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Ted Blom writes in response to an article featured on ESI Africa dated 25 April 2018 penned by Dr Bernhard Scheffler, “Energy Expert” Blom’s crusade against 27 renewable energy contracts”.

Scheffler starts the article by quoting numbers I have published in the past , viz that Eskom’s old coal fleet has an “on the grid cost less than R0.40cents/kWh.

I stand by those numbers. In fact Eskom during their Cape Town presentation on 16 April 2018, mentioned a coal generation cost of below R0.30cents/kWh. The cheapest renewables are still somewhat above that number, and do not include storage or backup costs for when they do not function (+60% of the time).

My position has not been against renewables, if the good doctor had done his homework properly, he would have noticed that I am against all additions to the Grid whilst Eskom has a surplus of more than 5GW and growing.

So for Scheffler to then quote the cost of new coal against new renewables to trash me is rather disingenuous, and I would have expected better from a learned lecturer at Pretoria University.

I note that Scheffler is also not a totally disinterested party. Since Scheffler is so well versed in renewables, maybe he can explain why the current 27 projects require a Government guarantee that states  that “Eskom will take all their production on a take or pay basis, at guaranteed escalated prices, for 20 years.”

Surely, if renewables were such a bargain, as he insists, no guarantee for 20 years would be required. The Grid dispatch rules require the cheapest energy to be dispatched first, so if renewables filled that space, Eskom would have to oblige.

In addition, as far as the sustainable jobs from wind farms is concerned, I have yet to see a project with more than a dozen or so workers  after construction, unless the SA projects are going to use the workers to turn the turbines to compensate for the dismal production statistics of wind worldwide.

It is a pity that Scheffler has stooped so low in his article, and I am happy to remain with the published facts of my claims.

Ted Blom |Partner |Mining & Energy Advisors

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