Eskom needs another two or three years - Barnard

By Drum Digital
17 February 2015

It will take 20 to 30 months before power utility Eskom has caught up with maintenance and is back on the right track, energy department director general Wolsey Barnard said on Tuesday.

"It's going to take time, it's going to take in the vicinity of 20 to 30 months. But for the next couple of months, we're going to pay severe attention to get maintenance up, get normality up in the supply," Barnard told the Africa Energy Indada in Sandton, Johannesburg.

This was the first step in addressing energy needs in the country and would ensure a "safe" gap between supply and demand.

"Load shedding is to protect our network... to prevent blackouts. The country is not aiming at blackouts."

Government was also looking at co-generation, using gas and coal, as part of the integrated resource plan, he said.

These projects were being accelerated and opened for participation by private entities.

In Africa, the key to improving on energy issues was to address the infrastructure deficit as backlogs had a severe effect on consumption, he said.

This could be done by diversifying energy by introducing new financial instruments, bringing in more development partners, and introducing reforms.

"Access to energy is the key driver of economic growth," he said.

Between US7 and eight billion needed to be invested in Africa per year to achieve universal access to energy by 2035.

"[A total of] US200bn needs to be invested to give these people access," he said.

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