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Mantashe casts shade on renewables at COP28, stresses importance of baseload power 

Mantashe casts shade on renewables at COP28, stresses importance of baseload power 
Gwede Mantashe, South Africa's mineral resources and energy minister. (Photo: Dwayne Senior / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

At a panel discussion about unlocking renewable electricity in South Africa at the South African pavilion at Cop28, one audience member — Gwede Mantashe — was seemingly unconvinced.

As world leaders and climate experts gathered at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai to address the intensifying climate crisis, South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, came close to courting controversy with remarks that cast doubt on the country’s commitment to renewable energy. 

During a panel discussion at the South African Pavilion on “Unlocking Renewable Electricity in South Africa”, he expressed reservations about the reliability of renewable technologies and emphasised the continued importance of baseload generation — a byword for coal infrastructure in the South African context. 

Rising to his feet as a member of the audience and sporting a black and white dashiki, Mantashe said he had just three questions:

“We talk of unlocking renewables in a country where 7,500 megawatts of energy are from renewables, where 3,800 megawatts are under construction, where embedded generation is deregulated and is therefore a moving target. So is the selection of the term ‘unlocking’ the correct one? Because renewable energy development in South Africa is in full steam.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Crooked coal, corruption and politics — experts flag the barriers to SA’s energy transition

Mantashe continued explaining that “my second question is why do we emphasise a single technology — renewables — without talking to challenges that go with them? For example, the need for baseload to partner with renewables. If there is no baseload, renewables become a challenge in themselves and in the discussion that is totally closed. Nobody talks about it. Why are we doing that? Because if that is the case, it may constitute misrepresentation because it doesn’t present a full story. And researchers must tell us why is Germany all of a sudden going back to nuclear.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Massive bottom-up response to the power crisis sees spike in private energy generation

“The last one: financing. The financing, is it grants? Is it concessional loans? Is it loans that leads to indebtedness of the country? That is the last one,” said Mantashe.    

In response to the first question, Bhavna Deonarain, Senior Project Manager for Climate, Energy and Water at the National Business Initiative (NBI) said “maybe instead of ‘unlocking’ we should say ‘fast-tracking’ rather. The next steps are how to fast track and ensure we do have renewables online to deal with some of the energy security issues that we are facing in the country as well.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: COP28 news hub

Responding to question two about baseload, Neil Cole, from the Just Energy Transition (JET) Project Management Unit in the Presidency, said, “the way that we’ve thought about it is what is South Africa’s energy requirement by 2030? And that 2030 date is linked to our five-year plan that has just been adopted. 

“And if it is at about 75 gigawatts that we require by 2030, I think it is an important target to then keep in mind and I think it is also the guide for an Integrated Energy Plan which is going to have to be a mix that gets you to 75 [gigawatts]. And in that 75 gigawatts by 2030, you’re still going to have coal power stations, I mean Kusile and Medupi are still going to be running into the 2040s and even into the 2060s.

“But we are going to see a decommissioning of coal power stations, partly because of our NDC targets but also because many of those coal power stations are coming to the end of their lifespan. I think it would be irresponsible as a government to say that you’re going to jeopardise that target of 75 gigawatts by 2030 and I think there is an acceptance that that’s going to have to be a mix of energy sources that gets you there. So it’s important to raise this issue of baseload, but maybe what’s more important is what gets us to 75 gigawatts by 2030.”    

In response to Mantashe’s third question, Cole explained that “on the loans and indebtedness, the president’s message here at COP28 has been clear: we’re going to have to get more grants into financing the JET Investment Plan. From our international partners, the original IPG partners and the newer ones who have joined, we are now sitting at just over $700-million and we think we can push that into one billion in grants in 2024.” DM

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  • Louis Fourie says:

    Base-load power is a myth. Vote these grifters out in 2024.

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      Indeed! Gwede claims Germany is switching back to nuclear! And Putin is appointing jailed (& poisoned) opposition leader Andrei Navalny co-President of Russia. Joint President with Volodimyr Zelensky.

