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[经济学人] [2008-01-31] The dark ages电荒危机

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发表于 2010-4-28 23:39 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
[2008-01-31] The dark ages电荒危机




Electricity in South Africa


南非


The dark ages


电荒危机


Jan 31st 2008 | JOHANNESBURG
From The Economist print edition


South Africa's power crisis is having wider repercussions


南非电力严重短缺引发骨牌效应


AFP


So much for powerto the people


人民无电可用


AT THE big Sandton mall in northern Johannesburg,idle shoppers stroll in darkness. They have been caught in one of the manyblackouts that have plagued South  Africa for three weeks.Shops are closed,unable to open their tills or process credit cards. Ice-cream shops watch theirmerchandise dissolve; food stalls are unable to offer coffee or anything hot toeat. In Cape Town
a power cut trapped tourists in the cable car
that goes up Table Mountain, and in Pretoria
angry commuters whose trains stopped runningset them on fire. In Johannesburg,which is congested at the best of times, the roads become gridlocked when thetraffic lights go out.




    在约翰内斯堡北部的山顿购物中心里,购物者们赶上了已经困扰南非三周的电荒风波,只能在昏暗的环境中漫无目的地闲逛。因为不能打开收银台抽屉或刷信用卡,商店都停止了营业。冰淇淋店的老板们眼睁睁地看着商品溶化;小吃店也无法提供咖啡或者任何需要加热的食物。在开普敦,一场大停电将要去桌山的游人们困在了观光缆车里;而比勒陀利亚的上班族则为了班车停运而抓狂不已。约翰内斯堡即使在黄金时段都拥挤不堪,现在由于红绿灯熄灭更是造成了交通大堵塞。




Most shocking of all, the country's largest gold, platinum, coal anddiamond producers shut down their underground mines on January 25th, afterbeing told that their electricity supply could not be guaranteed. Five dayslater, having been promised a stable supply, they resumed production. But they willhave to limit their power consumption to 90% of the usual level. On January29th the authorities said power cuts and rationing would continue until July.




    最使人震惊的是,在被告知电力供应无法保证后,南非主要的金矿、金矿和钻石矿场于1月25日起全数停产,五天后得到稳定供电承诺又重新复工。但是他们只能分配到正常用电的百分之九十。有关部门在1月29日称停电和电力配给将持续到7月份。


The strange thing is that, until a few years ago, South Africawas producing more electricity than it needed. The apartheid regime, obsessed withself-sufficiency, went on a power-station building binge in the 1970s and1980s. A few unneeded power stations were even mothballed. South Africahas long taken abundant, low-cost electricity—some of the cheapest in theworld, thanks to the country's huge coal reserves—for granted. This makes thecurrent mess particularly galling—and all the more so because it could easilyhave been avoided.




    奇怪的是,仅在几年前,南非的发电量还供大于求。在上世纪七八十年代,种族隔离制热衷于自给自足,曾掀起了一股建设发电站的高潮,有几处发电站还一直被闲置。因为丰富的煤炭储备,南非素来电力充足,电费堪称世界最低。这使得当前本来可以轻易化解的困境看上去更为难堪。




The government knew a decade ago that supply would run short in around2007. Because of a successful electrification programme and healthy economicgrowth, power demand was catching up fast with a capacity that had notincreased much since the 1980s. But the government got caught up in a policydebate about the appropriate role for the private sector in electricitygeneration, so it was only in 2004 that Eskom, the state-owned utility thatgenerates 95% of the country's electricity, got permission to start buildingagain. It is now busy constructing new stations and dusting off those that weremothballed, which should add another 17,000 megawatts by 2014. But frustratedSouth Africans have been warned that periods of occasional blackouts,euphemistically known as “load shedding”, will be a fact of life for at leastanother five years.




    早在十年前政府就得知电力供应将会在2007年左右出现短缺。由于电气化的成功推行和经济的健康发展,对能源的需求快速增长,而供电能力自上世纪80年代以来却没有得到提高。政府还在关于私立发电部门定位的政策上举棋不定,因此只有供应全国95%电力的南非国有电力公司Eskom在2004年获得了再度兴建电站的批准,现正忙于新电站的建设,另外对闲置电站的启用会在2014年前增加17,000兆瓦特电量。但目前南非还束手无策,已被警告至少未来五年内将多次间歇性断电,美其名曰“减少电网负荷”,电荒问题将在人们生活中如影随形。




Thanks to growing demand and rising equipment prices, Eskom's projectedinvestment over the next five years has ballooned to about 300 billion rand($41 billion). To foot the bill, it plans to borrow and to slap double-digitprice increases on consumers. But credit-rating agencies are talking about downgradingthe company, which would make borrowing more expensive. So Eskom has asked thegovernment to help by providing fresh capital or credit guarantees. Thegovernment, for its part, wants private firms to provide 30% of South Africa'snew electricity capacity. But only one private project is under way so far.After much delay a consortium led by AES, an American energy company, won atender to build two plants that will supply about 1,000 megawatts. If all goeswell they should be running late next year.




