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Terence Creamer

Terence Creamer

Terence Creamer is the Editor of Engineering News and a Deputy Editor for Mining Weekly.

He also has editorial responsibility for Polity.org.za and Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa.

Tel: +2711 622 3744

Email: terence@engineeringnews.co.za

Editorial Insight

Taxing issue?

By: Terence Creamer     3rd February 2023 Unlike President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has requested the Eskom board to act unlawfully by not implementing a tariff decision arrived at by an independent regulator, various opposition parties and civil society groupings have, quite correctly, taken the matter to court for adjudication. The courts... 

Muddling problems and solutions

By: Terence Creamer     27th January 2023 South Africa’s power crisis is effectively death by a thousand cuts. It’s the consequence of decades of poor policy choices and inappropriate regulation, pitiable governance at Eskom, which enabled highly damaging political interference, and the extremely poor management of the old plants and... 

Regressive step

By: Terence Creamer     20th January 2023 The African National Congress’ resolution to relocate the country’s large State-owned enterprises (SOEs) under their line departments is a regressive step for governance and bad news for development and growth. The decision, post-apartheid, to uncouple Eskom, Transnet and the other dominant SOEs... 

‘Mutually dependent’

By: Terence Creamer     16th December 2022 German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Action, made two provocative points during the fourth German-African Business Summit, which took place in Sandton earlier this month. The first was that there can no longer be a trade-off between industrial... 

Disappointing outcome

By: Terence Creamer     9th December 2022 Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has attempted to put a positive gloss on its recent attempt to sell 16 slots on its Cape and Container corridors that resulted in only one applicant emerging as a potential third-party operator. In reality, it is not a positive outcome, particularly in light of the... 

Dire warning 

By: Terence Creamer     2nd December 2022 By this time next week, Eskom is likely, against the advice of some, to have shut Koeberg Unit 1 for an extended refuelling and maintenance programme that is scheduled to continue for between 180 and 200 days. The long-duration outage is part of an Eskom plan to extend the life of the nuclear... 

Recovery with risks

By: Terence Creamer     25th November 2022 Besides the shock resignation of acting generation MD Rhulani Mathebula, who himself stepped in to the role when Phillip Dukashe resigned in May, there were few surprises in Eskom’s latest state of the system update. The prognosis for loadshedding – which had already been implemented on 155 days... 

Just the start

By: Terence Creamer     18th November 2022 It has been a big couple of weeks for South Africa’s nascent and, at times, half-heartedly supported just energy transition. It began on the morning of November 4 when the World Bank Group approved a $497-million package for the ‘Komati Just Energy Transition Project’, which will include both... 

Stop playing politics

By: Terence Creamer     11th November 2022 Recent events confirm that, while South Africa’s energy transition is firmly under way, political obstacles persist – ones that are undermining not only ensuring speedy resolution to the country’s long-running electricity crisis but also increasingly placing the economy’s long-term... 

End of the road?

By: Terence Creamer     4th November 2022 After more than ten years of resistance, several years of defiance and many false starts in finding an acceptable resolution, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s announcement that Sanral’s R47-billion Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) debt is to be transferred to the national and Gauteng... 

Electric evolution

By: Terence Creamer     28th October 2022 The recent unveiling of the four independent power producers (IPPs) that succeeded in navigating Eskom’s inaugural leasing of grid-ready land in Mpumalanga included a number of important signposts in South Africa’s electricity market-reform journey. Firstly, it showed that, despite its deep... 

Cause versus effect

By: Terence Creamer     21st October 2022 The fabricated argument that the energy transition is to blame for loadshedding in South Africa, rather than the dismal performance of Eskom’s coal and nuclear plants, is a social-media staple these days and is increasingly making headway with some political, business and labour leaders. It’s a... 

Procurement problems

By: Terence Creamer     14th October 2022 Given the urgency to inject new electricity into South Africa’s load-shedding-prone grid, it is crucial that the procurement rhythm for utility scale projects be re-established and accelerated. This rhythm was seriously disrupted in 2015, when the State-captured Eskom leadership at the time... 

Debt in focus

By: Terence Creamer     7th October 2022 The load-shedding crisis and the attention given to the reconstitution of the Eskom board not only served to eclipse deliberations on Eskom’s request for a 32% tariff increase but also the linked issue of addressing the utility’s unsustainable R400-billion debt. CFO Calib Cassim made passing... 

No damp squib

By: Terence Creamer     30th September 2022 In any other year, Eskom’s request for a 32% tariff hike would have hogged the print and online media headlines and consumed hours of interview and talk-show time across all broadcast platforms. This year, however, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa’s) hearings were entirely... 

Vicious cycle

By: Terence Creamer     23rd September 2022 Eskom’s summer outlook presented to lawmakers recently is incredibly disturbing and shows that the near-term prognosis for security of supply is as bad as it’s ever been. Even though the utility’s ‘base case’ is premised on more realistic, albeit far higher, unplanned breakdowns of 13 000 MW,... 

Fatal flaws

By: Terence Creamer     16th September 2022 The 40-page judgment delivered earlier this month by High Court Judge President Selby Mbenenge in relation to the granting and renewal of an oil and gas exploration right to Shell and partners off the Eastern Cape coast is worthy of reflection given its implications for project development in... 

Fuller visibility

By: Terence Creamer     9th September 2022 The scale of South Africa’s energy transition challenge – and opportunity – is arguably not yet fully appreciated. Eskom itself estimates that at least R1.2-trillion in electricity investment will be required before 2035 simply to stabilise supply amid coal decommissioning. 

