President Cyril Ramaphosa gives update on SA’s energy woes

  • President Ramaphosa has again assured South Africans that something is being done to combat the effects of loadshedding.
  • Ramaphosa recently visited the Redstone Concentrated Solar Power Plant in the Northern Cape, which is paid for by the Saudi Arabian government.
  • While renewable projects are springing up around the country, it will take another two or more years before most of them begin adding power to the grid.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again assured the country that its energy woes will one day come to an end.

This as Eskom announces a week-long loadshedding schedule on Sunday, upgrading power cuts to Stage 3 and Stage 4. The utility is struggling with its emergency generation reserves of diesel and pumped water storage.

“We are going to resolve our energy challenges,” said the President during a walkabout at the Redstone Concentrated Solar Power Plant in Postmasburg, Northern Cape, reports SA News.

The Redstone facility is still under construction, but once completed the plant will supply 400 000 citizens with solar electricity. Current plans indicate that it will be operational by 2024.

It forms part of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP). This initiative is seeking to add a total of 6 296MW of renewable power to the country’s ailing energy grid. The Redstone site will add around 100MW of that capacity

The REIPPP comprises 92 projects across the country, with the most planned power contribution (3 563MW) stemming from the Northern Cape, famed for its arid landscape and unforgiving sun.

Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power is in charge of the construction of the Redstone solar plant. According to Ramaphosa, more than R12 billion was injected into the project by the Saudi Arabian government.

Ramaphosa made sure to thank the Middle Eastern country’s government for its sizeable funding contribution. Recently, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to invest R273 billion across industries such as agriculture, fisheries, mining, renewable energy, security, transport, and aquaculture in South Africa after Ramaphosa made an official visit to the country.

“For all of us, this is a great day because we are no longer just turning the sod. We are actually seeing the real infrastructure build,” Ramaphosa said, adding that the project will attract investment to the country.

The Redstone plant is projected to create an additional 972 jobs, with 1 500 jobs expected at the project’s peak. Out of these positions, only 100 will become permanent during the plant’s operations and maintenance phase.

Ramaphosa added that South Africans can begin to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” with recent developments in the country’s renewable energy projects.

In truth, this light is still years away for the country’s citizens. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said at the beginning of October that it will take another 18 to 24 months for the addition of 6 000MW of power from the REIPPP to the grid, and the Redstone facility will only be fully operational in 2024.

In the next two or so years before these projects are complete, if they are completed, loadshedding will only worsen and so will South Africa’s economic and social state.


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