South Africa’s plans to avert energy crisis in future well under way

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. File picture GCIS

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. File picture GCIS

Published Mar 25, 2024


Efforts to ensure that South Africa not only resolves the current electricity crisis but never again has to sit with an energy crisis are well under way and gaining traction.

This was according to Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa earlier today as he provided the weekly update on the president’s Energy Action Plan (EAP).

Ramokgopa said the team at Eskom had been hard at work to ensure that the poor state of Eskom’s operations were addressed as part of one of the key emphasis of the EAP, in particular addressing the numerous challenges faced in terms of generation capacity.

In addition to that, he said they had been working hard at intensifying the relationship the state entity had with the original equipment manufacturers to ensure that they were able to improve the availability of spare parts.

In keeping up with this initiative, he said they also had to look at addressing regulation legislation that was applicable to the procurement environment in the public sector, in particular the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The electricity minister said this was crucial as there were instances where a bit of leeway and flexibility was required to ensure that units were returned to operation as soon as possible.

Ramokgopa said even with the efforts being made to resolve the energy crisis as soon as possible, they were also looking at simplifying and streamlining the process to accelerate investment by the private sector on new generation capacity.

Working alongside the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), he said plans were being looked into to accelerate the approval of environmental impact assessments reports.

They were also looking to address water use licences which were taking an inordinate amount of time to be approved, by truncating them to be completed within 30 days at the very latest.

“One of the issues raised by the private sector amongst others was the slow nature of the approval process in relation to environmental impact assessment, and from an investor community point of view that can undermine the commercial proposition of the projects that they are putting across, because time is money.

“As we are fixing Eskom in the short term, I want to give assurance to the country that we are really looking long term and introducing interventions that can make it possible for us to introduce new generation capacity from a multiplicity of fuel sources and players to ensure that we are not confronted with the same problem going into the future.”

To ensure this he said, the passing of the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill (ERA) by the National Assembly was a major development of “tectonic proportions” for the sector, as it would remake the South African landscape.

Its primary aim is to ensure that it is made easier to produce and sell electricity in South Africa, by establishing a transmission system operator which would be managed by the National Transmission Company of South Africa.

This state-owned entity would ensure all electricity producers were treated equally, fairly and allowed access to the national grid on a non-discriminatory basis.

It would also enable a market platform through which electricity can be bought and sold by multiple players.

The Star

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