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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

What crisis?

By: Terence Creamer     22nd October 2021 South Africa has experienced yet another terrible year of electricity supply disruption. Even before the most recent bout of power cuts in October, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research had indicated that load-shedding during the first half of 2021 was equivalent to more than 70% of... 

Transition risks

By: Terence Creamer     15th October 2021 Recent developments in Europe and Asia – which have seen oil, gas, coal and electricity prices surge, as well as supply disruptions – have raised questions globally about the energy transition, its trajectory and the resilience of future energy systems that are based increasingly on renewable... 

Worth exploring

By: Terence Creamer     8th October 2021 The Just Transition Transaction (JTT) proposal released by Meridian Economics last month to coincide with a visit of climate envoys from Europe, the US and the UK may be both massively ambitious and highly complex, yet it would be wrong to dismiss it. Unlike Eskom’s simpler plan – which focuses... 

Next step

By: Terence Creamer     1st October 2021 The importance of Cabinet’s approval of a revised and more ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) carbon mitigation target range for 2030 cannot be overstated. South Africa’s new 2030 range is 350 – 420 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt Co2-eq) and represents an improvement... 

Lessons from America?

By: Terence Creamer     24th September 2021 Recent signs of America’s weakening global economic, cultural, and military dominance notwithstanding, the country continues to play a superpower-sized role in shaping the international narrative, with oversized consequences for national debates. Be it Black Lives Matter, vaccine hesitancy,... 

Planetary alignment?

By: Terence Creamer     17th September 2021 Mining personality Bernard Swanepoel’s disarming sense of humour enables him to speak many a true word in jest without triggering offence. But he wasn’t joking when, in opening a recent webinar on the hydrogen economy, he indicated that he took pronouncements made inside African National Congress... 

Debt albatross

By: Terence Creamer     10th September 2021 While it’s been obvious for years, Eskom’s recent results once again showed that, absent a debt solution, the utility has no real pathway to financial sustainability. Yes, there are signs of progress on both costs and corruption, which together with restructuring, a stabilisation of operations... 

No time for complacency

By: Terence Creamer     3rd September 2021 The recent rebasing and benchmarking exercise undertaken by Statistics South Africa as part of a routine five-yearly review made for some relatively happy reading, especially given the constant flow of dire economic news, including the fact that unemployment rose to a record 34.4% in the second... 

Green vision

By: Terence Creamer     27th August 2021 South Africa is hardly ever short of a plan, yet the country hardly ever has a vision. That’s why Andre de Ruyter’s recent Van der Bijl Memorial Lecture was so refreshing. In his address, the Eskom CEO lifted his gaze beyond the group’s operational and environmental headaches, its near... 

Training and opportunity

By: Terence Creamer     20th August 2021 If South Africa is serious about ensuring that its transition to a low-carbon economy is a just one, then there is no question that the re-training of coal workers will have to be at the very heart of any social mitigation effort. Re-training alone, however, will not be sufficient to ensure that... 

Window of opportunity

By: Terence Creamer     13th August 2021 South Africa has a narrow window of opportunity to attract significant levels of international finance to support what is becoming an increasingly urgent transition away from coal, and to do so in a way that not only stimulates much needed investment but also fully integrates the country with... 

Hostile climate

By: Terence Creamer     6th August 2021 As the countdown clock to the Glasgow climate conference ticked past the 100-day mark late last month several deadly natural disasters, from floods and heat domes, provided stark reminders of the risk climate change is posing to humanity. In a recent address, John Kerry, who is America’s Special... 

Our thoughts at this difficult time

30th July 2021 2021 is proving to be another difficult year for South African business. Despite rising minerals prices and some credible signs that initiatives are under way to restore good governance, roll-out vaccines and implement growth-enhancing economic reforms, business activity has been harmed by the... 

Self help

By: Terence Creamer     23rd July 2021 Hidden among data-rich economic commentary and an array of analytical figures and tables, the World Bank’s most recent South Africa Economic Update includes an uplifting personal story about Davy Tsopo and his recent journey from ‘cleaner to cake maker’. Tsopo lost his job as a cleaner at a... 

Fresh uncertainty?

By: Terence Creamer     16th July 2021 One warning raised amid the euphoria generated by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s June 10 announcement that Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act would be amended to increase the licence-exemption cap from 1 MW to 100 MW and to allow for electricity wheeling and trading, was that the... 

Bridge to the future?

By: Terence Creamer     9th July 2021 It doesn’t seem possible to resolve most societal problems until they are. This is especially true for something as complex and multifaceted as the restructuring of a well-entrenched, albeit crisis-ridden, electricity supply industry (ESI). The problem does not really lie in having to define the... 

Big unifying idea

By: Terence Creamer     2nd July 2021 South Africa does not lack for plans. What the country does lack, however, is a big unifying idea around which its plans, policies and programmes can cohere. A vision that shapes and directs not only public-sector resource allocations, but also provide the framework for private investment and... 

Growth Engines

By: Terence Creamer     25th June 2021 June could well go down as the month that South Africa finally turned the key on the starter motors of some important growth engines. The precise details of the regulatory reform that will lift the licence-exemption threshold on embedded or distributed generation plants from 1 MW to 100 MW still... 

Public paralysis

By: Terence Creamer     18th June 2021 Images of the remarkable Gift of the Givers drilling for water outside the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, in Coronationville, Gauteng, may have been uplifting for many. It showed the power of an active and compassionate citizenry in responding to a devastating human-rights crisis. For... 