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      In his letter of resignation as member, former senior leader (of 6 decades’ standing) Mavuso Msimang stated that ANC Veterans League had “urged the leadership of the organisation to ensure that the members who have been accused of criminality or recommended for referral to criminal justice institutions by commissions set up to investigate corruption, should not be allowed to continue in office”.

      Now gwede has been pointed out by such a commission headed by our Chief Justice a full 4 years ago. Why is he still in office? Why has he not yet been criminally investigated?

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      Why do ratepayers still fund people who have been seriously accused of corruption and mismanagement?

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      Why do ratepayers still fund people who have been seriously accused of corruption and mismanagement?

  • Hidden Name says:

    Old greedy. An embarrassing example of the dismal quality of thought and decision making capability as brought to our continuing train wreck of a country by our erstwhile “leaders”. Can this farce please come to an end? It’s really not funny anymore.

    • Geoff Coles says:

      Embarrassingly corrupt even by SA standards. Fingered in Zondo and many allegations iro tenders to family, fixated on his mining background, ignorant and a Communist

  • Heinrich Holt says:

    Embarrassment is now our top export product.

  • Dr Know says:

    Electricity demand on the conventional (coal) grid by 2030 will probably be far less than 2023. The increase in domestic power demand by the expanding populace may well be overshadowed by the decline in business/industrial demand alone.

  • Dave Martin says:

    Honestly, I’m so tired of these anti-Mantashe rants that fail to interrogate the technical issues raised. The Daily Maverick is failing it’s readers by playing the man and not the issue.

    As someone who has lived 20 years off-grid on solar and installed countless solar systems, I support the rapid rollout of renewable energy in South Africa. BUT Mantashe is correct to point out that renewables do have a challenge in that they have variable production. We have windless nights in South Africa when there is zero solar energy and minimal wind energy. And so you MUST have dispatchable energy to fill these gaps in production. Right now we have only two options that can solve this problem technically: giant batteries or gas.

    The problem is that economically speaking, no country has ever installed batteries on the scale we would require. To run South Africa for 5 hours would require 150GWh of batteries: the biggest battery in existence currently is 1GWh. There is no way we can get batteries to run South Africa in the next 5 years.
    That leaves gas. I’m against fossil fuels for climate reasons, but using gas to back up renewables results in minimal emissions as the gas turbines are used intermittently only when renewable energy is not producing.

    To be clear: a rapid rollout of renewables MUST be partnered with a rollout of gas turbines. This is technically and economically the only option.

    Surely by now, with all these home solar systems, the public has realised the need for backup?

    • William Kelly says:

      That’s not entirely true. Base load supplements via our hydro schemes can be made 100% clean – excess generation used to pump these full, empty them when needed. Diesel/coal in an emergency only. If there is study on this I’d be interested in reading why we don’t have more hydro backup. Building dams is a relatively cost effective battery.

      • Dave Martin says:

        William, please explain how you are going to run South Africa which needs about 30GW of electricity at any given moment with just 2 GW of hydro?

        • Bernhard Scheffler says:

          Even today there is also several GW of gas turbines for times when demand exceeds supply. And coal is to be phased out, not shut down abruptly, as the question implies.

          • Dave Martin says:

            Bernhard, the point is if we are planning to install 50GW of renewable capacity over the next decade, we need to have something that can instantly fill the gap and run the grid when the vast majority of that 50GW is not producing. That’s over and above the peaker plants needed to manage sharp spikes in consumer demand in the evenings and on extra cold days.

            Basic electrical engineering requires that variable renewables must be “firmed” with dispatchable power. Every single major electrical utility globally does this: California, Germany, Australia, UK, etc. This is not a controversial concept. Each country has different options as to how they firm renewables, some countries have hydro for example. But the vast majority firm renewables with gas due to gas turbines being able to be turned on and off instantly.

