Gwede Mantashe says government vows to close energy gap caused by Eskom
Cape Town - South Africa’s Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Monday said the government was in the process of gazetting a revised schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act, which will enable self-generation, and facilitate municipal generation options under “Distributed Generation”.
This, according to Mantashe, would help close the energy gap caused by power utility, Eskom's deteriorating plant performance.
“Depending on the circumstances, the generation plant may only require registration and not licensing,” he said.
Mantashe addressed delegates at the 26th annual African Mining Indaba currently underway at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), from February 3 - 6, under the theme “Optimising Growth and Investment in the Digitised Mining Economy”.
He said that economic growth and sustainability are bolstered in an environment of a secure and reliable electricity supply.
“Addressing the indaba in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined measures being considered to address the electricity supply challenges. To this end, in October last year, we gazetted the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), the country’s blueprint for long-term electricity generation options, which provides for a diversified energy mix,” Mantashe said.
“Furthermore, in December 2019, we issued a Request for Information (RFI), inviting responses from the market on innovative potential solutions to deliver power generation to the grid as expeditiously as possible. We welcome all inputs from the market, these will give the department a sense of possible immediate generation options available in the next three to 12 months to fill the short to medium term gap.”
The State owned utility Eskom which supplies about 95 percent of the country's electricity, has been forced to effect loadshedding on and off for months to avoid tripping the national grid, partly due to the frequent breakdown of its infrastructure after years of inadequate maintenance.
Eskom said it would have to extend rotational power cuts to Thursday as its units continued to generate less power than was needed. It had initially indicated it would suspend the latest bout of load shedding on Monday morning, but said in a statement late on Sunday that its system remained under stress.
In an effort to increase energy efficiency, Mantashe said, the Council for Geoscience (CGS) will further investigate the potential of carbon utilisation in contributing to enhanced geothermal energy generation and improved extraction of coal-bed methane.
“As we focus on energy security, we are also attending to the just transition towards low-carbon emissions. The CGS therefore, is looking at frontier coalfields and the establishment of additional generation capacity in support of carbon capture storage and utilisation (CCUS).
“Together with Anglo Platinum, the department, through our agency Mintek are working on using hydro-fuel cells as an energy source for the mining trucks. The intention is to replace diesel usage with hydro-fuel cell technology,” he explained.
In addition to these initiatives, the minister said his department was seeking solutions to network infrastructure challenges facing the mining sector, including rail and port infrastructure, by engaging the department of public enterprises.
African News Agency (ANA)