Eskom has welcomed the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (NERSA’s) decision to issue an operating licence to its new Transmission company – the National Transmission Company South Africa (NTCSA)
Eskom said that the NERSA’s conditions and reasons for issuing the licence will be issued in due course.
South Africa’s embattled power utility will be split up into three entities – Generation, Distribution and
Transmission – which forms a key part of Eskom’s Turnaround Plan as outlined in the Department of Public Enterprises’ “Roadmap for Eskom in a reformed electricity supply industry.
Eskom said that the transmission license decision is a significant milestone in the legal separation of the Transmission Division.
Eskom added that the NTCSA is also applying for a trading licence and an import/export license, which NERSA will still have to consider.
“The granting of the requisite operating licences to NTCSA is one of the key dependencies required to enable the operationalisation of the NTCSA,” Eskom said.
Eskom’s grid infrastructure has often been cited as one of the biggest inhibitors to alleviating South Africa’s power crisis.
Insufficient grid capacity means that many major renewable projects have not been able to connect to the grid in areas that could thousands of megawatts of energy – particularly the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape provinces.
However, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said that several projects are underway to improve Eskom’s transmission infrastructure, which should help alleviate load shedding.
“We are talking about 25 projects that can unleash about 13 gigawatts of electricity into the grid. The work starts now to be connected by 2026 to ensure there is additional capacity. We need to ensure we expedite the projects and bring them online quicker so we can expand the grid capacity,” the minister said.
“These are the twin challenges [generation and transmission] that we are facing at the moment, and we must resolve to address load shedding. Of course, the issue of distribution must receive attention.”