        • Johan Buys says:

          Dave, the whole point you are missing with renewables is that at ANY given point of the day, a portion of the renewables (solar PV, solar thermal, wind, biogas, hydro, whatever) will be producing. One would never need to have 50GW power available to back up 50GW of renewables. That is as silly as having 30GW of diesel available to back up 30GW of coal.

          In terms of storage one would deploy a mixture of storage. So to help support transmission and distribution plus grid stability and power, modest battery storage at network points strengthen the grid being able to work in the future, which grid will have IMMENSE private generation.

          Which brings up the other point you are mssing. If demand on grid now is 30GW, it will be under 20GW within 5 years. My factory as an example…. Used to be 300kVA peak demand, 1.3GWh load on grid. Is now a net kWh contributor to the grid, peak demand on the grid (for the half day it exists) is 60kVA. I can add a bit of storage and 10% more solar and make that grid connection zero. What I am have done is what rational businesses are doing for financial reasons, regardless of their environmental concerns.

          Beyond batteries as network support, batteries at end users, and some battery at grid supply, the main storage should be pumped hydro. There is more than 10GW and 30h of sites that passed feasibility 15y ago. Just needs to be built.

          • Bernhard Scheffler says:

            Indeed.

          • Dave Martin says:

            I’m sorry Johan but you are dreaming if you think you can “add a bit more storage and 10% more solar” and then be totally off-grid. That’s just not factually correct. Are you telling me that if you have cloud for two days you will have enough batteries to run your factory for 48 hours?

            Using your own numbers you use 1.2GWh electricity per year which translates to about 4 MWh per day. So you would need 8 MWh of batteries to help you through 2 rainy days, and 12 MWh of batteries to get through three rainy days (in the last 20 years I’ve been off grid on solar, my worst was 10 consecutive days of cloud).

            12 MWh battery will cost about R24 million.

            And even then you won’t be off grid because as I’ve said there are rare but inevitable situations when cloud can linger longer than 3 days. So you will still need the grid. And that is the big problem with a grid powered by only renewables. Just when you need to use the grid to power your factory, so do the other 10GW of “off grid solar businesses” and the grid itself has a lack of power capacity due to the lack of sun. So there’s a massive spike in grid demand just when the grid’s supply is in a trough. And that can never be solved by grid batteries because they face the exact challenge that your factory’s battery will be experiencing at that moment in time (they will have been running the country during the cloudy day).

            Hence you must have gas to fill these gaps.

            Do the maths.

      • Mark K says:

        I saw some news about another development recently. Apparently, Google has repurposed fracking technology to build a geothermal power plant. It looks very promising for base load generation, and it seems costs and build times are very, very low. A further bonus is that it’s clean energy that is not vulnerable to climate variability, i.e. droughts.

      • Jonathan Hemson says:

        Lets recognise that our current problem with intermittency is owing to coal, not renewables. Coal is no longer a choice owing to cost, massive capital investment, long lead times, even before we get to health impacts and carbon emissions.
        I believe we already have unused renewable supply owing to the grid constraints. I agree that the requirement for baseload are not trivial but we should pay attention to what is happening elsewhere in the world where the variability of renewals is well managed – provided there is a diverse mix of renewable sources.
        Any build that takes more than 2 years allows us to factor in future, not current, energy storage costs (batteries are too narrow a solution set when other storage options are rapidly being developed).
        We should also look at what companies are already doing in South Africa for direction. I read their approaches as: Pay more for the cost per kWh but gain a dependable supply.

        • Dave Martin says:

          The point is that every time Mantashe points out the intermittency of renewables and advocates for gas, then all these so-called “energy experts” accuse him of having a covert fossil fuel agenda.

          It is an absolute fact of physics and engineering that the only economically viable way to introduce massive renewable capacity in South Africa right now is to pair it with gas capacity to fill the solar and wind gaps. If you don’t do that we will continue to have national blackouts on every windless night and on every day that we have a large cloud bank covering the country.

