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New law planned to accelerate power capacity in South Africa

New law planned to accelerate power capacity in South Africa
A sign outside Eskom Holdings’ Medupi coal-fired power station in Lephalale n May 2022. The government is said to be considering a new law to accelerate power capacity. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The National Energy Crisis Committee, a body run by the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa, expects record power outages to ease as measures put in place, including a new law to fast-track plant development, take effect. 

The committee, of which several Cabinet ministers are members, told business and labour leaders on Monday that a range of interventions have been made at a time when South Africans were enduring blackouts of as much as 12 hours a day. 

“As these measures take effect, the supply of electricity will significantly improve,” the committee, known as Necom, said in a presentation sent to Bloomberg by Ramaphosa’s office. 

The government has faced sharp criticism after power cuts were imposed on 205 days last year and every day in 2023. Ramaphosa cancelled his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos to hold crisis talks with Eskom labour groups and business.

The measures that Necom said may ease the crisis include:

  • The first of more than 100 privately owned power plants being developed will connect to the grid by the end of this year. In total, the planned projects could produce 9,000 megawatts, much of it for the companies’ own use.
  • Emergency legislation is being developed to allow the faster approval and development of power plants.
  • Contracts for the construction of plants that will produce 2,800 megawatts of renewable energy for the grid have been signed and construction will soon begin.
  • As much as 1,000 megawatts may be imported this year from neighbouring countries and Eskom will buy 1,000 megawatts of excess energy from private producers who already have facilities.
  • Six of Eskom’s 14 coal-fired power plants have been “identified for particular focus” in a bid to get them to perform more reliably.
  • Efforts to finish incomplete plants and maintenance of other major units are being made.
  • The time to complete regulatory processes for new plants has been reduced. BM/DM
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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Kim Webster says:

    What about all the corruption, sabotage and plain thievery? And the construction mafia? Serious law enforcement capacity required.

  • Mohammed Junaid Kader says:

    Another factor to consider is that criminal minds operate better when the lights are out and cameras are off….

  • Ou Soutie says:

    Will there be major staff reductions? The “more than 100 privately owned power plants being developed” would provide jobs for redundant ESKOM staff.

  • Mervyn Lieberthal says:

    More talk. More taxpayer funded commissions and definitely nothing will happen.
    Can one believe the government when all we are fed are lies accompanied by corruption and arrogance

    • betsy Kee says:

      Agree. I have lost all hope that this government ( its not MY government) will ever pull us out of the morass. The depth of corruption and self-serving greed shown by some politicians equals that of the treasonous men and women who continue to thwart development unless it lines their pockets.

  • Peter Smith says:

    The excuse for not approving the 5GW IPP renewable projects was that Eskom did not have network capacity. There is no mention to build this?

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