1st December 2023 3:53 pm
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Gov sets deadline to improve power generation by 70%

  • The SA government wants to improve Eskom’s power generation to at least 70 percent by the year 2025.
  • It will seek to do this through the “Energy Action Plan” which will address 10 focus areas.
  • These areas include hiring more skilled workers, removing red tape and building new generation capacity.

The government says it wants to improve Eskom’s electricity generating capacity to “at least” 70 percent by 2025.

This is according to Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele who detailed on Sunday the steps that have so far been taken by government to reduce loadshedding in the country.

On Sunday, Eskom suffered breakdowns at the Camden, Grootvlei, Lethabo and Majuba power stations which thrust the country back to Stage 4 loadshedding.

Just 11 hours before that South Africans were enjoying a small reprieve at Stage 2 loadshedding. A “break” that Eskom said was in the cards for the weekend Friday afternoon.

Now, breakdowns across its fleet of power stations have taken 17 163MW of generating capacity from the grid and caused Stage 4 to be implemented “until further notice.”

Gungubele says that a series of small improvements have been made by the government since 2022 towards increasing Eskom’s generation and thus slowly reducing loadshedding.

These steps are part of the “Energy Action Plan” which seeks to address “10 focus areas” which will result in improving the performance of Eskom staff, processes and its power plants.

Steps taken as part of this plan include:

  • The hiring of more skilled workers,
  • Placing additional focus on maintaining Eskom’s top six stations,
  • Creating a simpler process for more power projects to be greenlit in the country,
  • Construction of “substantial, new generating capacity,”
  • And removing some of the red tape in place to speed up the process for independent power producers (IPPs) to add electricity to the national grid.

On the last point, the country’s power utility indicated on Friday that it has started a new tender process, seeking IPPs to lease land near power plants for independent energy generation.

The latest tender calls for 500MW of extra power generation, while a previous tender process, completed in 2022 is expected to see 2 800MW of independent electricity added to the grid.

However, the IPPs who leased land in this first phase have yet to even begin construction on their generating units due to the bureaucratic processes involved.

Gungubele also added that government is working on a pricing structure that will allow Eskom customers to, get this, sell surplus power they produce via solar panels on rooftops and similar back to Eskom’s energy grid.

“If we all play our part, even in small ways, we contribute towards the bigger goal of improving generation to at least 70% by the year 2025,” Gungubele said.

“All parts of society need to pull together and play our respective roles if we are to overcome the electricity crisis. The energy crisis we are facing is not unique to South Africa. There is currently a global energy crisis, and therefore we must work together to address the crisis.”

There is no timeline set for when these IPPs will begin lessening the impact of loadshedding, but it will hopefully be soon. It is also notable that there have been several “deadlines” for the “end of loadshedding” or similar.

To this date, none of them have been kept.

[Image – Rodolfo Clix on Pexels]

Luis Monzon

Luis Monzon

Journalist. Covering education, AAA gaming and consumer tech. Reach me at Luis@htxt.co.za.

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