GOOD party said at the weekend the production of renewable energy in South Africa should be accelerated as Eskom spent more than R5 billion on diesel to keep the lights on since January.
The party made the call after Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan revealed that power utility Eskom consumed 272 911 112 litres of diesel to the tune of R3.8 billion between January and May.
Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter said a total of R1.54 billion was spent on diesel for the month of June.
The power utility burnt 571 295 617 litres of diesel used to the tune of R6.4 billion throughout 2021-22 financial year.
Gordhan revealed this when he was responding to parliamentary questions from GOOD MP Brett Herron.
Herron had enquired about the diesel Eskom used for electricity generation and the cost of consumption in the 2021-22 financial year.
He also wanted to know the number of days since January (when) Eskom implemented load shedding and the litres of diesel Eskom had used to generate power and the cost of diesel consumption.
In his response, Gordhan said 571 295 617 litres of diesel were burnt In the 2021/22 financial year.
“The total cost of diesel consumption was R 6 407 million,” he said.
Gordhan also said the amount of diesel consumed at Eskom’s Ankerlig and Gourikwa open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) was 272 911 112 litres.
“The total cost of the diesel consumption from January to May 2022 is R 3 843 million,” he said.
Herron said Eskom used 27 times the amount of diesel in the first five months this year than it used in the whole 2016-17 financial year, at the height of state capture.
He said the staggering number excluded revelation by Eskom’s chief executive Andre de Ruyter that the company spent another R1.54 billion on diesel in June alone.
“If you add that to the R3.84 billion Gordhan said had been spent in the first five months of the year, it means Eskom burnt R5.3 billion worth of diesel in the first half of the year,” Herron said.
He noted that Gordhan revealed two years ago that Eskom consumed 10 million litres of diesel in 2016-17 to keep its open cycle gas turbines running to the tune of R340 million and R320 million in 2017-18.
“To put these numbers in perspective, that’s R320-R340 million five and six years ago compared to R5 300 million in the first six months of this year.”
Gordhan said Eskom implemented load shedding for 50 days from January 1 until June 2.
“Five days were at Stage 1, 35 days were at Stage 2, four days were at Stage 3, and six days were at Stage 4,” he said.
Herron said Eskom’s dependence on burning diesel was laid bare at Friday’s briefing by its executives, with its ability to procure enough diesel stock evidently regarded among its key performance indicators.
“The production of renewable energy in South Africa must be accelerated.”
He also said there was a pay-off between the speed at which renewables could be added to the supply against the scale of the supply.
“If we don’t act smartly, we will be in for decades more debilitating blackouts,” Herron added.
On Friday, Herron said for Eskom to work required leaders capable of navigating the divide between believers and non-believers in the privatisation of electricity supply and distribution.
“It requires accelerating the development of renewable energy generation, while mitigating the knock-on costs to the existing coal economy and its dependants.
“It requires weighing up the best sustainable interests of the country when it comes to the uptake of gas, the possible construction of another nuclear power station, the rental of power-ships.”