Regulator paves the way for 11 000 MW of additional power

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Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. (Jan Gerber/News24)
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. (Jan Gerber/News24)
  • The energy regulator has concurred with a ministerial determination that will pave the way for more than 11 000 MW of power to be procured from the year 2022.
  • The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has welcomed the move. 
  • The additional power will include a large portion of renewable energy.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa has paved the way for more than 11 000 MW of additional power to be added to a strained electricity grid from the year 2022. Eskom has been unable to meet demand in the country and has had to resort to load shedding in recent weeks, which will serve to further depress an economy in the deepest recession in 100 years.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said Nersa's move gave effect to President Cyril Ramaphosa's commitments in his 2020 State of the Nation Address to increase generation capacity and ensure secure energy supply.

The country has for more than a decade faced intermittent load shedding, with state research institute the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research recently warning that 2020 could be the worst year yet for rolling blackouts.

Nersa's determination, made in terms of section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act, opens the door for government to start procuring additional electricity capacity in line with the Integrated Resource Plan. It is Nersa's second concurrence notice this year.

The Department said Nersa's latest concurrence would open the doors for various bidding windows, including for renewable energy. The country will be able to develop an additional 11 813 MW of power from the year 2022, with more than half of this from renewables. 

"The capacity determined is 6 800 megawatts to be generated from renewable energy sources, including photovoltaic and wind, 513 MW to be generated from storage, 3 000 MW to be generated from gas, and 1 500 MW to be generated from coal," the statement said.

"The 11 813 MW is in addition to the 2 000 MW already being procured under the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Programme for which a request for proposals was issued to the market during August 2020," the statement said.

On Friday, Eskom released a statement saying the task team into energy challenges at Eskom let by Deputy President David Mabuza noted progress in the procurement of 2 000 MW of emergency power for South Africa as well as in the procurement of additional electricity capacity in line with the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019.

"Whereas we remain concerned about the negative impact of recurring power interruptions, as the task team, we welcome this positive development and we are certain that it will go a long way towards energy security in our country and is a colossal step towards sustainable economic growth and development," said Deputy President Mabuza.

The statement said the political task team also considered feedback on the restructuring of Eskom into three separate entities for generation, distribution and transmission and that the task team was making progress in the divisionalisation initiative. 

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