Additional measures to achieve long-term energy security and end load shedding for good are being implemented.
President Ramaphosa announced this last night during an address to the nation on South Africa’s energy crisis.
The president declared that the “crisis that we are facing requires that we should take bold, courageous and decisive action to close the electricity gap”.
“This is a call for all South Africans to be part of the solution; to contribute in whatever way they can to ending energy scarcity in South Africa”, he said.
The first measure involves fixing Eskom and improving the performance of the existing fleet of power stations.
The president pointed out that Eskom will increase, over the next twelve months, the budget allocated for critical maintenance to increase the reliability of its generation capacity.
Skilled personnel, including former senior Eskom plant managers and engineers from the private sector, are being recruited.
“As part of addressing the shortage of megawatts, Eskom will now also purchase additional energy from existing private generators such as mines, paper mills, shopping centres and other private entities that have surplus power”, he said.
In terms of Eskom’s debt, national treasury is devising a sustainable solution to the shortfall.
The president confirmed that the finance minister will “outline how government will deal with this matter in an effective manner when he presents the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October”.
The second measure involves speeding up the procurement of new capacity from renewables, gas and battery storage.
The amount of new generation capacity procured through Bid Window 6 for wind and solar power will be doubled from 2 600 MW to 5 200 MW.
A request for proposals for battery storage will be released by September this year, and a further request for gas power as soon as possible thereafter.
The mineral resources and energy minister also plans to issue a determination for the remaining allocations in the Integrated Resource Plan 2019.
Further bid windows will be opened on an expedited basis.
The third measure involves speeding up higher private investment in generation capacity.
Steps to be taken include removing the licensing threshold for embedded generation thereby increasing private sector investment in electricity generation and tabling special legislation in parliament on an expedited basis to address the legal and regulatory obstacles to new generation capacity for a limited period.
The fourth measure focuses on enabling businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar while the fifth measure deals with fundamentally transforming the electricity sector and positioning it for future sustainability.
The president confirmed that Eskom will develop rules and a pricing structure – known as a feed-in tariff – for all commercial and residential installations on its network.
“This means that those who can and have installed solar panels in their homes or businesses will be able to sell surplus power they don’t need to Eskom”, he said.
The president also pointed out that Eskom has set up an “independent transmission company and is on track to separate its generation and distribution businesses by the end of 2022”.
Boards for the transmission and generation entities will soon be appointed.