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On-The-Air (24/02/2023)


24th February 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:

Kamwendo: Anglo American has 600 MW at the ready to help electrify South Africa, with another potential 5 000 MW in the wings.

Creamer: They said yesterday that they are on track to get 600 megawatts this year and that they are very glad that this has been declared a strategic integrated project, which makes things very much better. They feel they could even accelerate from the current base faster now, given the current encouragement.

They were looking at 3 000 megawatts, but they said they could probably take you to 5 000 megawatts now, which would be incredible from the private sector, because South Africa really needs action, we need new electrons on the system. We are not getting them out of Eskom at this stage. We hope that Wednesday’s Budget will help Eskom, because if they are better taken care of debt wise, perhaps they can put more into getting additional electrons to reduce loadshedding. We have just got to beat this loadshedding somehow. With the private sector coming in like Anglo is at the ready-go, it is a fantastic help and the sort of help that's needed at the moment.

Kamwendo: The mining industry has welcomed the tax break that is on offer for businesses that invest in electricity generation.

Creamer: When you look at the business sector and you look at the mining sector totally that could take us to another 10 000 megawatts. This should be stimulated further now by this great tax break. You know, even before the Minister of Finance gave this incredible tax break during the Budget, a 125% over two years, mines were already greatly aware of the business case to self-generate electricity.

Many businesses have already seen the opportunity to lower their costs by going into renewable energy. With this tax break, it should now really soar ahead. The incentive is not that great for the smaller rooftop householder, that is R15 000 rebate, but on the business side 125% over two years is really been welcomed by Minerals Council South Africa. I am sure it is going to be a massive stimulus to get more electrons into the system at a quicker pace.

Kamwendo: The Hydrogen Corridor from Limpopo to KwaZulu-Natal will create 14 000 new jobs.

Creamer: The hydrogen side of it is there and waiting. We should not be concerned about how much extra electricity we put onto the system. The more the better because in this day and age, you can see all around the world and I can hardly count them around the world, there are so many green hydrogen projects on the go at the moment to take up the excess of renewable energy. This is what it should be because the sun shines at a time when you are using the least solar power.

The wind blows often when you don't need it. So you can store that and you can store it not only in batteries, but when the battery is full, you can put it in to storage as green hydrogen, into existing facilities. That hydrogen is electricity-in-waiting. I am looking at a diagram right now which shows the plan of the proposed Hydrogen Corridor, from Polokwane through Gauteng to Durban. The chart shows the first trial phase beginning this year, when 20 buses will be served by hydrogen trucks, filling them with hydrogen.

That will go over three years to 300 buses and then 500 trucks, so South Africa is pretty serious about this corridor project, which is being led by Bambili Energy, a women-led company that is entering the globally expanding hydrogen space.

Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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