- The acting Group Chief Executive of Africa’s largest utility, South Africa’s Eskom, Calib Cassim, says the power company’s executive management has agreed to assist generation “to the best of our ability to minimise the impact of loadshedding this winter.”
“We hope to recover 6000 MW in our fleet in the next two years,” says Cassim. Speaking during the opening session of the Enlit Africa conference and expo in Cape Town on Tuesday morning, Cassim admitted that the utility was “starting the winter on the backfoot, minus 3000 MW. A year ago, we had three units of Kusile working, which we don’t have, and two units of Koeberg are also not available this year.”
Following the launch of the tell-all book by the former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter at the weekend, Cassim was asked how the campaign against corruption in a large organisation such as Eskom was progressing. He replied that there are certain areas where more corruption takes place and that is where the focus is. “Also, the number of items that have been raised on our whistle-blowing platforms is increasing and we see that as a positive indicator.”
He said, however, that there was still a lack of convictions of those that are charged and that this was needed to set an example to instil confidence in Eskom. “What is positive is the support we have been getting from the security cluster in the last year with almost 300 arrests made.”
Cape Town “able to protect its customers”
Alderman James Vos, City of Cape Town Mayco member for economic development says a survey amongst business owners has revealed that 66% of them have had to cut jobs because of loadshedding. “With the national power supply that is still dominated by coal, it is clear that an urgent shift in policy is necessary. An important and hopeful part of this is that it is also doable, and I know this because here, in the city of Cape Town, we are doing it.”
“At the moment, this city is able to protect its customers from up to two stages of loadshedding, thanks to our maintenance and our investment in the Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage Scheme.”
“Phase 1 of our tender for 200 MW of renewable energy from independent power producers is also at an advanced stage with contracts for this phase on track for final awarding in this year.”
“We also launched our biggest power tender yet, a 500 MW dispatchable energy tender. It is part of our plan to protect our residents from the first four stages of loadshedding within three years.”
Just energy transition
James Mackay, CEO of the Energy Council of SA, addressed a major theme of this year’s Enlit Africa event, namely Africa’s just energy transition in the face of the net-zero targets. He pointed out that global clean technology investment overtook financing of fossil fuel projects for the first time in 2022.
“We have to ask, who will provide the investment for a just energy transition (in Africa) and how do we address the triple challenge (of energy security, affordability and sustainability)? When doing that, addressing socio-economic challenges must be front and centre.”
“South Africa will decarbonise and we will transition,” Mackay stated. He warned, however, that being a late adopter of clean technology will further entrench the country’s problems. “If we can’t be agile enough to recognise the economic opportunities in clean technology, we will be excluded from global markets” he said.
Fourth dimension to energy trilemma
Vuyelwa Mahanyele, GE Vernova’s regional sales director for gas, sees a fourth dimension to the energy trilemma (finding a balance between security, affordability and sustainability), namely the need to develop large infrastructure projects and the need for the jobs and skills to create the energy required to lead the continent’s economic development. “Decarbonisation is not as straightforward as we want it to be. It’s not just renewable energy and batteries, which are critical.” She stated that both renewable energy sources and carbon emitting sources have a role play. “Without planning to incorporate both of these into our system, we won’t achieve energy security.”
Energy sector’s Uber experience
“This is an incredibly exciting time to be at the heart of it all for Africa,” said David Ashdown, the CEO of VUKA Group, the organisers of Enlit Africa. “For the energy industry of Africa, this is our Kodak moment, the Uber experience. Africa must embrace the future and the changes needed.”
International pavilions at Enlit Africa this year include Brazil, USA, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Egypt, China and Italy.
Meanwhile the STS Association is using the event to remind all municipalities and utilities about the approaching worldwide TID rollover in pre-payment meters on 24 November 2024. Any tokens generated after this date and utilising the 24bit TID will be rejected by the meters as being old tokens as the TID value embedded in the token will have reset back to 0.
In order to overcome this problem all meters will require key change tokens with the rollover bit set. “We urge every municipality and utility to get rolling, the time is now” says Franco Pucci of the STS Association.
The event is on at the CTICC in Cape Town until Thursday, 18 May.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal
About Enlit Africa
Enlit Africa (formerly African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa) is Africa’s leading exhibition and conference, gathering the power and energy industry’s most influential professionals and decision makers from across the continent for three days of relevant, accredited technical and strategic conference seminars, valuable networking opportunities and access to world-class products and solutions.