Ramaphosa commits to increasing SA's electricity capacity by more than 30%

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced plans to increase Eskom's power supply capacity by more than a third.
  • This will be achieved through diverse sources, including solar, wind, gas, coal and storage.
  • He says progress is being made to overcome the challenges that Eskom has faced over the years.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced big plans to increase Eskom's ability to supply electricity after many years of instability and loadshedding. 

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA | Eskom: We are making progress in overcoming the challenges

In his weekly newsletter to the nation, the president said the government had gazetted ministerial determinations that would enable the development of more than 11 800MW of additional power generation - in addition to the roughly 30 000MW of electricity available on the national grid daily.

"As government, we have decided that to grow our economy and attract investment, secure and sustainable energy supply is paramount. It is therefore vital that we significantly, and speedily, increase our electricity generation capacity," Ramaphosa said. 

Ramaphosa added that the new energy would be procured from diverse sources, including solar, wind, gas, coal and storage.

"While meeting our energy needs well into the future, this new capacity will also help us meet our international obligations to reduce carbon emissions," he said.

This electricity will be procured through a transparent tendering process that prioritises competitiveness and cost-effectiveness. 

"Most importantly, at a time when energy supply is severely constrained, new generation projects that can be connected to the grid as soon as possible will be prioritised," said Ramaphosa. 

He added that, in an effort to facilitate electricity self-generation and as part of the reform process, the government has removed the licensing requirement for self-generation projects under 1MW. So far, 156 self-generation facilities under 1MW have been registered, with a total installed capacity of 72MW, he said. 

Stabilising state-owned enterprises

"As part of our regulatory reforms, draft amendments to regulations that would enable municipalities in good standing to procure their own power from independent power producers will soon be gazetted. 

"Stabilising our state-owned enterprises is an important part of the reform process. In this regard, we are working to restore Eskom's operational capabilities and restructure Eskom to fundamentally change the way in which we generate and transmit electricity in our country. Our vision is to lead South Africa though a just transition which ensures that as many people as possible benefit from the investment, growth and job creation that we can achieve through expanding our electricity generation capacity," Ramaphosa said. 

He said progress was being made to overcome the challenges that Eskom faced over a number of years.

"Improvements are continuing in municipal debt collection. Despite recent challenges we have faced with loadshedding, maintenance work is continuing at power stations.

Reduce impact on businesses

"The progress we are making in the area of energy policy reform isn't just critical to fixing the current power supply crisis. It will begin to reduce the impact of electricity interruptions on businesses. It will create investment possibilities - and upstream and downstream industrialisation opportunities - as we build new generation capacity and expand the electricity grid in the years ahead."

Ramaphosa said the developments represented a huge, fundamental step forward in the implementation of the government's ambitious energy plan. 

"The procurement of power from independent producers will significantly increase investment in the sector, particularly in renewables and gas. This will attract greater investment in energy and create much needed jobs, and spur business development and localisation.

"These and other economic reforms that will be undertaken in the months ahead will without any doubt establish a firm and enduring foundation for the return to growth and job creation that South Africa sorely needs," he added.

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