by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has assured South Africa that adding to Eskom’s capacity is a matter of “extreme urgency” for his under-fire government.
He was writing in his first weekly letter of the year on Monday amid another spell of power cuts.
“That is why we are using every means at our disposal, calling on every resource we have, to get power onto the grid as a matter of extreme urgency,” Ramaphosa stated.
He outlined measures by government and the power utility to end load shedding.
A team of independent experts is conducting a diagnosis of the problems at poorly performing power stations and taking action to improve plant performance.
Six power stations have been identified for particular focus over the coming months to recover additional capacity.
Eskom is also working to connect Kusile Unit 5 to the grid by September this year.
The president said Eskom had imported 300 MW of capacity from neighbouring countries.
There are negotiations underway to secure an additional 1 000 MW.
Eskom is also working to buy surplus power from companies with available generation capacity for a period of three years, according to Ramaphosa.
Government has signed agreements for 25 projects under the renewable energy programme. These are anticipated to add 2 800 MW of new capacity.
“We have cut red tape and streamlined regulatory processes, reducing the timeframes for environmental authorisations, registration of new projects and grid connection approvals,” Ramaphosa said.
Another major source of new generating capacity are solar panels on the roofs of houses and businesses, he added.
On Sunday, Eskom projected that South Africa will be placed on permanent stage 2 or 3 load shedding for the next two years.
“This unprecedented step by Eskom will continue to place an onerous burden on the economy and our citizens,” said Kevin Mileham, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.
– CAJ News