Research by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has revealed that South Africa has endured its worst power cuts on record this year. The power cuts by ailing state power utility Eskom are one of the biggest challenges facing President Cyril Ramaphosa as he tries to revive investor confidence.
The research shows that 1 498 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy had been shed so far in the first eight months of 2020, more than the 1 352 GWh in the whole of last year. The CSIR estimates that load shedding last year cost the economy up to R120 billion.
The CSIR predicts load shedding will continue for two to three years, due to Eskom’s unreliable ageing infrastructure and enormous debt burden.
Intervention in place at Eskom: Mantashe
Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says various interventions have been put in place to relieve Eskom of energy supply pressure.
Mantashe says the department has allowed municipalities to purchase their own electricity from their sources and encouraged self-generation to take the pressure out of the power grid.
“One of those is self-generation for own use. We are driving that energetically so that we take away pressure from the grid. Two, we have allowed municipalities to purchase their own electricity from sources of their own choice. Thirdly, you would have noticed that over the last weekend, we issued the request for proposals for the emergency purchases of electricity which is the 2000 MW emergency purchase, so all those interventions are directed at taking a lot of pressure from the Eskom grid and allow society and the economy to continue generating electricity and accessing electricity.”
Power supply contracts
In a statement, the Department of Energy says it expects all power supply contracts to be operational by July 2022 and that it expects to attract around R40 Billion in investment.
In February, Turkey’s Karpowership, one of the world’s largest suppliers of floating power plants, said it had submitted plans to provide “several” ships capable of alleviating the country’s power shortages.
The department says bidders would need to conform to South Africa’s policies designed to broaden economic participation for the black majority and to make commitments to job creation and skills development.
Eskom said last month, renewable energy on the electricity grid is helping to keep the lights on:
Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)