Some of the critical projects to be implemented over the short-term under the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) between South Africa and various other countries, including the US and the UK, may start before the next United Nations (UN) Climate Change conference, or COP27, early in November, confirmed Presidential Climate Finance Task Team (PCFTT) head Daniel Mminele on June 22.

He hosted a media briefing alongside the UK’s COP26 envoy and International Partners Group chairperson John Murton to update stakeholders on where the JETP stands.

Eskom CEO André de Ryuter reports that the utility will host its first roundtable with local and international energy experts on Friday June 24 to discuss solutions to the country’s electricity crisis and ongoing load-shedding. Speaking during a briefing to explain a decision to extend rotational power cuts, owing to a combination of coal plant breakdowns, delays in returning Koeberg Unit 2 to service, as well as a need to replenish diesel stocks at the open-cycle gas turbines and pump water into the upper dams at its pumped storage facilities, De Ruyter stressed that Eskom had no role in crafting energy policy.
State-owned electricity utility Eskom has confirmed that it has awarded battery energy storage system (BESS) contracts to two supplies for projects with a combined capacity of 199 MW/833 MWh. CEO André de Ruyter confirmed on Wednesday that the projects, which are being funded through a World Bank loan, will cost R11-billion.
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) announced on Tuesday that three proposed design concepts for nuclear fission power on the surface of the Moon had been selected for further development. Nasa was working jointly with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop nuclear technologies for use in space, and the three contracts, each worth some $5-million, would be awarded through the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory. The aim was to develop initial design concepts for 40-kW class nuclear fission power plants, that would have an operational life of at least ten years. The 12-month contracts were being awarded to three consortia. They were – Lockheed Martin (consortium leader), BWXT and Creare; Westinghouse (leader) and Aerojet Rocketdyne; and IX (a joint venture of Intuitive Machines and X-Energy, and consortium leader), Maxar and Boeing.
State-owned utility Eskom CEO André de Ruyter wants Mpumalanga to be the focal point for investment in renewable energy generation capacity to leverage the province’s well established transmission grid and to mitigate the potential for mass unemployment in the province as coal-fired power stations are systematically decommissioned over the next decade. While it has been well-established that the best naturally-occurring wind and solar resources in South Africa are located in the Northern Cape province, the region is poorly served by the existing transmission grid.
Belgium-based international engineering and consultancy group Tractebel has been selected to head a research and innovation consortium, designated Pulsar, to conduct research into dynamic radioactive power systems (RPS), on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA). The RPS being researched would be powered by plutonium-238 (Pu-238). Tractebel was previously awarded a contract by ESA to investigate the practicality of producing Pu-238 in Europe. Pu-238 is not suitable for use in nuclear weapons and most Pu-238 produced over the years (all in Russia or the US) has been used to power spacecraft. The new ESA contract complements, and takes forward, that work.
A Just Energy Transition Partnership Investment Plan (JETP-IP), which will seek to unlock $8.5-billion in concessional climate finance to accelerate South Africa’s transition from coal to renewables and support workers and communities currently reliant on the coal value chain, is expected to be finalised by October for sign-off during the COP27 climate talks in Egypt in November. The JETP-IP, a first draft and revision of which are expected in July and September respectively, is viewed as the crucial next step in the conversion of a Political Declaration signed at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, last year between South Africa, and the International Partners Group (IPG) of France, Germany, the UK, the US, and the European Union.
Eskom will implement Stage 2 load-shedding between 10:00 and midnight on Wednesday, and between 05:00 and midnight from Thursday to Sunday. The power utility said the load-shedding was due to the breakdown of four generation units on Wednesday morning, which contributed to the capacity constraints.