President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday evening.
The address took place before a joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament.
Ramaphosa addressed one of the country’s most glaring issues, Eskom and load shedding.
He said that government last year, implemented a major debt relief package, meant to enable Eskom to make investments in maintenance and transmission infrastructure and ensure its sustainability going forward.
“Since we revived our renewable energy programme five years ago, we have connected more than 2,500 MW of solar and wind power to the grid with three times this amount already in procurement or construction. Through tax incentives and financial support, we have more than doubled the amount of rooftop solar capacity installed across the country in just the past year,” the president said.
“We have implemented sweeping regulatory reforms to enable private investment in electricity generation, with more than 120 new private energy projects now in development. These are phenomenal developments that are driving the restructuring of our electricity sector in line with what many other economies have done to increase competitiveness and bring down prices,” Ramaphosa said.
“Through all of these actions, we are confident that the worst is behind us and the end of load shedding is finally within reach. But we are not stopping there,” he added.
Ramaphosa went on to state that for the country to never face a similar energy crisis again, the government will be reforming the energy system 'to make it more competitive, sustainable and reliable into the future.’
“We are going to build more than 14,000km of new transmission lines to accommodate renewable energy over the coming years. To fast-track this process, we will enable private investment in transmission infrastructure through a variety of innovative investment models. Last year, we tabled the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill to support the restructuring of Eskom and establish a competitive electricity market,” he said during Sona.
“As we undertake these reforms, we are positioning our economy for future growth in a world shaped by climate change and a revolution in green technologies. In the last three years, our country has seen an increase in extreme weather events, often with disastrous consequences. This is why we are implementing a just energy transition, not only to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change, but to create growth and jobs for our own people. We will undertake this transition at a pace, scale and cost that our country can afford and in a manner that ensures energy security,” Ramaphosa announced.
“We will undertake this transition at a pace, scale and cost that our country can afford and in a manner that ensures energy security,” he added.