          We need to stop this polarised debate that puts gas and renewables as technological enemies.

          Lastly, we need to stop waiting for XYZ new energy storage technology supposedly about to be released. Having followed these technologies for more than 20 years, and having followed countless announcements of “revolutionary new battery technology invented” the reality is that we are still using the same batteries we were using 20 years ago. Even if we discover something miraculous today, it takes at least a decade to reach the economies of scale of production required to make it affordable.

          South Africa and the world need to reduce emissions NOW not at some unspecified future date. The only economically viable way to do that is to roll out massive renewable capacity paired with gas.

    • Colin K says:

      Agreed. And thanks for the nuance – fairly rare for DM comments. Your experience lends credence to what you say. I’m also an advocate for cleaner power, but least-cost is probably the biggest determinant as this unites us climate people with the skeptics. Cheaper and cleaner is something on which we should all be able to agree.

      Gas may not be popular, but with the price and construction times of nuclear and the sheer extractive resource requirements of building that much battery capacity (globally?!), gas seems like the least worst option. The less said about hydrogen, the better.

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      Battery sizes are growing, and new technologies are being actively developed. The Moss Landing battery system in Monterey County, California, is on the site of a gas powered plant. It was recently upgraded to 3 GWh.

      Whereas lithium is relatively scarce and expensivezebra, sodium is not. The high-temperature sodium-based ZEBRA battery developed at the CSIR under leadership of a Dr Johan Coetzee has been used extensively in Zurich, the UK and the USA. Many room-temperature (-20 to +60 C) sodium-ion batteries are now being used, and the technology is growing strongly.

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      Battery prices are coming down more rapidly than that of solar PV panels and of wind turbines. And load shedding occurs even in broad daylight. So it makes sense to focus for now on installing new solar and wind power at far below the cost of new coal power. And to closely watch developments in grid-scale battery technology and cost.

    • JanLouis du Toit says:

      A good and well reasoned contribution. My 3 cents: privatise generation, increase nuclear, and subsidize getting households “off the grid” with 5kW inverter, battery, and solar systems.

    • Hidden Name says:

      There are so many options available for clean energy its mind boggling that they were not taken up – for example ocean thermal energy – proven tech in 1928 for heavens sake (designed, and I think built by Georges Claude in the Caribbean – worked for 2 years!). Never really got traction for reasons which still make no sense to me – and the only pollution it creates is fish:)
      What we sit with today is the legacy of short cuts and fossil fuel dependent technologies being the dominant choice for far too long – often in a completely counter intuitive way. Coal power is NOT needed. Would prefer Nuclear (still the cleanest option, believe it or not) but NEVER run by an ANC appointed incompetent. And definitely not built by the Russians or Chinese!

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      The fact that he’s patently crooked, drives transparently dodgy schemes like the powerships, has done everything in his power to stymie independent generation of all types not just ‘renewables’ and has mantashing, an advanced form of dissembling, named in his honour makes the little hobgoblin difficult to take seriously.

    • Wolfgang Preiser says:

      What “technical issues raised”? I don’t see anything sensible.
      His 3 points: (1) “… renewable energy development in South Africa is in full steam.” Ehm? There was a time when SA was doing well. Missing that boat big time long ago has been costing us billions of Rands (and many livelihoods, and lives). (2) “a single technology — renewables” Photovoltaic, wind, storage dams, biogas, solar thermal, waste-to-energy – all the same? He probably does not know. (3) financing: We are paying through the roof – no reliable mains power, shutdowns, generators, social grants, soaring crime linked to joblessness and destitution…. The esteemed Minister is probably worried about his and his cronies’ kickbacks and shares in the coal mafias.
      Having to bridge difficult times (nights without wind) is a real challenge. Not highly relevant for industry and commerce – they perish because they cannot keep machines running in broad daylight. Lots of bridging options are available, a combination of which will work.
      And the rest of the time we can have cheap and plentiful energy, boosting the economy and jobs and tax income which can be used for schooling, healthcare and social grants! What we have at present is dirty, expensive and unreliable base-no-load with frequent loadshedding causing inconvenience for most and serious hardship for many. Such a tremendous waste running on generators, or not at all, for hours a day.
      I am happy you you don’t worry about any of this – except windstill nights!

