South Africa’s electricity minister signs MoC with 8 Chinese energy companies

  • Minister in The Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa signed a Joint Memorandum of Cooperation with no less than eight Chinese Entities which are global leaders in the energy space.

The agreements are part of South Africa’s continued effort to strengthen partnerships to advance energy security and our energy transition.

The signing takes place on the sidelines of the 15th BRICS Summit, a day after China’s State Visit to South Africa where the Minister for Electricity signed a Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Green Energy and an Exchange of Letters between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China on the donation of emergency power equipment worth R167 million and availing a grant of approximately R500 million as development assistance.

At least 500 public facilities around the country are set to benefit from a donation from China which will allow them to have uninterrupted alternative power supply and shield them from the effects of load shedding.

The donation includes generators, power supply vehicles and off grid PV energy storage supply systems.

This was announced by Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, during the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with eight Chinese entities.

The signing ceremony was held on the side lines of the BRICS Summit, currently underway in Johannesburg.

“Yesterday we exchanged letters in relation to the technical equipment that will be assisting us to provide sustainable electricity to some of the major public installations like clinics, hospitals and police stations. We are going to get 552 of those units [and]450 of them are already on the way.

“It means that over 500 public facilities…are now going to have access to uninterrupted alternative power supply and thank you to the Chinese for the generous contribution. [The equipment] range from 6kw up to 200kw [and]200kw can support a clinic and a medium sized hospital so this is true relief to the South African people,” he said.

The South African government has already moved to exclude some 76 hospitals from load shedding with work underway to shield at least 46 others from rolling power cuts being implemented in the country.

Cooperation between countries

On the MoC signed by the parties, the Minister explained that the Chinese entities have valuable experience and technology that can assist Eskom and by extension, the country.

The MoC was entered into by Ramokgopa on behalf of the South African government and Chinese entities:

  • State Grid Corporation of China
  • China-Africa Development Fund
  • China Energy International Group
  • China General Nuclear Power Corporation
  • China National Electric Engineering Company, Ltd
  • Huawei Technologies Co Ltd
  • TBEA CO., LTD.
  • Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation

“They have experienced a similar problem that we are experiencing now. Second, they’ve got the biggest coal generation capacity of any country in the world. They’ve got the biggest installed renewable energy capacity of any country in the world…about 688GW.

“The amount of renewables they have is twelve times the size of Eskom. They are sitting on extensive amounts of liquidity. We can tap into that financing which is concessional and cheaper than any other. They [also]have the biggest installed capacity of nuclear of any country in the world.

“Even before today, almost all of them have been helping us on the generation side and have already generated a number of reports on how best we can improve the issues of performance of the coal fired powered stations and also reduce the emissions levels, on how to reduce the technical losses on the grid and also on the transmission side and what is required in relation to planning and accommodating new renewables on the grid,” he said. Ramakgopa added that the Chinese firms had also agreed to help Eskom in developing its transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Load shedding

Turning to questions on whether this agreement will remove load shedding, the Minister remained coy.

“When I came into office, the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] said we are short of 6000MW. Since March when we were appointed, we have added 4000MW. At Tutuka there’s a potential…there’s three units that must come on stream, they’ll give us 1680MW. We are going to fire one unit at Kusile in October, 800MW. We are going to fire three units…we are getting 2400MW. That…gives you 8940MW or so.

“But we have not resolved load shedding. The first phase is to make sure that what we are going through is eliminated and I am telling you, we are going to get those megawatts. We must build sufficient capacity to allow the economy of the country to grow at the desired rate and the rate of growth of new generation capacity must surpass the rate of economic growth,” he said.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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