It’s almost nice to know that after fourteen years of load shedding, South Africa finally has a plan. Or a clue. Or something. No, really. South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his weekly letter to the country, has said that he will soon reveal plans to “…accelerate all efforts to increase our electricity supply”.
This sounds like a good thing. Various factors have combined to give South Africa its worst bout of load shedding in recent years. Sabotage, strike action, the fact that Eskom has been plundered over several decades… yeah, South Africa’s power generation could be better.
Ramaphosa has a plan
President Ramaphosa’s newsletter doesn’t go into specifics about how South Africa will emerge from the darkness, but there are serious hints. The first of these is to get South Africa’s existing generation back up and running again. He says that just over 1,500MW has been added back to the grid. “Additional units will come back online during the coming week, further easing the current shortfall,” he added.
Then there’s the issue of sabotage and theft and fraud, which will apparently be tackled more ferociously. Since law enforcement action on Eskom is currently about as ferocious as a kitten, this shouldn’t be hard to achieve.
But then there’s the big one: additional generation. Ramaphosa says that renewable energy generation is the way to go. Eskom, apparently, will help with that.
“Eskom has made land available next to existing power stations for private investment in renewable energy projects. Design modifications have been completed to improve the performance of Medupi units 1, 2, and 3 and are underway in units 5 and 6.”
Ramaphosa’s plan may or may not be close to that proposed by South Africa’s National Planning Commission (NPC). It proposes a drastic, two-year drive to speedily build renewable capacity, to help alleviate South Africa’s current load shedding situation.