      • Dave Martin says:

        Wolfgang, there is no debate as to the need to bring on more renewable capacity as fast as possible. You are right that it is madness that we don’t have enough electricity even in the middle of a sunny day. The question is how do we move forward in a way that has the highest chance of success?

        The first step must be to get consensus on the non-controversial, straightforward concepts that involve basic physics and economics. But unfortunately the debate is so toxic, that we can’t get past this first step without BOTH side (the green movement and the “economic development movement”) obstructing the debate with misinformation.

        There is an easy compromise on the table that satisfies all sides:
        1. rapid rollout of renewables and thus lower emissions (happy green movement)
        2. Parallel rollout of gas (happy “economic development movement” and happy electrical engineers)

        And that just happens to be the Least Cost option too. Which means the lowest prices for consumers.

        But instead we are stuck in this ridiculous fight that pits renewable energy against gas and thus anyone arguing for one side MUST then argue against the other. If we are going to solve the impasse we need to get both sides on to the same page. Because, as much as many people dream about an electoral miracle in 2024, that is unlikely. So we need to work with what we have.
        Renewables + gas is the compromise we need.

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      This view is naive and counter-factual. There are countries like Uruguay, Iceland & Norway that get 90+% of their power from renewables, and do not have battery or gas backup on anywhere NEAR the scale of their renewable capacity. Indeed, not even at 1% of their renewable capacity.

      Yet these countries have far more reliable power than coal-fired ones.

      • Dave Martin says:

        Norway and Uruguay have gigantic hydro power projects that can run the country when there’s no sun/wind. Iceland has a unique geothermal power supply. Neither of these technologies are replicable at the scale required in SA due to a lack of water and lack of easily accessible geothermal heat.

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      Even in 2019, Denmark had 57% variable wind electricity, 80% renewable electricity, and little fossil fueled power. And no batteries at the scale claimed above. Yet it has some of the world’s most reliable power, where the annual power outage is below 20 minutes. This tiny country with no minerals has 96% of SA’s total GDP, and 11 times our GDP/capita. It is a world leader in shipping (Maersk), acoustics, hearing aids … And its cost of power to non-household users (industry & commerce) is well below the EU average. Its former dependency Iceland has had 100% renewable electricity since 2006.

  • Jan De Ruyter says:

    The man is delusional!

    The German climate demands a much bigger baseload in winter because of a lack of sunshine. Solar panels are mounted vertically on walls to maximise exposure to sunlight whereas South Africa has got more than enough sunlight, even in the middle of winter.

    He is seriously jeopardising the goodwill from lenders, at one stage, which is not very far off, they will just give up and channel the funds to more cooperative countries.

    Spineless Ramaposa does not have the guts to fire him.

  • frans mabaso says:

    The solution is one and it is SMNR SMALL MODULAR NUCLEAR REACTORS with MSTR MOLTEN SALT THORIUM COOLENT REACTOR.We need more SMNR than WIND and SOLAR.By 2030 wind and solar will be producing 15% fo the global energy and that is to say 85% will be coming from fossil fuel.Our leaders don’t understand what their doing and their afraid of ABUNDENT ENERGY like NUCLEAR and GEOTHERMAL.By 2040 we will be reaching CHEAP PICK OIL and by 2030 we are going to experience greenflation because of WIND and SOLAR.These two renewables wont solve the current crisis and we need more forms of energy.People need to go back to 1960 and read about Dr Alvin Weinberg.

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      Go back to 1960? Time travel?? CHEAP PICK OIL was even longer ago. They now use drills, not picks for oil!

      And talking of time travel:– why not go a million years forward — only to discover that tokamaks & other earth-bound nuclear fusion devices still don’t deliver any useful energy!

