South Africa News

SONA 2022: New energy projects on the way to assist with Eskom’s power nightmare

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said ongoing power cuts and unreliable electricity supply was driving investment away from South Africa.

Delivering his State of the Nation Address at Cape Town City Hall, he said that when electricity couldn’t be guaranteed then the economy wouldn’t function properly. He added the electricity crisis was one of the greatest threats to South Africa’s economic and social progress.

Ramaphosa said the problems in the South African economy ran deep and were structural, saying that in the past few days, the country was once again reminded of the fragility of our electricity system.

“The utility has continued with its intensive maintenance programme, to reverse many years of neglected maintenance and underperformance of existing plants,” he said.

Ramaphosa said power cuts continued to have a huge impact on the lives of all South Africans, disrupting business activities and placing additional strains on families and communities.

He added that during the past year, the government took steps to bring additional generation capacity online as quickly as possible to close the shortfall, which is around 4,000 megawatts. He attributed the problem to “our aging power stations, poor maintenance, policy missteps and the ruinous effects of state capture”.

The president outlined several new energy generation projects that he said would be coming online over the next few years, including:

  • Over 500 MW from the remaining projects in Bid Window 4 of the Renewable Energy Programme, which are at advanced stages of construction,
  • 2,600 MW from Bid Window 5 of the Renewable Energy Programme, for which the preferred bidders were announced last year,
  • up to 800 MW from those risk mitigation power projects that are ready to proceed,
  • 2,600 MW from Bid Window 6 of the renewal energy programme, which will soon be opened,
  • 3,000 MW of gas power and 500 MW of battery storage. Requests for proposals will be released later this year,
  • an estimated 4,000 MW from embedded generation projects in the mining sector,
  • approximately 1,400 MW in the process of being secured by various municipalities.

“In addition to closing the energy supply shortfall, we are implementing fundamental changes to the structure of the electricity sector. Eskom has established a separate transmission subsidiary, and is on track to complete its unbundling by December 2022,” Ramaphosa said.

“To regulate all of these reforms, Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Electricity Regulation Act for public comment. These far-reaching amendments will enable a competitive market for electricity generation and the establishment of an independent state-owned transmission company.”

-EWN

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Sibu Jili and Mvelo

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