Minister of mineral resources and energy Gwede Mantashe says that “anything that is not forbidden is allowed” when it comes to sourcing power for South Africa.
This includes his position on power ships and establishing a second state-owned power utility in the country.
Speaking at a media briefing alongside other ministers of the Energy Crisis Committee, Mantashe said that sourcing energy from power ships is not off the table. However, he said that if the power ships need to comply with regulatory technicalities, such as environmental assessments, they must still do so.
Mantashe stressed that power ships are not forbidden from doing business in South Africa.
In late 2021, The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) approved three generation licences for floating power ship provider Karpowership SA.
The Karpowership, which produces power from gas-fired plants mounted on ships, has been challenged by environmentalists, however.
Looking beyond the power ship issue, Mantashe also broached the topic of an ‘Eskom 2.0’ – a second state-owned power utility to supply bulk load for the country’s energy needs.
Mantashe said the option of a second state-run power utility is not a dead idea, adding that old coal-fired power stations that are earmarked for decommissioning should be repurposed and possibly used with gas.
The formation of a state-owned power utility has been shared within the ANC and even got an approving mention from president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Prior to the latest ANC national policy conference, the ANC economic transformation chair Mmamoloko Kubayi said that she hopes ‘Eskom 2.0’ becomes an adopted policy in the party.
News24 reported that delegates at this past weekend’s conference mooted that Eskom and other state-owned companies be rehoused in their line departments.
If adopted at the ANC’s national conference in December, Eskom would be moved to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
The Energy Crisis Committee briefing follows an emergency energy plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier in July to improve Eskom’s capacity, remove red tape and explore new regulatory frameworks to allow for efficient independent power production.