Gauteng plots its move away from Eskom

 ·20 Feb 2024

The Gauteng Provincial Government says it is progressing with its plans to reduce the country’s economic hub’s dependence on Eskom.

During his State of the Province Address on Monday (19 February), Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi noted that the province aims to tap into 800MW of solar power through a new solar park, which will supply additional capacity to the grid.

This plan – part of Gauteng’s budgeted R1.2 billion energy investment – will eventually provide a “shield to residents against two stages of load shedding”, the premier said.

Lesufi said that Sibanye-Stillwater had recently approved land leases of the province’s appointed six independent power producers who will develop a photovoltaic power station (also known as a solar farm cluster) in the Merafong Local Municipality.

“This investment, combined with smart metres, can generate the megawatts needed to cushion our residents against two stages of load shedding, a critical step toward energy stability for the nation’s economic hub,” he said.

Additionally, around 100MW of capacity is expected to be added to the grid from April by City Power using the Open Cycle Gas Turbine technology facilities in Johnware and Durban Street.

“We will continue to expand to 300MW in the new financial year,” said Lesufi.

The provincial government said this intervention is critical, considering Gauteng contributes around one-third of South Africa’s GDP.

“The protracted electricity crisis has caused significant hardship for people in our province and has had a detrimental effect on the growth of Gauteng’s economy.

“Although energy is not a competency of the province, load shedding’s crippling effect on the functionality of the state and its impact on broader society compelled us to intervene,” said Lesufi.

Read: Cape Town starts buying excess solar power from residents – here’s how to apply

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