Sparks Electrical News June 2019

JUNE 2019

E L E C T R I C A L N E W S www.sparkselectricalnewsmagazine.co.za

REGULARS: CONTRACTORS’ CORNER | BUYERS' GUIDE : ENERGY MEASUREMENT AND SUPPLY | FEATURES : TOOLS OF THE TRADE | ENERGY MEASUREMENT AND SUPPLY | LIGHTING | INDUSTRY 4.0

DE-RISKING SOUTH AFRICA’S TRANSITION TO A NEW ENERGY FUTURE

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O n the African continent, there is appetite for major infrastructure developments that are hampered only by challenges of capacity, whereas the picture is almost inverse in South Africa. “We are sitting on a GDP growth rate of 1.5% at present that affects infrastructure investment, and which was further exacerbated by an investment freeze as businesses adopt a wait-and-see approach ahead of the elections in May,” says Tshepo Mofubetsoana, Broker Centre Manager – Construction & Engineering Division at Aon South Africa. “Although there is no disputing the economic facts and constraints right now, there is a dire need for infrastructure development in the energy sector in South Africa, especially in light of Eskom’s current capacity woes that are adversely affecting the entire economy,” he adds. While government is working to address operational, structural and financial challenges surrounding Eskom, there is a clarion call from all stakeholders to transition to renewable and alternative energy sources where feasible to do so. Major renewable energy projects in the Northern Cape and Kimberley are nearing completion, but there has been little movement in this space in the rest of the country, largely due to a lack of policy direction and failure to leverage the potential of Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Labour relations are also strained with unions adding their voice to the topic of job preservation amidst government’s decision to unbundle Eskom into three separate operating units. “There is no denying the fact that renewable energy is a major disruptor in the sector, but instead of seeing it as a threat, it should be viewed as an opportunity for the labour market to upskill in order to offer meaningful participation, while embracing the job creation aspects of this change in mindset. Whether we expect Eskom to be the supplier to the national grid, or we change our

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