Govts must stop short-term energy planning

Govts must stop short-term energy planning

2014-03-18 21:52

Cape Town - The one clear message that has come through at the Power-Gen Africa conference in Cape Town is directed at politicians and the governments they serve: stop short-term thinking and planning. 

In energy terms as well as water and food security, it is necessary to plan for 30 or even 50 years ahead.

Lawrence Jones, vice-president of US energy company, Alstom summed up this view in a panel discussion when he noted that politicians should be prepared to put in place projects that they might not live to see implemented. However, short-term thinking remains the order of the day and political considerations are most often given priority.

A classic case, mentioned only in passing by Leon Tromp of the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission, applied to the need to carry out essential maintenance of the tunnels and equipment that provide water to South Africa and power to Lesotho.

This coincided with the last election in South Africa.  

Such maintenance takes place every ten years and covers the 55km of tunnels that link the Mohale to the Katse dam and from there to the Ash River that feeds Gauteng’s major water source, the Vaal dam. 

Not only would Lesotho lose its generating capacity - that would have to be made up from Eskom in South Africa - but the flow of water into South Africa would be disrupted and could cause shortages to farmers. 

"So it was not possible to have an outage then," Tromp noted.

In the event, the delay caused no problems and, with the election out of the way, the maintenance was completed.

  • jungleboy - 2014-03-19 00:48

    Dont be ridiculous. The ANC cant think further than the next dodgy tender scam. They have no interest in future generations other than to force their Marxist ideologies on everyone.

      Sickup Andfed - 2014-03-19 09:29

      Sadly we have a people with a "live for today, because tomorrow never comes" mindset.

  • lacrimosewolf - 2014-03-19 01:28

    The only plan the ANC has is to win elections every 5 years. The crumbling roads, creaking power supply, contaminated water, failed education, declining Rand, spiralling unemployment and lack of investment are "the solid foundation" they've built in the last 20 years. The next twenty are now a foregone conclusion because they've never had a viable plan and never will.

  • Tee Klemy - 2014-03-19 08:51

    That is true, they always find themselves in disadvantages in everything they do. if they plan ahead then its easy for them to escape, shift or avoid risk. Zoomaideology???

  • Einstein McSquire - 2014-03-19 14:24

    "US energy company, Alstom" - really? Actually it is the very same French company that messed up our Medupi project... No info no research article. Who is attending and what is their agendas? Governments should not plan, they should just get out of the game and let the private sector get on with it. Believe me, if you are investing your investor's money, you quickly learn to plan. And if you need power for your business, you also need to plan it. Put supply and demand together and you have business people entering in legally binding contracts. With Esko,m you only get politics.

  • pages:
  • 1