By: Matthew Hill
30th January 2008
In our lead story this week:
South Africa has unveiled plans to cut the country’s electricity consumption by 10% over the next six months, in an attempt to deal with the prevailing power crisis.
This new plan comes as industry and mines took a hammering this week, when Eskom could not guarantee uninterrupted supply, forcing many companies to suspend operations.
The programme will initially centre on load shedding and preemptive load curtailment, but will later introduce power rationing.
This latest plan will run in conjunction with government’s electricity conservation programme, which hopes to save 3 500 MW through interventions such as solar power, efficient lighting, metering and fuel switching.
But despite the electricity situation being declared a “national emergency” and making international news headlines, the government insists that power constraints are not deterring investment.
Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin:
The country’s power crisis is also taking its toll on the steel industry, with one of the country’s largest producer warning that it cannot meet its clients’ demands.
ArcelorMittal South Africa CEO Rick Reato says the company’s output will take a knock of 300 000 t if the electricity supply problems continue for two more weeks.
A Johannesburg-based analyst describes the situation as disappointing and says the company may have to reconsider its expansion plans. He also says that fears of a short-term steel shortage are indeed warranted.
Petrochemicals giant Sasol has resumed normal production capacity at its plants producing transportation fuels to the inland region, laying to rest concerns that country’s pumps may run dry.
But while a short-term shortage may not be an immediate threat, experts warn that a huge liquid fuels shortage is looming as a result of the country’s economy growth patterns.
Independent power producer Ipsa has signed a deal with the Central Energy Fund for a key role to the integrated energy project being developed at the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape.
Under the agreement, Ipsa will install a 521-MW open-cycle gas turbine plant and will look at building four more plants with the same capacity.
Also in this week’s Engineering News Online:
Global defence group BAE Systems will transfer the development and production of the new Pinzgauer military vehicles to the group’s Benoni site.
Cement producer PPC says growth in regional cement demand will cool this year, following double-digit rates for a number of years.
Global steel output reached a new record in 2007, growing to 1,34-billion tons. This is an increase of 7,5% from 2006 and the fifth consecutive year that steel production grew by more than 7%.
And in this week’s Engineering News magazine, out on Friday, read our cover story Africa’s presence in space.
We also have in-depth coverage of South Africa’s current power instability deepening into an economic crisis and some of the short-term measures that can be put in place to help both reduce demand and increase supply.
Finally, don’t miss our features on materials handling & logistics and gas.
That’s a round up of this week’s stories on Creamer Media’s Engineering News. For more on these and other stories, visit engineeringnews.co.za
Edited by: Mariaan Webb