  • David Pennington says:

    Good for Gwede, stick to your guns, the so called renuables we are offered are just going to make the rich richer and the poor poorer

  • davidramol says:

    Good debate

  • William Kelly says:

    What a muppet. Has no clue. Good to see he’s on the defensive, rising as a member of the audience.

  • dbanks976 says:

    I listen to your articles. If this is artificial intelligence reading, please get it fixed. COP28 is not 28 Columbian pesos. Also the pronunciation of names is disgusting. ‘Artificial intelligence’ has been around for centuries, look through the history books. Only recently have the IT techies put a name to it.🤭

  • Henry Coppens says:

    There is a very good reason why we don’t have more hydro. That is because we are a water scarce country, and do not have the water flow in our rivers to deliver steady hydro that our power demand would require, like large rivers such as the Congo and many others, that drain very wet areas wqith a high and many others. We don’t have large glaciers like Canada, Nepal etc to sup[pl;u a steady flow of melt water. We have the altitude and use Lesotho for this but the water flow there is good for only about 100 – 200 MW. The dams on the Orange river (Gariep, van der Kloof) like wise. Because of the seasonal nature of our rain we have very low run-off – only 9% of our rainfall goes into rivers (world average 35%) and then a fair amount of this is taken up by irrigation – necessary for food sustainablity. What this means is that we would need HUGE dams to give a steady hydro power flow to meet our needs, and our topography simply does not allow this. We would probably need a dam the size of Lesotho, and even if that were possible , there would not be enough rain to fill it up. There may be a bit more hydro potential on rivers on our east, Tugela, Umkomass, Kie where the water flow is greater, but no more than about 1 GW worth. I would guess. What about pumped storage schemes? These are effectively batteries, and get recharged (water pumped up to the top reservour) when excess power from the grid is available (typically late at night to early morning) and are used to smooth the power supply. We are propbably at the limit for that as well in terms of smoothing needs.

    • JanLouis du Toit says:

      Louder for the people in the back. The technical challenges of energy storage is real.

    • Johan Buys says:

      Pumped storage does not need big water, the same water that generated is pumped back up when have surplus renewables. We should aim for 40-50GW renewables (50c/kWh) mated to 20GW plus 36h storage in pumped storage.

  • Rae Earl says:

    This hopelessly incompetent minister of energy also happens to be Ramaphosa’s boss in terms of shouting the odds incorrectly without ever being brought to book. If Mantashe had to listen to people who understand electricity he’d maybe, just maybe, manage to muddle through a productive day’s work. Right now he has accomplished absolutely nothing in his portfolio.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    “We talk of unlocking renewables in a country where 7,500 megawatts of energy are from renewables, where 3,800 megawatts are under construction, where embedded generation is deregulated and is therefore a moving target. So is the selection of the term ‘unlocking’ the correct one? Because renewable energy development in South Africa is in full steam.”

    That sums the little cretin up. He and his department have presided over the suppression of the rollout of every form of independent generation at every possible opportunity. You need look no further than the resistance he put up against self generation caps and the catastrophic delays in the renewables bidding. The motivations are so transparent that it’s painful to watch him and the journalists who report on him pretending that he isn’t simply farming the ‘crisis’ so that he and his mates can be inserted into the income streams of scams like the powerships or that nice Mr Putin’s nuclear power plants.

  • C Moola says:

    Still banging the “base-load’ drum, eh? Like a stuck record. At least they have now abandoned that other old chestnut, “the Sun does not shine at night.”
    This government has done everything in its power to hamper and disrupt renewable generation in South Africa. Everything.

    What they have effectively done now is to privatise electricity generation in Mzansi. Corporates and the wealthy classes can access electricity by private LAN generation. The rest of us are left with whatever diminishing scraps Eskom can produce.

    • JanLouis du Toit says:

      Can you point me to a source that provides a financially viable solution to the intermittency and grid capacity problem associated with renewables?