Light in the gloom

By: Terence Creamer     11th June 2021 The already fragile national mood has turned decidedly more sour over the past few weeks as the country descended, yet again, into confidence-sapping load-shedding, tightened lockdown rules in response to the third Covid-19 wave and confirmed its worst-ever official unemployment figure of 32.6%.... 

Remarkable appetite

By: Terence Creamer     4th June 2021 The level of interest being shown in South Africa’s highly-disrupted renewables roll-out is more than a little noteworthy. Over 800 delegates logged into a virtual bidders conference last week, held to outline the rules governing South Africa’s much-anticipated fifth bid window of the Renewable... 

Irrational exuberance

By: Terence Creamer     28th May 2021 South Africa’s ongoing resistance to the energy transition is not only distressingly out of step with fast-moving developments, but is becoming a binding constraint on prospects for ending the country’s debilitating electricity crisis. Two issues currently that epitomise government’s hostility to... 

Beyond special deals

By: Terence Creamer     21st May 2021 The downward trajectory in Eskom’s sales to industrial customers over the past decade and a bit tells a tale of what happens when tariffs, which were too low for too long, are forced to correct too quickly. The State-owned utility’s industrial sales have dropped by about 16 TWh, from 90 TWh in... 

Beyond the threshold

By: Terence Creamer     14th May 2021 With the deadline looming for public comment on a draft amendment to Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act (ERA), calls are growing for the reform to go beyond simply raising the licence-exemption threshold. Under the current regime, only sub-1 MW generation plants are exempt from the... 

Questionable motives

By: Terence Creamer     7th May 2021 There is little doubt that many South Africans still have a great, albeit idealised, affection for Cuba, despite its many social, political and economic problems. This affinity is firmly rooted in the anti-apartheid struggle, when Cubans won the admiration of our liberation movements for showing... 

Irrational response

By: Terence Creamer     30th April 2021 The immediate reaction to government’s announcement that three power ships had secured 1 200 MW of the 1 850 MW allocated to eight preferred bidders following the evaluation of bids received under the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) was arguably one of... 

Green hydrogen pivot?

By: Terence Creamer     23rd April 2021 It’s early days yet, but the moves being made by South African energy and chemicals group Sasol to position itself as a green-hydrogen leader are not only interesting, but also critical if the company is going to navigate its way through a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to large... 

Historic opportunity

By: Terence Creamer     16th April 2021 Have a listen to this for an energy roadmap: “We are a relatively small country located at the end of the world, but this moment calls us all to be ambitious and that’s exactly what we are trying to do. It’s what we did when we launched our Energy Efficiency Act. It’s what we did when we launched... 

Low and high ambition

By: Terence Creamer     9th April 2021 There will be some criticism and disappointment that South Africa’s draft updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) unveiled by Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy on March 30, is not aligned to an outcome that is premised on net-zero-emissions by 2050. Several... 

Ignorance is not bliss

By: Terence Creamer     2nd April 2021 A snapshot of what the world’s total final electricity consumption should look like in 2050 to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels has been published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) for the first time. Importantly, it is based on a portfolio... 

Reality bites

By: Terence Creamer     26th March 2021 The six-year gap in South Africa’s procurement of new electricity capacity is biting and will continue to do so for another five years at least, unless urgent action is taken to reform those aspects of the electricity supply industry that continue to hamper non-Eskom investment. True, the country... 

Bouncing forward?

By: Terence Creamer     19th March 2021 The rhetoric about the need for economies to use Covid-19 rescue and recovery packages to not only “bounce back” but to “bounce forward” by deploying fiscal resources to stimulate greater climate, health and social resilience is not yet being translated into action. A recent report, commissioned... 

Tangible opportunity

By: Terence Creamer     12th March 2021 Globally, countries are increasingly  prioritising the development of local capacity to improve the resilience of their energy systems in times of crisis. This trend is reflected in the World Energy Council’s upcoming ‘World Energy Issues Monitor 2021’, to be released next week, and has been... 

One-stop-border boost?

By: Terence Creamer     5th March 2021 One of the unsung highlights of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Budget 2021 speech was his announcement that the border posts at South Africa’s six busiest land borders were to be upgraded and expanded. It was also heartening to hear that these one-stop border posts will be developed using a... 

Tariff tussle

By: Terence Creamer     26th February 2021 Much attention is, quite correctly, being given to the 15.68% tariff increase granted to Eskom by the energy regulator following a court order arising as part of an ongoing battle over the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa’s) treatment of a R69-billion equity injection. This... 

Wake-up call

By: Terence Creamer     19th February 2021 It is positive that South Africa has been working on a hydrogen strategy since 2007. It is equally positive that this work has started to deliver solid thought leadership regarding the production and export of green hydrogen and tradable green-hydrogen derivatives such as ammonia, kerosene,... 

Welcome development

By: Terence Creamer     12th February 2021 The importance of Eskom’s endorsement of a lifting of the generation licensing cap from 1 MW to 50 MW cannot be overstated. CEO Andre de Ruyter expressed support for the proposal, made by Meridian Economics in January, during a webinar this month, explaining that distributed investments could... 

Promise of progress

By: Terence Creamer     5th February 2021 A leaked slide on the implementation of the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP 2019) included as part of a larger presentation made during the African National Congress’ (ANC’s) January lekgotla offers visibility, at last, of government’s approach to the procurement of utility-scale projects.... 

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