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Renewable energy engineering firm AfiCoast Engineers SA has announced that a new company,
AfriCoast Energy, will now be responsible for all future renewable energy projects - particulary
wind and solar - while it will also play a key role in guiding AfriCoast Engineers' current
basket of renewable energy projects.

Industry News

Opinion: Could Eskom be repurposed to become training ground for the energy transition?

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One of the most common remedies proposed for addressing Eskom’s financial and operational problems is that of reducing jobs at the state-owned utility. The argument is premised on the view that Eskom is massively overstaffed and that its headcount should, thus, be reduced to help lower costs and boost efficiencies. Eskom is indeed a large employer, with about 39 000 people staffing its generation, transmission and distribution units (total of 47 000 employees on group level), and its payroll made up about 15% of total revenues of 180-billion in financial year 2018/19. Even if the utility were to pursue aggressive downsizing, however, it is unlikely that it would be able to realistically reduce its headcount by more than about 10% over the coming five years. Reducing its total payroll by 10% would, in turn, reduce its cost base by less than 1.5%.

Opinion: Why should SA’s post-Covid-19 stimulus incorporate a big green-energy component?

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Governments around the world are grappling with ways to reignite their economies and limit the duration of recessions precipitated by the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. South Africa is no different. Naturally, the first response of the South African authorities has been to direct limited fiscal resources towards bolstering the capacity of the health system to respond to the pandemic. Thereafter, the focus shifted to schemes designed to sustain social-welfare support for the most vulnerable, while offering some income protection for wage earners and some support for businesses in distress.

Opinion: Could coal miners be incentivised to support the transition to renewables?

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Coal, which has been the workhorse of South Africa’s electricity system for generations, will continue to play a significant role for years to come. Those coal-fired power stations that remain in operation will also need to secure continued supplies of the energy mineral and Eskom has expressed a preference for doing this through long-term contracts. There is a risk, however, that these long-term coal-supply agreements could lock in South Africa’s coal dependence at a time when many countries are starting to actively retreat from coal and when the international community is considering the imposition of trade and investment penalties against products with a high carbon footprint. Already, it is becoming increasingly difficult to raise bank finance for coal-related investments and this trend is likely to only intensify.

Opinion: How can SA avoid high costs and great regret when procuring emergency power?

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When released in October, the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP 2019) highlighted that South Africa would face an electricity capacity shortfall of between 2 000 and 3 000 Megawatts (MW) for the coming three years, as well as relatively modest energy deficits (measured in Gigawatt-hours, or GWh) over the period. Subsequent analysis by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) points to a larger capacity deficit (up to 8 000 MW) and dramatically larger yearly energy shortages ...

Opinion: Is land a constraint to a renewables-led energy system in South Africa?

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When the question arises as to what South Africa’s most abundant source of energy is, the usual answer is coal. South Africa has built almost its entire electricity system, as well as a good portion of its liquid-fuels industry, on the back of its plentiful reserves of coal. Furthermore, it is estimated that there is still another 33 Gigatonnes (Gt, where 1 Gt = 1 billion tonnes) of the energy mineral yet to be mined, which equates to about 300 years at current rate of domestic consumption. In reality, though, South Africa‘s solar and wind resources are infinitely more ‘abundant’ than its coal resources. Instead of mining these renewable resources, however, technologies need to be deployed to ‘harvest’ them. To do this involves not only solar panels and wind turbines, but land.

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