Coal ad­dic­tion

Finweek English Edition - - IN THE NEWS -

Good news has been in short sup­ply at Eskom, so it’s wel­come to hear that the mas­sive short­age in coal sup­ply that the util­ity said was a prob­a­bil­ity from 2018 now looks to be less likely.

Un­for­tu­nately, this is cold com­fort. One of the rea­sons the so-called ‘coal sup­ply cliff ’ won’t ma­te­ri­alise is down to the fact that South Africa’s eco­nomic growth is slow­ing and elec­tric­ity de­mand is ex­pected to fall be­neath pre­vi­ous growth rate es­ti­mates.

At the same time, Eskom has also met with some suc­cess in its ef­forts to se­cure new sources of coal de­spite say­ing that there wasn’t enough new in­vest­ment in the sec­tor. In fact, a sig­nif­i­cant amount of un­con­tracted coal had been iden­ti­fied and was in “var­i­ous stages of ne­go­ti­a­tion”.

That’s ac­cord­ing to Vusi Mboweni, act­ing ex­ec­u­tive of Eskom’s pri­mary en­ergy di­vi­sion, who also said that coal would re­main as cen­tral to the coun­try’s en­erg y gen­er­a­tion as it ever was, re­gard­less of the push to­wards re­new­able and nu­clear forms of en­ergy.

Speak­ing at the IHS En­ergy South African Ex­port Coal Con­fer­ence 2015 ear­lier t his month, Mboweni said that coal was cur­rently “the dom­i­nant re­source” for elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion in SA. “There had been a lot of talk about this coal cliff that Eskom was fac­ing,” he said. “This trend [of in­creased coal us­age] is ex­pected to con­tinue for the fore­see­able fu­ture.”

Quite what this means for the re­draft of the In­te­grated Re­source Plan (IRP), a blue­print for SA’s en­ergy mix in the fu­ture, is up for con­jec­ture.

Ini­tially writ­ten to en­sure an in­crease in the amount of en­ergy sourced from re­new­able en­ergy sources, as well as nu­clear, the new IRP, which is yet to

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