Can South Africa become energy sufficient by 2019?
The southern region of South Africa is expected to achieve energy sufficiency by 2019, simultaneously eliminating its current 8,247 megawatt (MW) shortfall.
According to our sister publication African Business Review, energy ministers recently gathered at the South African Development Community (SADC) to highlight projects that are currently under construction but are expected to soon be completed, contributing 24,062 MW to the energy landscape.
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Approximately 70 percent of the amount will be produced from renewable sources.
Remmy Makumbe, director of SADCs infrastructure and services directorate, noted that the lion’s share of the non-renewable generated energy would be produced by South Africa’s two new major coal-fired power stations, Medupe and Kusile, which are currently still in the construction phase. Once completed, they will have a combined capacity output of over 9,000 MW.
By 2019, all member states should charge tariffs for electricity that properly reflect production costs, noted Makumbe. So far, only Namibia and Tanzania have achieved “cost reflectivity.”
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By moving towards cost-reflective prices, the cost burden of states would reduce, the costs of constructing new and existing power plants would recover and independent producers would be encouraged to invest in establishing new plants.
According to the ministers, since 2014, 13 mainland SADC member states have commissioned 2,199 MW of generation capacity from both new and rehabilitated power plants (Angola 150 MW; South Africa 1,654 MW, Mozambique 150 MW and Zambia 245 MW).
“Makumbe and other energy ministers resolved to fast-track transmission projects that will bring Angola, Malawi and Tanzania into the 12-nation Southern African Power Pool, which is a common power grid and a common market for electricity in Southern Africa,” wrote African Business Review.
South Africa currently leads the way in generation capacity. Over 80 percent of the SADC members’ newly generated renewable energy is a direct result of the country’s Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP).
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.