I was more than a little irritated after this interview. Not because of the guests – although having a lawyer on one side and a banker on the other has its challenges. But rather, that the studio guests missed the real point. Which is why South Africa, as a developing country with under half a percentage point of global GDP, insists on trying to position itself as the world leader in reducing carbon emissions. Ah, said the hairless lawyer after the programme, but if we don’t our manufactured products won’t be able to be sold anywhere. What manufactured products is a more appropriate question.
A respected energy-policy academic has called on President Jacob Zuma to appoint a commission of inquiry into South Africa’s worst electricity crisis in 40 years and to offer policy proposals for reforming Eskom and the sector.
Writing in the Business Day, Anton Eberhard, who is professor of management of infrastructure reform and regulation at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and a member of the National Planning Commission (NPC), said there was historical precedent for such an inquiry in the form of the 1983 De Villiers Commission.
State-owned power utility Eskom has made significant changes to its transmission infrastructure expansion plan for the coming ten years, owing to financial constraints that made its previous plan “no longer realistic”.
Group executive for transmission Mongezi Ntsokolo reported on Friday that the latest Transmission Development Plan (TDP), covering the period from 2015 to 2024, had been revised to align with available funding.
Some concern has been expressed about recent delays to South Africa’s hitherto successful Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), under which 26 projects have already been connected to the grid following three bid windows during which more than 60 mostly solar and wind projects were selected to proceed.
Green power is coming on stream, but it is not without quite a few teething problems.
Driving north on the N10 past what once was elephant territory of the Eastern Cape, vervet monkeys forage alongside the road, monitor lizards sun themselves. Curiously, the further away you get from the windy city of Port Elizabeth – moving closer to the small town of Cookhouse – the more rapidly the steel blades on the wind pumps along the road spin.