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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: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

Editorial Insight

Extraordinary Change 

By: Terence Creamer     22nd March 2019 Some major changes are under way on both the supply and the demand sides of the global oil market. On the demand side, petrochemicals and jet fuel have emerged as key drivers of oil growth, as gasoline demand slows as a result of efficiency gains and the rise of electric cars. The International... 

Premature Deindustrialisation?

By: Terence Creamer     15th March 2019 Despite the ongoing transition to one where industrial activity is increasingly supported by digitalisation, automation and artificial intelligence, primary steel production remains something of bellwether for the state of a country’s industrial development. Likewise, the steel intensity of an... 

Pushing back

By: Terence Creamer     8th March 2019 Government has finally started to push back against those who blame renewable energy and independent power producers (IPPs) for the current woes at Eskom. Energy Minister Jeff Radebe moved recently to put the record straight on the effect, or lack thereof, that IPPs have on Eskom’s finances. He... 

Potential gridlock

By: Terence Creamer     1st March 2019 Besides confirming additional financial support for Eskom in his Budget address last week, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and the National Treasury also used the occasion to add flesh to the bones of Eskom’s unbundling. In fact, the R69-billion allocation for the coming three years – as well as... 

Time to reach out

By: Terence Creamer     22nd February 2019 It has been death by a thousand cuts. Failed by a series of short-sighted politicians, misguided policymakers and inept executives, Eskom is now truly broke and broken. The utility’s costs have continued to swell amid flat-lining demand, leaving its technically insolvent. Debt has risen to... 

Listen to the customer?

By: Terence Creamer     15th February 2019 One of the most hotly contested technical points debated during the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa’s) nationwide hearings into Eskom’s application for allowable revenue of R863-billion for the coming three-year period related to the elasticity of electricity demand. Eskom is... 

Action louder than words

By: Terence Creamer     8th February 2019 Organised business is responding positively and proactively to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to place higher growth at the heart of his Presidency, which is all but certain to continue beyond the upcoming elections. Under the aegis of the Public-Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), 19 sectors... 

Gaping wound 

By: Terence Creamer     1st February 2019 The World Bank’s latest South Africa Economic Update contains a fact box headlined ‘What is the state of human capital in South Africa?’ that is beyond disturbing. Drawing information form its recently unveiled Human Capital Index (HCI), the bank shows that South Africa’s education and health... 

Missing element

By: Terence Creamer     25th January 2019 It has taken nearly ten years – and counting – for South Africa to update its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity. The draft document is currently wending its way though the final, excruciating stages of a revision process that has been under way since August. Some adjustments will be... 

The real challenge facing the Eskom task team

By: Terence Creamer     18th January 2019 The most recent financial and operational crises at Eskom have brought to the fore the serious economic risks associated with relying on an entity that is simply too big to fail. Its governance problems, meanwhile, have highlighted the social, political and reputational risks of allowing such an... 

Wood for the trees

By: Terence Creamer     14th December 2018 With so many urgent problems to deal with at Eskom, it has become difficult to see wood for the trees. As is to be expected in a crisis, the focus is very much on the short-term remedies. Besides the possible debt bail-out, it’s about shoring up immediate coal stocks, fixing badly maintained... 

Reality check 

By: Terence Creamer     7th December 2018 It is certainty not news to anyone that Eskom “as it is conceived and is operating today is not sustainable”. Nevertheless, that fact that chairperson Jabu Mabuza made this statement so bluntly at last week’s interim results presentation is refreshing and terrifying in equal measure. It is... 

Eskom: reality versus conspiracy

By: Terence Creamer     30th November 2018 Albeit on the margins, the unfolding narrative suggesting that the current leaders within government and at Eskom are part of a grand conspiracy to weaken the State-owned utility to the point where it is broken up and privatised, is at once maddening and dangerous. It is doubly infuriating... 

Spikes and opportunities

By: Terence Creamer     23rd November 2018 As an oil price taker, South Africa should be deeply concerned about the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) warning of possible “damaging price spikes in the 2020s” should the current weak investment in new oil supply is left unchecked. This supply crunch warning is contained in the agency’s... 

Building bridges to future

By: Terence Creamer     16th November 2018 By circumstance rather than design, the end states of several of South Africa’s largest – and most troubled – State-owned companies (SoCs) are becoming increasingly discernible. National carrier South African Airways (SAA) is unlikely to be closed, but it will eventually have a strategic equity... 

Powering a jobs compact

By: Terence Creamer     9th November 2018 The recent comment period on the draft Integrated Resource Plan 2018 (IRP 2018) proved useful in bringing to the fore a number of important issues relating to the future of electricity generation in South Africa. The process also represented a refreshing departure from previous failed attempts at... 

Industry at a crossroads

By: Terence Creamer     2nd November 2018 South Africa’s electricity sector, from generation to distribution, is at a crossroads. The traditional business model is being disrupted and not merely by the introduction of utility-scale independent power producers. Globally, the disruption of the industry is no longer driven only, or even... 

IRP decision time

By: Terence Creamer     26th October 2018 The comment period for the draft Integrated Resource Plan 2018 has closed and it’s now up to the Department of Energy (DoE) to sift through the responses and assess whether or not any adjustments should be made before asking Cabinet to approve the final version. The draft has been generally... 

Supportive climate

By: Terence Creamer     19th October 2018 South Africans were naturally preoccupied on October 8 with whether or not Nhlanhla Nene’s offer to resign as Finance Minister would be accepted by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who subsequently appointed Tito Mboweni to the post. On that same day, however, representatives from 195 countries... 

