Brian Dames
Dames leads private power company established by Patrice Motsepe. Pic credit: Daily maverick

In South Africa, mining entrepreneur Patrice Motsepe has established an energy and power company, African Rainbow Energy and Power (Arep), which will be headed up by former Eskom CEO, Brian Dames.

The power company was started to help bridge the current energy gap in Sub-Saharan Africa while stimulating public-private partnerships in the region’s energy sector, Business Day live reported.

Describing the initiative, Dames said on Wednesday: “It will be of significant size and scale and it will be African in its character and capacity.”

Power company broadens scope

According to Dames, Arep’s management team has been scanning and the environment for opportunities across Africa and is in the process of developing the portfolio.

The company will focus primarily on renewable energy technology, where according to Dames, several opportunities have already been identified, Business Day live reported.

In addition to renewables, energy sources such as gas, hydropower and coal are also part of the power company’s focus.

Dames added that Arep is ready to move into the operation stage, with renewable generation highlighted as a viable place to start as projects can be designed and built in a shorter period of time compared with other base-load plants such as coal and nuclear.

Arep’s funding would be both from its internal resources and from the market, which had been very receptive to the new firm.

Stepping down from monopoly position

In 2014, Dames officially stepped down from his three-year tenure as CEO of Eskom with no formal reason being disclosed. Simultaneously, this is when the country’s power situation rapidly plunged into a state of turmoil and is still facing many challenges.

Sombre week for Eskom

In further news, the power utility had managed to keep the lights on for a total of five weeks, leaving residents feeling optimistic about the situation.

However, on Monday Eskom’s planned maintenance on the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant together with Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) was carried out resulting in the power system running at a 850MW deficit.

Monday marked a somber day for Eskom as one of its principal contractors at the Kusile coal-fired power plant, Piet Masemola, lost his life to a construction accident.

Eskom has said that an investigation into the accident is currently underway.

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