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Cablegate: Bilateral Energy Cooperation - Modeling and More

VZCZCXRO2998
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #1216 1581130
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061130Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4671
INFO RUCPDC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0807
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0623
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0679
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1526
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0809
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0490
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0638
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1363

UNCLAS PRETORIA 001216

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE PLEASE PASS USAID
STATE PLEASE PASS USGS
DEPT FOR AF/S, ISN, EEB/ESC AND CBA
DOE FOR T.SPERL, G.PERSON, A.BIENAWSKI, M.SCOTT, L.PARKER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG ECON KNNP EPET EINV SENV SF
SUBJECT: BILATERAL ENERGY COOPERATION - MODELING AND MORE

REF: 04/29/08 DOE Sperl-Young e-mail on meeting with SAG

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Bilateral cooperation on energy modeling as a key
aspect of planning for electricity supply and demand is proceeding.
Meanwhile, Post raised energy cooperation, both in energy modeling
and in nuclear energy, at the Embassy's Annual Bilateral Forum
discussions on May 29, 2008. The proposed bilateral Agreement on
Cooperation on Nuclear Energy R&D is under review by DOE. The SAG
has the responsibility for taking next step on proposing a date for
hosting and launching the long-sought Joint Standing Committee on
Nuclear Energy Cooperation (JSCNEC) as a framework for nuclear
cooperation. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -
Energy Modeling - Solution to Electricity Woes
--------------------------------------------- -

2. (SBU) Department of Minerals and Energy Deputy Director-General:
Hydrocarbons, Energy Planning and Clean Energy Nhlanhla Gumede gave
Minerals/Energy Officer and Specialist a read-out on his recent
discussions in Washington on June 3, 2008 (Ref). Gumede was
optimistic about working with the DOE Energy Information Agency
(EIA) - and perhaps USTDA - to set up a SAG energy modeling agency
and tool. He said the next step would be for the SAG Central Energy
Fund (CEF) to put out a tender - perhaps with USTDA assistance - to
find a service provider to build a modeling tool appropriate for
South Africa. Gumede hoped that there would be a mechanism so that
ex-EIA individuals might be engaged to work on the project. Gumede
leads a task team working to advance the energy modeling project.

3. (SBU) Gumede was cautiously optimistic for securing the enabling
legal framework for setting up and empowering the new energy
modeling agency, admitting that the current "political transition"
within the ANC created uncertainty that could delay the optimistic
calendar for passage of the National Energy Bill in Parliament. He
said the Bill was discussed in the National Energy Summit May 16,
noting that modeling was a key aspect of planning necessary to sort
out the current electricity crisis. Gumede feared that if the Bill
was not passed by August, then it may not be achievable until well
after the national elections in 2009. He also said the new National
Energy Bill did not address imminent problems and under-investment
in electricity distribution, noting that KwaZulu Natal was currently
quite "wobbly" with respect to distribution.

-------------------------------
Bilateral Discussions on Energy
-------------------------------

4. (SBU) In the Embassy's Bilateral Annual Forum discussions on May
29, Energy Officer identified cooperation in energy with respect to
energy modeling and nuclear energy. Energy Officer stated that the
USG was eager for the SAG to reschedule the oft-postponed launch of
the Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation as a
framework for discussing nuclear cooperation. Energy Officer also
cited USG interest in pursuing the Megaports proposal for increasing
capacity for detecting radioactive materials at the Port of Durban
Qcapacity for detecting radioactive materials at the Port of Durban
(The SA Revenue Service is still leading the SAG inter-agency
process on this initiative). SAG DME and DFA representatives did
not provide a response to these requests for status. DME asked for
the status of language proposed by the SAG for the IP Annex of the
Agreement on Cooperation in Nuclear R&D. Energy Officer replied
that the DOE legal staff was still reviewing the recently proposed
language. DME also mentioned the feasibility study for the return
of U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel from Pelindaba. DME said this
study would be presented to the Minister, but did not indicate when
this would happen.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Post will continue to push for the launch of the
Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation as a useful
vehicle for nuclear cooperation. Signing the Agreement on
Cooperation in Nuclear Energy R&D would be a constructive first
step. Post will continue to advocate for the Westinghouse bid for
new nuclear build. The potential Westinghouse contract would
complement USG efforts to increase bilateral nuclear cooperation.
BOST

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