      • Johan Buys says:

        JanLouis:

        Renewables LCOE is in SA about 50c/kWh.
        Pumped storage is 60c/kWh fully accounted.

        I’m not bothering with solving the grid. For now I am taking my factory from mainly grid and diesel to solar plus storage that handles nearly MW of peak loads. When it suits me I use grid (overnight low loads). It costs me half what grid costs.

        Game over for grid

      • Bernhard Scheffler says:

        JanLouis: Already in 2019, Denmark had 57% variable wind electricity, 80% renewable electricity, and little fossil fueled power. And no batteries at the scale claimed above. Yet it has some of the world’s most reliable power, where the annual power outage is below 20 minutes.

        Its cost of electricity to industry and commerce (non-household consumers) is well below the EU average.

        Its former dependency Iceland has had 100% renewables (no battery or other grid backing) since 2006. And costs low enough to house the largest Google and Microsoft servers, Bitcoin mining and refining for export imported aluminium ore (as at the Richards Bay smelters). It even considered building the world’s longest underseas HVDC cables to export its cheap electricity to the UK and to Europe.

    • Dave Martin says:

      I agree Jan Louis, I also want to know what he proposes to deal with renewable variability. The crazy thing is that probably half the commenters now have solar systems and they can easily see that on cloudy days they have to use Eskom as a backup. What does everyone think Eskom is going to use it as a backup if it is similarly dependent on the weather?

      Renewables require dispatchable energy as a backup. This is an indisputable fact.

      • Johan Buys says:

        Nope Dave : one of my plants exports more solar than it draws grid power per year (factory not Mountain hut). I have not run diesel since September. Yes I have a lot of battery storage. Yes at night I use 40kW from grid but my solar runs entire factory of 300kW loads, with stored solar filling in shortage of real-time solar.

        And it costs now more than R1/kWh less than grid, Never mind what diesel would have cost.

        • Dave Martin says:

          Johan, saying that you produce more energy than you consume IN TOTAL is not relevant. South Africa could easily install 100 GW of Solar and produce more energy than it consumes in a day while still experiencing 12 hours of loadshedding every single night. An electrical grid must be able to supply total demand at every second of every day otherwise the grid collapses. Producing a surplus of energy at midday and then imagining that somehow balances your need to draw from the grid at night is nonsensical. How is the grid going to manage such a giant spike in demand every night if all factories did that? There is only one way that could be managed and it’s called: gas.

          Your point that your setup costs R1 less than the grid is also a logical fallacy. The city buys electricity from Eskom for about 90c/kWh and then marks it up to about R2.50/kWh to fund municipal services. So if everyone goes offgrid, the municipality will have to get that money from you in another way, most likely through dramatically higher municipal rates. So now you’ll be paying much more for electricity+rates than you were when paying for electricity from the municipality and funding services in the process.

      • Bernhard Scheffler says:

        Renewables do NOT require backup at ANYWHERE NEAR the 100% scale you claim. My solar system has weathered the past several days of heavily overcast weather without any assistance from the grid, or from any other fossil fueled power.

        • Dave Martin says:

          Bernhard, please provide specifications of your system:
          kW of PV panels
          kWh of batteries
          Average daily household usage of electricity in kWh

          Then we can scale that up and calculate what it would cost the country to be similarly independent of fossil fuels.

  • Jeremy Collins says:

    It’s just maths. If kickbacks from renewables could exceed the numbers generated under the current Mantashe Retirement Plan, aka The Karpowership Scam, it is guaranteed Gwede will be 100% behind clean energy. It helps to see Gwede as one of ‘those’ metro cops: he needs his KFC money if you want to proceed on your journey.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Nailed it. Everything he and his very large group of colleagues in the ‘shareholder’ do should be viewed firstly through the lens of what’s in it for them.

