- Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, says government is focused on improving the performance of Eskom’s power stations and “adding as much new generation capacity to th e grid as possible, as quickly as possible” in order to ensure energy security.
He was speaking during a media briefing by several ministers whose departments fall under the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM).
The NECOM – which comprises of Eskom and relevant government departments – was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during an address to the nation last Monday on interventions to address the electricity crunch the country has been experiencing.
NECOM will report to an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the President and comprises of Minister Gungubele, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe; Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan; Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana; Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment ,Barbara Creecy; as well as the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel.
“Our short-term objective is to reduce the severity and frequency of load shedding through immediate measures to stabilize the energy system and our long-term objective is to end load shedding altogether, ” said Gungubele.
In this regard, the SA Government will focus on first improving the performance of Eskom’s existing power stations and secondly adding as much new generation capacity to the grid as possible, as quickly as possible.
Several actions have already been taken to address the shortfall in electricity supply, which is the main cause of load shedding said Gungubele which include:
- Changes have been made to the Regulations on New Generation Capacity to allow Municipalities to procure power independently. As a result, several municipalities are in the process of procuring additional power.
- One of the first steps President Cyril Ramaphosa took was to revive the renewable energy procurement programme. This enabled 2205 MW from Bid Window 4 to proceed to construction, the majority of which has now been connected to the grid.
- A further 6800 MW of solar PV and wind power is being procured in terms of the current Ministerial determination. This additional generation capacity will connect to the grid from late 2023. Another 3000 MW of gas and 513 of battery storage will be procured through the next bid windows.
- In 2021, we raised the licensing threshold from 1MW to 100MW. This has resulted in a pipeline of more than 80 confirmed private sector projects under development with a combined capacity of over 6000 MW, several of which will commence construction this year.
- Eskom has established an independent transmission company and is on track to separate its generation and distribution businesses by the end of 2022.
In the press briefing the Ministers unpacked the actions in more detail as well as outlining the next steps to ensure effective implementation. Link to recording HERE
The plan announced by the President includes five interventions with specific actions and timeframes to address the electricity shortfall:
1. Fix Eskom and improve the availability of existing supply
2. Enable and accelerate private investment in generation capacity
3. Accelerate procurement of new capacity from renewables, gas and battery storage
4. Unleash businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar
5. Fundamentally transform the electricity sector to achieve long-term energy security.
The NECOM has already begun to meet regularly to ensure that these actions are implemented swiftly said Gungubele. Eight workstreams have been established to ensure coordination across government, and discussions are underway with the private sector and other social partners to ensure that the best available expertise in the country is brought into this effort. As the President said in his address to the nation: “The crisis that we are facing requires that we should take bold, courageous and decisive action to close the electricity gap.”
That is our overriding objective as government. I will now hand over to the Ministers to provide further details.
“As the President said in his address to the nation: “The crisis that we are facing requires that we should take bold, courageous and decisive action to close the electricity gap. That is our overriding objective as government,” Gungubele concluded.
Link to full recording of the media briefing HERE
Author: Bryan Groenendaal