More than R650 million redirected to metropolitan infrastructure
The City of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Mangaung will receive over R650 million that will be redirected from the Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG) following a decision by the forum of Ministers and MECs of Human Settlements (MINMEC) for metropolitan infrastructure.
According to the MINMEC the decision was taken in a response to rapid urbanization. Human Settlement Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu said that over the past few years’ metropolitan areas have experienced an increase in population size. She said that this is largely informed by perceived better economic opportunities that ultimately create competition for adequate housing.
“South Africa is facing urbanization challenges as young people move to cities to seek better economic opportunities. With this financial commitment we are enabling provinces and metros to respond to these challenges, this will include responding to student accommodation and adequate housing for low income earners,” said Minister Sisulu.
She further indicated that provincial MECs of Human Settlements will work closely with the executive mayors in ensuring that the funds are not used for anything else but allocated to human settlement departments within the metros.
Minister Sisulu further warned developers and property owners who allow their land and buildings to be invaded. She said property owners have a responsibility to ensure that their properties are adequately guarded.
“When they see illegal occupations taking place they must act immediately and report it to the law enforcement agencies. I will be meeting with property owners to indicate my views about this; municipalities and law enforcement agencies must take action immediately when cases of illegal occupations have been reported, “ the Minister said. The Minister will further hold regular meetings with the MECs, executive mayors and municipal committee members to discuss human settlements challenges within the metros.
Energy Infrastructure. Renewables.
As the ESKOM sagas continue to bedevil the energy sector a new independently produced techno-economic model for a cost effective energy mix for South Africa was unveiled.
A completed study conducted by the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) has produced findings that by 2040, 69% of the electrical energy will be produced from onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) generators supported by batteries and gas fired generators. This report concluded that there would be no need for the addition of new coal or nuclear power stations beyond what is already installed.
The report highlighted the fact that South Africa was in a very fortunate position of having access to high quality wind and solar resources that will result in wind and solar PV energy production costs well below those that will be possible from future thermal generation installations. This report was constructed using the bulk of its information from the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) published by the Department of Energy (DoE) at the end of 2016 as well as some information sourced from South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The DoE document makes pricing assumptions for various generation technologies and assumes optimistically that total yearly electricity demand will grow to 428 TWh by 2014 from around 250 TWh currently. However the study’s parameters deviate from the draft IRP by aligning wind and solar PV costs with the R0.62/kWh achieved during the most recent bid window of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
The least cost mix has an average system cost of R510/MWh in 2040; a “base case” that is nearly 20% cheaper than a scenario where at least 10 GW apiece of new coal and new nuclear is incorporated into the mix. The report adds that the integration of renewables generators is also relatively cheap and easy, owing to the fact that the expansion of the South African transmission system is less land constrained than is the case in many countries particularly those in Europe.
The results are more or less in line with the recently updated techno-economic study conducted by the CSIR Energy Centre that pointed to a least cost electricity mix by 2050, in which solar PV and onshore wind contribute nearly 80% of the country’s electrical energy.
Overall the investigation shows that the renewable energy in South Africa is incredibly cheap and easily integrated into the system. The main conclusion is that South Africa should immediately turn its attention to building a future mix based on solar PV and wind.