Crucial link

By: Terence Creamer     2nd September 2022 South Africans won’t agree with all the analysis and recommendations contained in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) latest report on South Africa. There is likely to be particular objection to the suggestion that an enforcement mechanism be developed to allow... 

Attention to detail

By: Terence Creamer     26th August 2022 From a high level the energy transition pathway for South Africa is clear. The country needs to shift from a highly centralised, top-down market structure to a more decentralised and bidirectional model, involving many more participants. 

No big bang

By: Terence Creamer     19th August 2022 Some sense seems to have prevailed at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) regarding the implementation of a new electricity price determination methodology. In a statement confirming that the deadline for comments on the proposed methodology has been extended, the regulator... 

End of the beginning

By: Terence Creamer     12th August 2022 It goes without saying that having a plan to tackle load-shedding represents little more than the ‘end of the beginning’. That’s not to in any way undermine the importance of that beginning. Without the July 25 plan there would be little or no prospect of overcoming the immediate problem of... 

Energy required

By: Terence Creamer     5th August 2022 Opponents of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s strategy for tackling South Africa’s 14-year-old electricity crisis continue to argue, without evidence, that the interventions will have no impact on load-shedding because of the absence of ‘baseload’. In reality, there is no, and never has been, a... 

Confusing signals

By: Terence Creamer     29th July 2022 Given the high levels of mistrust and misinformation in energy markets currently it has become increasingly difficult to discern what is required to improve the situation in the short-term, while also ensuring that those immediate actions do not come back to haunt us in the future. Without doubt,... 

The need for speed

By: Terence Creamer     22nd July 2022 A recent bidders conference hosted by the Independent Power Producer (IPP) Office was instructive for many reasons. For one, it highlighted the technical and legal sophistication of the procurement processes that have emerged, and evolved, since the start of the Renewable Energy Independent Power... 

Stage 6 shake-up

By: Terence Creamer     15th July 2022 It’s beyond maddening that it has taken 15 years for government to respond with any real sense of purpose to the intensifying and increasingly debilitating load-shedding crisis. Doubly so, given that there have been persistent warnings over the period that, despite zero to negative demand growth,... 

Tipping point?

By: Terence Creamer     8th July 2022 The implementation of Stage 6 load-shedding in late June should surely be viewed as a tipping point in the electricity crisis. True, the unlawful and unacceptably violent labour protests merely exacerbated an entrenched reality. 

Slow but steady

By: Terence Creamer     1st July 2022 Some solid, albeit slow, progress is being made to convert the $8.5-billion offer of concessional climate finance to accelerate South Africa’s transition from coal to renewables and to support workers and communities currently reliant on the coal value chain into project transactions. It has been... 

With political will, there’s a way

By: Terence Creamer     24th June 2022 Besides analysis that has been conducted by Eskom in recent months to find solutions to South Africa’s intensifying electricity crisis, there are now at least three well-considered public-interest proposals outlining how the scourge of load-shedding can be ended over the coming two years. The... 

Settle on a solution

By: Terence Creamer     17th June 2022 There is no scarcity of advice on how best to stabilise Eskom and end the load-shedding crisis, which a new Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) report shows intensified again in 2021 to its worst-ever level. The report shows that load-shedding occurred for 13% of the year, when... 

Cut procurement coat to grid cloth

By: Terence Creamer     10th June 2022 As Eskom moves to draft a comprehensive plan for ending the protracted electricity crisis, a series of interesting proposals are emerging on ways to end load-shedding over the coming two years. Most commentators agree that there is an urgent need to accelerate the introduction of new electricity... 

Glimmers of light

By: Terence Creamer     3rd June 2022 Two recent energy events offered glimmers of light amid the intensifying risk of power cuts and the creeping threat of worker and community dislocation as a result of the transition from coal to renewables. The Joburg Energy Indaba, which attracted much media attention and hundreds of delegates,... 

Bedevilled

By: Terence Creamer     27th May 2022 The gap between infrastructure ambition and implementation is now widening faster than the country’s power utility is able to shift its load-shedding stages from two to four. While the electricity generation shortfall of up to 6 000 MW is the most high-profile backlog not being closed, a report... 

Much still to do

By: Terence Creamer     20th May 2022 There is no question that Operation Vulindlela has done a good job in identifying the main obstacles to important structural reforms in key growth- and job-creating sectors such as electricity, transport, water, tourism, and digital infrastructure. There is also no doubt that the initiative,... 

Procurement delays

By: Terence Creamer     13th May 2022 News that the 25 solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind projects selected late last year as preferred bids would not achieve financial close by the end of April as advertised came as no surprise. There had been murmurings about difficulties in the run-up to the deadline and a precedent for a delay had... 

Politics of power

By: Terence Creamer     6th May 2022 The politics surrounding both Eskom and South Africa’s now protracted electricity crisis has always been problematic. It was politics that prevented the implementation of the necessary market reforms, as outlined in the 1998 White Paper, that would have gone some way to ensuring that South... 

New look and feel

By: Terence Creamer     29th April 2022 Dear valued reader, Those of you who receive the physical Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine will no doubt have noticed already that we have made a fairly dramatic change to our paper. 

Breaking point?

By: Terence Creamer     22nd April 2022 There will be much interest in the coming days as to whether all 25 of the wind and solar photovoltaic projects named as preferred bids in October are able to reach financial close. The projects were selected following bid window five (BW5) of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer... 

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