Government to speed up move away from Eskom and load shedding

The government is considering various regulatory changes which will speed up the acquisition of Independent Power Producers and further reduce red tape, says deputy president David Mabuza.

Responding to oral questions in parliament on Wednesday (8 June), Mabuza said an announcement in this regard will be made once all the necessary tasks have been completed.

“As government, we are cognisant of the negative impact of load shedding on the country’s economy, and the inconvenience and hardship it causes to the country. However, load shedding is a last resort lever to protect the system from blackout, which is a total loss of the electricity network.”

He added that the government has created a regulatory environment that is conducive to opening up the market for alternative power generation.

“Within the framework of the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, alternative energy generation measures are being explored and implemented to augment electricity supply, and improve the stability of the grid.

“We must make the point that Eskom’s load-shedding is not as a result of limited market role for alternative power generation, but mainly, a result of breakdowns encountered from the old and ageing power generation infrastructure.”

As coal-fired units and stations are shut down, it is essential that new generation capacity be added to the grid to ensure energy security, the deputy president said.

Overall, the country has an immediate need for 4,000 megawatts to 6,000 megawatts of additional generation capacity per year, he said.

To this end, Mabuza the following interventions have been implemented:

  • As part of its Just Energy Transition strategy, Eskom has proposed an extra 8,000 megawatts of clean energy projects to be added to the grid over the next two to five years. This is a mix of greenfield renewables and gas projects, as well as coal power plant repurposing.
  • In addition, Eskom has presented a transmission development plan to meet the country’s capacity demands, which calls for the construction of 8,000 kilometres of line over the next ten years. This project will necessitate substantial funding, which Eskom has proposed as part of the Just Energy Transition financing and regulatory support for land and servitude acquisition.
  • Eskom has proposed a holistic approach to decarbonisation and environmental compliance by accelerating the retirement of ageing and unreliable coal plants as part of its commitment to the country’s Just Energy Transition Plan. This will be done in a manner that is both socially and environmentally responsible.

“Coordination across all tiers of government is critical in achieving our just transition, as it will ensure energy supply stability and provide a much-needed reprieve from the detrimental effects of load shedding in the future,” Mabuza said.

Read: South Africa has seen a 40% increase in load shedding – and it’s set to get worse

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Government to speed up move away from Eskom and load shedding