    由于电力需求不断增加,设备价格一直看涨,Eskom电力公司未来五年的工程投资已经激增到了3000亿兰特(约合410亿美元)。为解决资金问题,公司计划向外借款,并将两位数的价格增长转嫁在消费者头上。但信用评级机构打算降低Eskom的信用等级,这使借款需付更多的利息,因此Eskom向政府寻求帮助,希望得到新的资本或信用担保。政府方面则希望私营公司能为南非新电容提供30%的电量,但目前为止只有一项私人项目在进行中。经过长期拖延,由美国能源公司AES领导的联盟成功投得了两座发电厂的建设工程项目,建成后将供应1,000兆瓦特电量。如果一切顺利,工厂将于明年年底投入使用。


In the meantime, the reserve margin—the excess of generation capacity overpeak demand—has shrunk to about 8%, compared with the international standard ofat least 15%. This is too little to cope with maintenance or breakdowns, whichare on the rise since the power plants are being run too hard. Questions arebeing asked about Eskom's ability to maintain its power plants properly andrepair them quickly. At the moment 20% of its generation capacity isunavailable because of maintenance or repair work, which is why Eskom has hadto start rationing power. Until new power plants become available, SouthAfricans will have to cut back their electricity consumption. The newspapersare full of power-saving tips.




    同时,电源储备量——超过峰值需量的额外发电容量——已减少了8%,而国际标准是至少15%。因为电厂不堪重负,这点储备量实在难以满足电力维护或者故障的需求。Eskom电力公司正常运转和维护电厂的能力遭到了质疑。由于维护和修理工作,公司现有20%的发电容量无法投入使用,因此不得不采取限电措施。在新电厂建成前,南非将减少电力消耗,各大报纸也竞相介绍节电窍门。


The government says with a straight face that the economy, which grew by5% last year, will not be affected. But that is hard to believe. Mike Schusslerof T-Sec, a stockbroker, reckons that about 600m rand a day of export revenueswere lost when the mines stopped work. Large, power-hungry industrial projects,such as the expansion and construction of aluminium smelters by BHP Billitonand Rio Tinto, need guaranteed electricity supplies in order to go ahead. Smallbusinesses, already hit by rising interest rates, cannot afford generators andare struggling to cope with power cuts. Farmers are losing perishable productswhen their fridges stop working. According to Azar Jammine of Econometrix, aconsultancy, the economy is unlikely to grow by any more than 3% this year, afar cry from the 6% the government says is needed to halve unemployment by2014.




    政府一本正经地声称去年实现5%增长的经济将不会受到影响,但实际情况让人难以信服。T-Sec公司的股票经纪人迈克· 斯库斯勒估算自矿场停产以来,出口额每天至少损失六亿兰特。大型的耗电工业项目,如必和必拓公司和力拓公司的炼铝厂扩充和建设计划,都需要电力供应得到保证维持运转。小型企业因受利率上涨影响无法负担发电机费用,在电荒中挣扎求生。停电使冷冻设备不能工作,季节性产品无法保存,给农民造成了损失。Econometrix公司首席经济学家Azar Jammine表示,今年南非经济增长不可能超过3%,离政府希望达到6%经济增长,到2014年将全国的失业率减半的目标还相差甚远。




The impact is also felt beyond South Africa's borders. Eskom isrationing the electricity it exports to Mozambique,Zimbabwe, Namibia and Swaziland. The interruption ofmining has pushed up the prices of gold and platinum. The crisis is likely toaffect global platinum markets, where supply has been tight for a few years,particularly: South Africaproduces over 75% of the world's supply. Carmakers, which buy over half ofglobal platinum production for use in catalytic converters, must be praying South Africawill soon emerge from the darkness.




    南非电荒还波及到了邻国。Eskom电力公司对莫桑比克,津巴布韦,纳米比亚和斯威士兰都实行了出口电力配给制。停止采矿促使黄金和铂金的价格一路走高。南非铂金产量占全球的75%以上,电荒使全球铂金市场的供应更为吃紧。铂金被用于减少废气排放的汽车催化转换器的制造,来自汽车工业的需求超过全球铂金产量的一半,汽车制造商们肯定正在祈求南非能够摆脱危机,越快越好。


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发表于 2010-4-29 00:24 | 显示全部楼层
Nice
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发表于 2010-4-29 01:09 | 显示全部楼层
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发表于 2010-4-29 01:54 | 显示全部楼层
翻译得真不错!
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发表于 2010-4-29 02:39 | 显示全部楼层
看来电荒不只发现在中国呀
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:24 | 显示全部楼层
不错
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