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It has been a busy few weeks at AltGen. Firstly, SARETEC hosted the Wind Energy Technical Symposium, with excellent presentations on the state of the wind industry in South Africa, some with a more technical inclination. And then the premier annual wind energy event, WINDABA, was once again a great success. Perhaps more intimate this year than in previous years, it did feel like those who were really interested, were there.

What are the takeaways? Well, that Eskom is in real trouble…. The utility is on a one-way path to self-destruction, and this is not necessarily a good thing. As some senior industry commentators have said, lets rather go for the “gentle path” scenario rather than “crash landing”, since we can’t even be sure if the IPPs will get paid if Eskom defaults.

And the other big question, being will Bid Window Round 4 happen, well this is open ended. To me, it all feels a little too cosy. How is it that SAREC can be meekly saying “thank you for the assurances Mr Minister of Energy” when he is the 3rd energy minister this year, and is so pro nuclear he glows in the dark… PV will prevail, blockchain is on us.

According to Green Tech Media, Cape Town based “The Sun Exchange” recently raised US $ 1.6 million in seed funding to expand its solar investment platform, and they are one of a plethora of start-ups busy democratising the energy space. And cheap storage is a hop, skip and jump away.

It’s not a question of if, it’s a matter of when and how, Eskom will evolve into a generator, the ISMO will magically reappear, and every second roof will have PV panels.

Sean Gibson

Managing Director