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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

Democracy still best vaccine against populism

By: Terence Creamer     28th January 2022 South Africa is not immune to pandemics and 2022 has, thus far, proved something of a super-spreader event for the virus of populism. From obnoxious rhetoric against the Constitution by a person who has sworn to protect it and unsubstantiated and racially tinged attacks on the judiciary, to... 

Urgent solution needed

By: Terence Creamer     21st January 2022 A year can feel extremely long when events run away from you, but awfully short if one is trying to implement a turnaround. 2021 is a case in point. 

Avoidable distraction

By: Terence Creamer     10th December 2021 By the time you read this, Justice Jody Kollapen would have delivered his judgment in the latest – and arguably the most worrying – legal tussle between Eskom and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). The case arose after Nersa rejected, on September 30, Eskom’s latest revenue... 

Delivery deferred?

By: Terence Creamer     3rd December 2021 There was justifiable amazement last week, when several councils, including three large Gauteng metropolitan councils, were put out of the reach of the African National Congress (ANC). Words such as earthquake and collapse were used liberally across the print, online and broadcast media, while... 

Opportunity knocks

By: Terence Creamer     26th November 2021 South Africans have become quite accustomed to government never failing to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. And nowhere has this been more apparent than in the electricity milieu. After producing a sensible policy in 1998 outlining the restructuring of the industry, it failed to follow... 

Taking stock

By: Terence Creamer     19th November 2021 South Africans are approaching the prospect of ongoing load-shedding with a mixture of anger and resignation. The anger manifests mainly in the form of predictable calls for the resignation of the current Eskom board and CEO. 

Now for the detail

12th November 2021 South Africa and Eskom can be rightfully pleased with the political declaration – signed with France, Germany, the UK, the US and the European Union – opening the way for an initial $8.5-billion to support the country’s energy transition and its plans to offer social protection for workers and... 

Credible plan?

By: Terence Creamer     5th November 2021 There is much scepticism about the ability of Eskom to deploy the grid capacity needed to unlock the 30 GW of new, mostly renewable, generation capacity that has to be introduced into the network over the coming ten years so as to ensure security of supply as some coal plants are decommissioned.... 

State of despair

By: Terence Creamer     29th October 2021 In the run-up to the municipal elections, various media outlets have carried excellent, albeit highly distressing, reports detailing the collapse of basic services in towns and townships across the country. The North West town of Lichtenburg rose to particular prominence on News24 after Clover... 

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... 

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