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Thread: What the goverment plans to do

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    What the goverment plans to do

    On Friday the government release their energy crisis plan. There are quite a few interesting things in there, and I've tried to highlight the immediate plans (and issues) in my latest blog post.

    In the medium and long term Eskom is continuing to expand their capacity, but in the short term drastic measures need to be taken to keep the economy supplied with electricity. Right now Eskom needs to release about 3000MW of capacity to provide enough "breathing room." That is a large chunk of power....although you might be surprised at how easily it can be obtained.

    There is a single viable option to solve this crisis in the short term, and that is power conservation. The government and Eskom have identified this and have the following short term goals...

    Read the full post on The Art of Engineering
    Apparently by tomorrow we will have the proposed amendments to the Electricity Regulation Act detailing the quota system, penalties and incentives.

    Overall I think the plan is quite a reasonable one. Now it just requires action by each individual, as well as Eskom and the government. I believe a strong marketing campaign to change social norms is where we have to start.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Duncan, have you had a chance to look at the DA electricity crisis plan? No mention of rationing and more talk about alternative energy sources.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    I've just had a quick look. It seems more focussed on addressing medium to long term issues (which need to be addressed), but doesn't really help us get out of the immediate dangers. I'll look at it in more detail a bit later.

    The reality is that no government programme (DA, ANC, or other) is going to get us out of the current predicament. Immediate and drastic action by individuals and companies will. We need to out attitude towards the problem, and try to rectify the immediate issues, and then start to deal with the political and longer term issues.

    Most importantly, we much each do our bit to get the economy running again. Drastic and immediate reduction of consumption (no matter how uncomfortable) is the only way to achieve this within the next few days and weeks.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Perhaps the greatest benefit that will come of this current crisis is more widespread attention to energy issues and energy conservation in South Africa.

    I agree we need to look at our energy consumption - but I see a difference between the short term and medium to long term priorities.

    When it comes to the extent of the immediate problem, it is emerging that the culprit in chief may well be a failure to deliver the fuel fast enough to feed Eskom's generators. This time around it is not a "peak demand" problem and we need to adjust our thinking accordingly.

    The quick fix is for Eskom to improve their coal delivery, whilst we as consumers do what we can to lessen demand.

    Short term we need to reduce unnescessary consumption. Installing alternative energy solutions falls into medium and long term planning, although of course the best time to start implimenting is now.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    When it comes to the extent of the immediate problem, it is emerging that the culprit in chief may well be a failure to deliver the fuel fast enough to feed Eskom's generators. This time around it is not a "peak demand" problem and we need to adjust our thinking accordingly.

    The quick fix is for Eskom to improve their coal delivery, whilst we as consumers do what we can to lessen demand.
    I'm not so sure that this is the main culprit. In the report they mentioned that there were 3700MW of planned outages, and 5000MW of unplanned outages (total of about 22% loss of supply) in the week of January 14. These are the reasons they gave,
    • Boiler Tube leaks/failure
    • Various smaller equipment failure
    • Generator output reductions (load losses) as a result of coal quality
    • Problems with coal supply

    Yes, coal supply has played a role in this, but it all comes back to demand. The systems (maintenance, coal delivery, etc.) are not in place to deal with such a small reserve margin.

    One little thing not working as planned (from a broken circuit breaker to a late coal delivery) sends ripples through the whole system, placing more strain on the resources that are working correctly.

    Yes, Eskom needs to sort out their coal supply. Yes, they need to look at increasing the margin. And yes, they need to draw in the right skills to manage all of this.

    But, the reality is that if we don't all change out habits, this crisis will turn into a disaster.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    this crisis will turn into a disaster.
    This isn't a disaster already

    Just a question on the maths - what is our total capacity supposed to be again? I thought it was more the 39 000 MW.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    From the doc released on Friday it is around 39000MW. Here is the expansion plan.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Odd. I seemed to remember a number in the 40's - kinda like me
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    If you look at the figure on pg 10, then the installed capacity is supposed to be around 42GW, but the operational capacity is lower at around 40GW. Possibly they are quoting operational capacity in that table.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Duncan
    Great link thanks. I can't believe how much the electricity usage has gone up in the 90s. Was this a lot chrome alloy plants going up. We have always had the big users like Alusaf Iscor Samancor MSA etc.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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