South Africa – the difficult emergence of a new power industry

South Africa webinar September 2023

20 September 2023

12.00-13.00 BST (GMT+1), Online via Zoom

Major power consumers in South Africa are fleeing Eskom, its corruption, incompetence and its coal. Because this transformation is being led by the market and not the authorities it is inherently risky and unpredictable.

This online webinar set out to examine whether it is possible for most of the intensive energy users in the country to successfully implement very similar decarbonisation strategies.

To set the scene, the event started with a few data-driven slides – drawn from African Energy Live Data.

The webinar was chaired by African Energy managing director John Hamilton with participation from guests including:

  • Thomas Garner, CEO, Earth & Wire
  • James Mackay, CEO, Energy Council of South Africa
  • Mandy Rambharos, VP: Global Climate Cooperation, Environmental Defence Fund
  • John Smelcer, Head of Southern Africa, Globeleq

Points of discussion

  • Is it possible for nearly every major energy user in South Africa’s industrial heartland to switch its electricity consumption from coal-fired baseload on its doorstep to intermittent wind power wheeled in from the western coast or further afield?
  • Can enough transmission and storage infrastructure be installed to balance the grid operating in a different way to how it was designed?
  • How much more transmission capacity is needed? And can this be funded via the Just Energy Transition Partnership?
  • Faced with these challenges can the South African government, the energy regulator Nersa, and Eskom find a way of leading the transition, or are they destined forever to play catch-up in a market that is reforming itself out of necessity, without strategic leadership or guidance?

African Energy subscribers (newsletter or Live Data) and AIX members may login to the page to view the recording of the webinar and download the presentation.


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