2 April 2017

South Africa: Eskom's Electricity Surplus and Self-Inflicted Death Spiral


Amid the recent irrational conduct by a president who believes he is entitled to remove competent ministers from office in South Africa, we also see the conduct of leadership within State-Owned Entities (SOEs) who appear to act with equal irrationality and conduct that exposes Eskom's unsustainability. By TED BLOM.

Eskom's refusal to sign off on more renewable deals has featured in the headlines for several months now. Many do not understand Eskom's behaviour and serious slurs were aired at Eskom Management's reluctance to give effect to DOE agreements.

In order to better understand where the problem of "surplus power" started, one needs to cast one's mind back to the state of affairs reigning prior to 2010. Eskom had just recovered from the 2008 rolling blackouts and ruling party politicians promised the nation there would be no more blackouts "in our lifetime".

During the 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament, the electricity balance was again an issue, and might have resurfaced if the projected 500,000-plus "soccer visitors" had materialised. Vast additional temporary generation capacity was installed at all the stadiums and hotels. Bold calculations estimated that peak demand could increase by up to 5 GW. The low turnout of soccer tourists may...

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