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Ramaphosa outlines SA power generation plans

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

by SAVIOUS KWINIKA 
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa anticipates the addition of 11 800 megawatts (MW) of power to its unstable grid.

President Cyril Ramaphosa disclosed this on Monday, following the gazetting of ministerial determinations to that effect.

He revealed the new energy would be procured from diverse sources, including solar, wind, gas, coal and storage.

“This signals government’s clear intention to move ahead with one of the key reforms that is needed to unlock the growth of our economy and attract much-needed investment,” Ramaphosa said.

He said while meeting South Africa’s energy needs well into the future, this new capacity would also help the country meet its international obligations to reduce carbon emissions.

Ramaphosa said this electricity will be procured through a transparent tendering process that prioritised competitiveness and cost-effectiveness.

South Africa currently has in the region of over 30 000 MW of electricity available on the national grid each day.

This is insufficient and results in authorities implementing load shedding, which is detrimental to Africa’s most advanced economy.

In an effort to facilitate electricity self-generation and as part of the reform process, government has removed the licensing requirement for self-generation projects under 1 MW.

So far 156 self-generation facilities under 1 MW have been registered, with a total installed capacity of 72 MW.

For facilities that can generate above 1 megawatt, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa is improving its licensing processes to improve turnaround time.

Ramaphosa’s government is also working towards stabilising state-owned enterprises, such as Eskom, as 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,” Ramaphosa said.

Reliable power supplies are crucial if South Africa is to rebuild its economy battered by months of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The lockdown imposed at the end of March cost thousands of jobs.

“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,” Ramaphosa concluded.

– CAJ News