During the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that the necessary steps were being taken to municipalities, houses and companies to generate its own energy supply and be less reliant on the struggling Eskom national power grid.
Unfortunately the President did not provide a timeframe as to when this change in policy would come, but it looks as if there is already keen interest in the plan, according to Minerals and Energy minister Gwede Mantashe.
The minister explained earlier yesterday that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has already approved 75 applications from entities wanting to generate their own power and energy. He noted that the mix of applications have come from both private households and enterprises, adding that the mining industry in particular has shown an interest.
“It’s a mix, households and companies. Of the big ones, there are quite a lot of mining companies and other industrial companies,” he said earlier this week.
He added that a total of 132 applications in this category have been received by Nersa, with it accounting for an estimated capacity of 59MW. Of the aforementioned 75 approved applications, their total capacity is roughly 42MW. The remaining 57 applications are currently being processed, according to the minister.
As for those applications that have not been approved, Mantashe says that a lack of the necessary information has been the result of the bulk of rejections. This means that any homeowner or business wanting to generate its own energy, needs to ensure all the required information is on hand for the application.
Speaking about his department’s information gathering for the energy sector during December last year, he provided the following update.
“On the request for information (RFI), we received 481 responses. We are going through them to see who can give us energy within the next 12 months, the next 24 months, the next 36 months. So that is the stage we are in,” said Mantashe.
With Eskom noting that rotational loadshedding is expected for the next 18 months minimum, we could see more companies and households go off the grid within the next year or two.