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Friday, April 3, 2009.
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Sheila Barradas.
Making headlines today:
South Africa's Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has warned that the country continues to suffer from a perilously low electricity reserve margin. She also reiterated government's call for power savings of 10%.
While the Minister acknowledged that there had been few recent disruptions, she said that this shouldn't be taken as a sign that the crisis had passed. Further, with winter approaching, saving levels of only 0,4% were insufficient.
Urgent steps would still be required to stabilise the system. Sonjica noted that South Africa was far off a comfortable reserve margin of between 17% and 20%.
However, Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga has given assurances that the country wasn't facing any imminent load-shedding events.
A study has shown that imports of ethanol from Africa could become essential for the European Union to meet its 10% renewable energy target in gasoline for road transport by 2020.
Massimo Marletto, consultant for African biofuels trade association PANGEA, said that with the ethanol production in place at the moment, factories under construction and those planned, the EU would still have a deficit of five to eight billion litres of ethanol by 2020.
He said that the EU would have to build between 40 and 62 new factories with an average capacity of 129-million litres of ethanol. However, he noted that this was highly improbable.
Africa's biofuels potential is largely unexploited due to a lack of political commitment, proper legislative frameworks and industry incentives. But industry analysts say biofuels could prove valuable for the continent if implemented properly.
Also making headlines:
The Competition Commission reports that a strong flow of construction sector bid-rigging cases have been received.
Vehicle sales and exports continue to plummet.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that crime and corruption is hurting business sentiment.
And, power utility Eskom'ssecond unit at its Koeberg nuclear power station shuts down automatically after a technical fault.
That's a round up of news making headlines today. For more on these and other stories please visit engineeringnews.co.za.