  • Mike Schroeder says:

    Germany going back to nuclear? Then comrade Greedy must know a lot more than the Germans, who have just switched off their last nuclear plants …

    • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

      Mantashe counts on the ignorance of the masses and forgets that not everybody

    • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

      Mantashe counts on the ignorance of the masses and does not think that his lies will be discovered and forgets that not everybody belongs to that class. Many of his colleagues have the same conviction.

  • D Rod says:

    Importance of baseload…. To his corrupt pockets, that is..

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    A country that expects to have its energy from grants is not a country. The position of Gwede Mantashe is correct on the electricity issue. What just transition can be there when we do not have electricity and jobs are being threatened by the challenge of energy in this country. We cannot transition from darkness to renewables and that is the nonsense of following countries with the requisite resources for nuclear energy and we do not have the money and time. India is going on building coal powered electricity power stations as well as China because they need to first have the energy to drive their economy and societies. We are told to skip stages of development at what cost to the country? The media lobby for renewables is deliberately misrepresenting Mantashe on this issue because all what he is saying let us have the requisite base load first and electricity to drive the economy so that we do not transition in darkness. Also, people must not peddle lies that renewables are a source of reliable energy as Europe would not have turned back to their coal stations if it were so. We are exporting coal to Europe as we speak for their energy. The issue of renewables requires a lot of things from a base load, transmission lines at the correct frequency and these come in dribs and drabs from people with sharp teeth and shoes of 50 MW. We must transition at a pace and cost we can affords that is all what is Qwathi is saying not the lies we hear.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      I think this is what’s known as Mantashing. We have twice the people generating half the electricity that we used to. Nothing else needs to be said by any of the klepto-commies on the subject as it’s more than clear that they haven’t a clue how to resolve the problems even if they had the will which they quite clearly don’t.

  • mike muller says:

    Pumped storage will certainly help to even out the uneven and unreliable supply from solar and wind and has the great advantage of being flexible – it can be turned on within minutes, as needed to meet peak demands. That’s why a match of intermittent renewables and pumped hydro may be better than fixed nuclear whose output has to be kep more or less constant.
    And it doesn’t need much water – it just recirculates most of it. What you DO need is a landscape with large steep drop and locations for two relatively small dams top and bottom that can hold enough water for a day’s worth of power generation . And, yes, they will need a source from which they can be topped up regularly but it’s not like you need a large river flow all the time.

  • Johan Steynvaart says:

    Who was responsible for the deterioration of our “baseload” in the first place?

  • The definition of baseload generating capacity is that it is allways available when needed.
    With coal powerstations reliability at present though renewables with gas tubine backup would be more reliable to be available when needed.The lead time to build additional capacity would also be much shoter,approxamately 2years apposed to the more than 10 years to get Medupe and Kosile up to full capacity.

  • Johan West says:

    Must be that stomach casting the shadow. When energy flows from the sun directly to the consumer theres nothing for the comrades to steal…

  • Michelle El says:

    Well said by Gwede, and well done on him for broaching the subject and calling out the hypocrisy of renewables. I’ve yet to see any renewables mined or manufactured without fossil fuels! Not to mention the massive waste management implications of renewables at the end of their very short lives.

    Notice also how in the embedded video the climate journalist provides no evidence to prove how reduced CO2 outputs will keep temperature increases below 1.5°C in dispute with the conference president! She just appeals to authority and restates that his claims are false!

    This is how they “Do Science” on the side of the fence that claims to “Own The Science”. Not to be trusted, at all.

    • Michele Rivarola says:

      Mantashe does not even know how to spell base load never mind understand the technicalities around generating power and transmitting it. If the EAF of current lant is anything to go by the abundant fossil fuel trolls need to explain how building a 4800 MW coal fired power station that with proper flue gas scrubbing can only produce less than half of that contributes to base load when it is shut down half of the time. The whole world is changing to renewables and for good reason yet we have here a whole lot of wannabe scientists who don’ know the difference between a Joule and Watt pretending to know all about how to design, construct, model, control and run power distribution systems.

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