Eskom will need at least R100 billion in investment by 2025 and about R170bn by 2029 to tackle the energy crisis.
This is according to Minister of Electricity in the Presidency Kgosientsho Ramokgopa who briefed the public on the country’s energy action plan on Sunday.
“Clearly the Eskom balance sheet will not be able to finance this so we need alternative sources of finance and that is what we are working on,” he said.
Ramokgoba said government was doing everything to end load shedding, referring to at least 25 projects to upgrade existing transformers and increase their capacity currently in construction.
“The work starts now to be connected by 2026 to ensure there is additional capacity. We need to ensure we expedite the projects and bring them quicker online so we can expand the grid capacity.
“(There) are the twin challenges (generation and transmission) that we are facing at the moment and we must resolve to address load shedding. Of course, the issue of distribution must receive attention,” he said.
According to Ramokgoba, their albatross still remains a capacity loss factor, meaning the units fail on their own; this week he said “boiler tube leaks” contributed to those losses.
He said the worst-case scenario was a capability loss factor of 18000 MW, and they had managed to maintain it at around 16000 MW.
Meanwhile, Ramokgopa did not yet have an answer on whether the outages of Koeberg Units one and two would overlap.
Concerns have been raised about the impact of a delay in bringing back Unit 1, while Unit 2 is also scheduled for maintenance, which could result in 1900 MW being unavailable.
He described the situation as “short-term pain for long-term gain“.
“When we get to a situation when we say we are out of load shedding, it’s important that we are able to give you the assurance that we are confident about these units being resilient, being able to carry us in the future," he said.
Meanwhile, Eskom did not respond to allegations that it was blowing through its diesel budget, which the DA said explained the marginal and temporary reprieve in load-shedding between April and June.
“Based on available evidence, it is now clear that the marginal and temporary reprieve in load-shedding between April and June was not the result of improvements in generation capacity but a deliberate action by the Minister and the Eskom Board to burn more diesel in order to achieve an artificial bump in generation capacity.
“Eskom has already spent R12.4 billion of its R27.9-billion diesel, four months into its 2023/24 financial year, which ends on March 31, 2024.
This expenditure easily surpasses the amount of money spent on diesel over a comparable period in 2022.
“At this rate, chances are high that Eskom will soon be issuing a distress signal to Treasury asking for a top-up on the diesel budget,” DA MP’s Samantha Graham-Maré MP and Ghaleb Cachalia said in a statement.
Eskom on Sunday implemented stage 4 load shedding, which it said would be followed by stage 2, adding that this pattern will be implemented daily until further notice.
Eskom said: “Breakdowns have reduced to 15 798MW of generating capacity while the generating capacity out of service for planned maintenance is 3 099MW. Over the past 24 hours, a generating unit each at Grootvlei, Kendal, Kriel, Majuba and Medupi power stations was returned to service. The delay in returning to service a generating unit at Kendal and two generating units at Tutuka power stations is contributing to the current capacity constraints. Eskom teams are working tirelessly to return these generating units to service.”