Eskom latest: utility sees 500 megawatts possible in land lease


Eskom has issued a second tender for land leases that could see the building of as much as 500 megawatts of generation capacity, it said in a statement.

The request for proposals, that will close on February 27, is part of a program to encourage private producers to develop projects that will contribute to electricity supply. The four parcels of land in the latest phase are in Mpumalanga province.

The initial process concluded lease agreements with five independent producers for the development of an estimated 1,800 megawatts.

Cape Town to Seek 1 GW of Power Supply (Jan. 26 13:29 p.m.)

Cape Town, South Africa’s second-biggest city, plans to make its biggest attempt yet to reduce its reliance on the ailing national power utility by holding a tender next month for the provision of as much as 1,000 megawatts of power to the municipality.

The tender will seek so-called dispatchable power, which can be supplied whenever it is needed from anywhere in the country. The move comes as the country’s endures its worst-ever energy crisis, with Eskom struggling to meet demand and imposing record blackouts.

Cape Town’s plans follow legislation passed in 2020 that allows municipalities to buy electricity from providers other than Eskom.

Johannnesburg Weighs Power Fund (Jan. 26 12:50 p.m.)

The City of Johannesburg is considering establishing an infrastructure fund to finance a R400 million plan to implement measures aimed at mitigating power outages, Mayor Mpho Phalatse said.

The money would be used to fund the recommissioning of emergency power plants, the implementation of a system to regulate high-energy use equipment such as geysers and swimming pool motors, and the implementation of a smart-meter system to limit the amount of electricity distributed to residents’ homes, Phalatse said at a media briefing on Thursday.

The city plans to approach development-finance institutions, private companies and the government to finance the project, she said.

Blackouts Threaten Platinum Mines (Jan. 26, 11 a.m.) 

South Africa’s worst-ever power blackouts that curbed platinum and palladium output in 2022 continue to pose a threat to production, according to Impala Platinum.

“If things don’t get better soon, then we are likely to have a worse period this year than last,” the company’s spokesman Johan Theron said in an interview. “If it gets worse, it will get to a point when you have certain days where we will stop sending people underground.”

South Africa mines roughly 70% of the world’s platinum and about 40% of all palladium, according to Metals Focus Ltd. Both are mainly used in autocatalysts that cut auto emissions.

ANC Blames Everyone But Itself for Power Crisis (Jan. 25, 7:10 p.m.)

Senior members of South Africa’s governing African National Congress blamed a range of factors outside their control for an electricity crisis that a labor union ally said is likely to cost the party victory in next year’s elections.

Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe told a meeting in Johannesburg that state power utility Eskom isn’t showing the required urgency to improve its coal-fired plants and an emergency-procurement program has been scuppered by lawsuits. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan added that Eskom, which he oversees, has suffered a series of mishaps and is hobbled by corruption.

Eskom Ramps Up Power Cuts as Generators Break (Jan. 25, 6:04 p.m.)

Eskom cut 5 000 megawatts instead of 3 000 megawatts from the national grid from 5am on Thursday after four generating units broke down and another two couldn’t be returned to service. The utility plans to oscillate between 4 000-megawatt and 5 000-megawatt rolling blackouts until midnight Sunday.

Eskom Weighs Nuclear Fuel Impact After Pact Ends (Jan. 25, 3:56 p.m.)

Eskom is examining how the suspension of a pact that enables it to import nuclear fuel components from the US will affect its sole atomic plant.

The Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between the US and South Africa expired on December 4. That resulted in Westinghouse Electric Co. losing its license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to export fuel-assembly components to Eskom’s Koeberg plant near Cape Town.

The development may frustrate Eskom’s efforts to end record nationwide power outages that are crimping the economy. The matter could be raised with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is visiting South Africa this week.

ANC Energy Crisis Meeting Disrupted by Blackout (Jan. 25, 4:30 p.m.)

An energy conference in Johannesburg organized by the ANC was disrupted when a scheduled blackout meant that online speakers couldn’t be heard. After about 15 minutes of disruption, online attendees were directed to the party’s social media accounts to watch the rest of the meeting.

Capital City Owes Eskom $81 Million (Jan. 25, 11:58 a.m.)

The Tshwane municipality, which South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, owes Eskom R1.4 billion for electricity.

Tshwane has been “erratic” in paying its bill and that exacerbates Eskom’s cash-flow crisis, the company said in statement on Wednesday. The utility threatened in August to disconnect the municipality.

“Eskom does not have the financial capacity to finance the City of Tshwane’s operations and calls on the city to do right by its residents and pay the bulk electricity account to enable Eskom to continue supplying electricity to the city,” it said.

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