Electricity Minister assures that government and Eskom is working on short term measures to reduce impact of blackouts

  • Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says government, together with Eskom, is working on short term measures geared at relieving the expected increased impact of load-shedding (blackouts) during the winter season this year.
  • The people of South Africa face up to 10 hours of blackouts daily. Read more 

The Minister was briefing the media on Friday on the national Energy Action Plan and the gains made by the National Energy Crisis Committee.

He said with demand expected to increase up to between 32 000MW to 37 000MW, “the next 150 days will be very difficult” and interventions are already underway.

“The first one is that the work on improving the Energy Availability Factor [EAF] … is continuous and we have been confident that we are going to begin to see these improvements. [Eskom] will continue to ensure that we undertake substantial maintenance and we did that during the summer period and we have seen – temporarily – some improvement in six power stations.

“The second one is maximising the use of the Open Cycle Gas Turbines [OCGTs]. We are doing everything possible. I was at Ankerlig [power station]meeting with the team…to ensure that there is technical preparedness to help us to ensure that we are able to fully exploit the OCGTs.

“The third area in relation to immediate intervention is to scale up our work on demand side management. We know that there is significant potential there especially at the household level. Eskom ran a very successful campaign in 2010 and they were able to save about 3000MW. We think that that’s still possible now with the maturity of technology, we will be able to roll out rapidly,” he said.

On longer term interventions, Ramokgopa said Eskom is nearing finalisation of a deal which could add much needed capacity onto the grid.

“Eskom is finalising contracting close to 400MW of energy through the Standard Offer and Emergency Generating programmes with 100MW already added onto the grid from Kalvin Power Station in Johannesburg.

“Work is at an advanced stage to procure emergency power solutions for a period of not more than five years because it is emergency [procurement]. There is an opportunity that presents itself for us to get 1000MW from Mozambique, [Eskom] is still pursuing that through a power purchase agreement.

“Some of these projects [procured through government’s Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme]are connecting end of the calendar year and some next year. But we need to move with speed to address the issue that constitutes an emergency so that we are able to protect the South African economy and ensure that we are able to get people into jobs,” he said.

Related news: earlier in the week in parliament, ANC MP, Mina Lesoma, said that the Electricity Minister has no department, no staff, no budget and it relies on the administration budget of the Presidency. “It (electricity ministry) does not have a strategic five-year plan, but rather it is an immediate programme …of oversight of an existing plan……it does not have an annual performance plan, but it is a programme in the Presidency.” She added that Ramokgopa’s appointment was not about overhauling the executive rather, it was about the government being more effective and decisive. Read more 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: SAnews.gov.za 

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