A presentation outlining the government’s urgent plans to halt the Eskom crisis has been leaked, pledging to “open the floodgates for private investment in a generation” and “accelerate government procurement of renewable energy, gas, and battery storage.”
The strategy is similar to many other expert strategies that have been discussed in recent weeks and are essentially identical to one that Eskom recently offered to the government.
It does not, however, put the country into a state of emergency or declare a disaster.
New legislation, such as those to control the licensing of projects for their own generation, is being considered.
Our top aim is to increase the efficiency of Eskom’s plants and fast add as much new capacity to the grid as we can.
This calls for the removal of obstacles to new capacity investment and the release of energy from a variety of sources, including Eskom, independent private power producers (IPPs), companies, and families, as part of a coordinated, national effort.
Eskom crisis capacity-improving measures include:
- ensuring capable skills and leadership is in place at all power stations by bringing back former employees;
- re-establishing good practices; and
- ensuring there are adequate budgets in Eskom for maintenance.
Additionally, according to the government, there are plans to increase storage and logistics to guarantee enough diesel supplies.
The government would let Eskom purchase surplus energy from current IPPs and permit it to purchase energy from businesses that produce their own electricity – such as mines or industrial operations – in a regular offer in order to enhance energy supply in the short term.
Eskom approached the government with this demand as early as January.
Additionally, Eskom will be permitted to “procure instantly accessible power production alternatives on an emergency basis for two to three years, while maintaining transparency and cost-effectiveness.”
This would open the door for Eskom to work with gas-fired powerships, providing that environmental regulations wouldn’t prevent their deployment as of now.
The government also intends to guarantee the success and growth of its current procurement initiatives through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (Reippp).
In the next three months, the presidency says that more than 7 000MW can be added to the grid. This will mostly be due to the return of units that have been out of service and the reduction of “partial load losses” which occur when units are run below capacity. The units returning to service are Koeberg 2 and Lethabo and Medupi 5 and 6, and the high voltage line from Cahora Bassa will be restored.
Another 5 600MW is anticipated to go online within a year, and another close to 10,000MW within 18 months.
The presentation states that the increased capacity is not assured since “important enablers will be necessary to ensure that it materializes.”
Over the weekend, Ramaphosa stated that he would make the plan public in the coming days.