Electrically mobile 

By: Terence Creamer     12th October 2018 Following a somewhat questionable hiatus in September, petrol and diesel prices resumed their sheer climbs in October, leaving motorist with the financial equivalent of altitude sickness. The decision to freeze prices last month (apart from a 4.9c/l increase to cater for a wage settlement) was... 

Recovery is the key word

By: Terence Creamer     5th October 2018 “It’s still in the morning, it’s not a midnight special,” President Cyril Ramaphosa jested ahead of his speech at the Union Building last month to unveil the contents of government’s economic stimulus and recovery plan. While obviously light-hearted, the quirky introduction is important for two... 

On the mend?

By: Terence Creamer     28th September 2018 Business confidence is at debilitating low levels and trust between government and business remains fragile after the abusive Zuma years. Nevertheless, there are some encouraging signs that the relationship is on the mend, albeit at such a high level that it will take time to filter through to... 

Promise amid the gloom

By: Terence Creamer     21st September 2018 Analogies between the state of South Africa and Bafana Bafana were easy to make after the team’s disappointing draw with Libya in Durban earlier this month. As with the national team, the atmosphere surrounding the country is far from supportive, despite a decidedly improved global economic... 

‘We can’t do expensive’

By: Terence Creamer     14th September 2018 During a recent panel discussion on the ‘electricity utility of the future’ the Energy Intensive Users Group of Southern Africa’s Piet van Staden made the point that industry could deal with complexity, but “we can’t do expensive”. He was speaking the day after Energy Minister Jeff Radebe... 

Join the least-cost highway

By: Terence Creamer     7th September 2018 The release of a draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) for public comment, is an extremely positive development. Likewise, the document’s acknowledgement that the least-cost new build option for South Africa to 2030 is a combination of solar, wind and gas represents major progress. This... 

Power Shifts

By: Terence Creamer     31st August 2018 Electricity nerds such as myself are bracing themselves for a breathless few months, with significant developments on the horizon. Much of the focus will be on the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which has finally been released for public comment. This is a critical document and it is... 

Milestones & Opportunities

By: Terence Creamer     24th August 2018 Fresh analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), showing that the combined installed base of wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) generators breached the one-terawatt mark at the end of June, offered statistical confirmation of an energy transition that is now in full swing. Of this total, wind... 

Wood for the trees

By: Terence Creamer     17th August 2018 Asset manager Stanlib is currently flighting a fascinating series of radio adverts, which pose the question: Was your money ready for this week? The fast-paced spots, which air on Fridays, pull together the key political, economic and corporate developments of a given week. These range from... 

Tipping point?

By: Terence Creamer     10th August 2018 The dust has well and truly settled on of the tenth Brics summit, hosted in Johannesburg last month. While the event was generally viewed as positive from a South African perspective, it failed to capture the popular imagination. Most public interest centred on whether Russia’s strongman... 

Has anything changed?

By: Terence Creamer     3rd August 2018 It would arguably be easier for a novice cyclist to take on Tour de France’s fabled Alpe d'Huez ascent than for the new leadership at Eskom to restore credibility. Besides load-shedding and extreme tariff hikes, the State-owned utility’s reputation has been all but decimated by allegations... 

Tight & Loose?

By: Terence Creamer     27th July 2018 The national security veto included in the Competition Amendment Bill, tabled before Parliament last week, has attracted much attention and criticism. Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel argues that the veto is so tightly framed that it should pose no deterrent to potential foreign... 

Time to embrace a Wild Boars spirit

By: Terence Creamer     20th July 2018 The evacuation of the 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand serves as a powerful reminder of just what is possible when people unite behind a common project. Success was far from guaranteed, but the mission would have failed at the very... 

Rediscovering Mandela

By: Terence Creamer     13th July 2018 The great leadership challenge of our times is to make the correct decisions, and implement them, in a world that is increasingly failing to recognise that the destiny of all humanity is as tightly interwoven as a seamless cloth. One of the extreme ironies of the so-called connected generation is... 

Derisking Eskom

By: Terence Creamer     6th July 2018 The term ‘too big to fail’ came to the fore during the so-called Great Recession, which arose after America’s sub-prime mortgage crisis triggered the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008. The concept was attached to those businesses in the financial sector that had become so large as to make... 

Think demand

By: Terence Creamer     29th June 2018 At any gathering where South Africans convene to deliberate on the country’s economic predicament, one well-worn narrative will inevitably arise. It begins with the statement that South Africa is endowed with natural resources that are second to none. What follows is a lamentation about the fact... 

Conflicting strategies?

By: Terence Creamer     22nd June 2018 Eskom may have a technical case for reviewing the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa’s) tariff determination for 2018/19. However, it’s not fully clear how the move gels with its intention to claw back energy-intensive customers lost over the past decade and a bit largely as a... 

Power shift

By: Terence Creamer     15th June 2018 One of the more interesting exchanges during the recent gathering of energy stakeholders in Johannesburg arose as a result of a question posed to Energy Minister Jeff Radebe by Wits Business School Energy Leadership Centre director Dr Rod Crompton. Crompton, who is a former full-time regulator at... 

Policy posers 

By: Terence Creamer     8th June 2018 South African energy policymakers would be well advised to take note a few recent reports as they move to finalise the long-awaited update to the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity, as well as the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP). The first of these is titled ‘Status of Power System... 

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