More politicking as Ramokgopa says end of loadshedding is “in sight”

  • Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says “The end of load shedding is indeed in sight; the future is bright”.
  • The Minister made the comments during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate earlier this week.
  • Ramokgopa also detailed the current maintenance plan for Eskom’s assets, as well as future energy generation projects.

The ANC-led government is in full election mode, as this week a number of ministers in key cabinet positions have been highlighting any good or positive projects that have occurred of late. The latest to do so is Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who this week proclaimed that the end of loadshedding “is indeed in sight; the future is bright”.

It has been a phrase that those in government have been bandying about for some time now, but on the back of Stage 6 loadshedding only a few days ago, to say that the end of loadshedding is on the horizon is difficult to fathom for many South Africans, many of whom are still without power following the rapid increase in blackouts at the past weekend.

The minister made the comments during a State of the Nation Address debate this week in Cape Town, where as mentioned, many members of Cabinet looked to support the information shared by President Cyril Ramaphosa during SONA.

To that end, Ramokgopa unpacked what steps are planned in terms of returning several important generating units to the grid, many of which have been inoperable for months or even years.

“Medupi [Power Station] Unit 4 will return to service this year in September, a year ahead of schedule. Kusile Unit 6 will be synchronised in late November 2024. These units will add 1600MW to the grid. In addition, Unit 2 of Koeberg [Power Station] will return to service in September 2024, giving us 980MW following a planned outage. These interventions will collectively add 2580MW to the grid in 2024. The end of load shedding is indeed within sight,” he noted per SA News.

Maintenance of currently available generating units is another area that Ramokgopa touched on, explaining that over the next few months, “From March of 2024, we will begin reducing planned maintenance from the current 6 000MW to 5 000MW in April 2024 and to around 3 500MW in May 2024, a threshold that will be sustained during the winter demand period.”

Lastly, the minister highlighted what new projects are on the cusp of getting underway. Here, the Richards Bay Closed Cycle Gas Turbine was mentioned, which is anticipated to add a further 3 000MW to the national grid.

“Gas will increasingly feature prominently in our short- to medium-term base load requirements. Eskom is working on converting Gourikwa and Ankerlig [power stations] to gas from diesel on the Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) technology. This initiative is anticipated to yield an additional 2 000MW, with a further 1 000MW expected from the conversion to Closed Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGT),” he added without citing any sort of timeframe for the project’s commencement or completion.

With the end of loadshedding looking more and more unlikely from the perspective of many South African citizens, it remains to be seen just how quickly government will make rolling blackouts a thing of the past following this year’s national elections.

[Image – Photo by Terry Vlisidis on Unsplash]


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