry and criminal prosecution for corruption, fraud, money laundering, racketeering and, possibly, treason. It also shows the danger of key enablers such as Zuma, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Eskom CEO Brian Molefe remaining in their posts. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

 When President Jacob Zuma executed his most overt act of betrayal of the people and party who put him in power by firing Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas as minister and deputy of finance, he probably did not foresee that this would turn an entire society against him. Opposition parties, the ANC’s alliance partners Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, civil society, business, veterans and stalwarts, religious leaders and now academics are standing up to oppose and expose the Zuma-Gupta contagion.

Last week, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) released a report of an Unburdening Panel comprising evidence of whistle-blowers who approached church leaders about their experiences of state capture. On Thursday, the State Capacity Research Project, a team of leading academics from four universities, released a 72-page report detailing what they call a “silent coup” by an organised criminal network.

Betrayal Of The Promise: How South Africa Is Being Stolen is a report that sought to respond to Gordhan’s challenge to “connect the dots” around all the allegations of state capture and why he and Jonas were fired.

“While corruption is widespread at all levels and is undermining development, state capture is a far greater, systemic threat. It is akin to a silent coup and must, therefore, be understood as a political project that is given a cover of legitimacy by the vision of radical economic transformation. The March 2017 Cabinet reshuffle was confirmation of this silent coup; it was the first Cabinet reshuffle that took place without the full prior support of the governing party.

“This moves the symbiotic relationship between the constitutional state and the shadow state that emerged after the African National Conference (ANC) Polokwane conference in 2007 into a new phase. The reappointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom’s chief executive officer (CEO) a few weeks later in defiance of the ANC confirms this trend,” the report states.

May 31, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment