Action plan to boost energy supply

Johannesburg – The National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) recently released a progress report on implementation of the energy action plan for the next six months.

 The Eskom power utility is struggling to maintain supply due to breakdowns at its power plants, leading to rolling load-shedding.

  The progress report is the first update since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced establishment of the crisis committee to oversee key interventions in the energy sector, in July last year. The plan is meant to provide vital interventions to help boost the energy supply.

  Steps that have been taken include amendment of Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act, to remove licencing requirement for generation projects, which will accelerate private investment.

  Since the licensing threshold was first raised to 100 MW, the pipeline of private sector projects has grown to over 100 projects with over 9000 MW of capacity. The first of these large-scale projects is expected to connect to the grid by the end of this year. 

  NECOM has instructed departments to streamline regulatory processes for energy projects, including reducing the time frame for environmental authorisations to 57 days from over 100 days; reducing the registration process from four months to three weeks; and ensuring that grid connection approvals are provided within six months.

  A new ministerial determination has been published for 14 771 MW of new generation capacity from wind, solar and battery storage. An additional 300 MW has been imported through the Southern African Power Pool, and negotiations are underway to secure a potential 1 000 MW from neighbouring countries from this year.

  Eskom has developed a programme to purchase power from companies with available generation capacity through a standard offer, the first contracts expected to be signed in the coming weeks.

  A team of independent experts has been set up to work with Eskom to diagnose the problems at poorly performing power stations, and take action to improve performance.

  Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said residents’ anger towards Eskom is justified.

  “South Africans are right to demand immediate action to address the devastating impact of load-shedding on lives and the economy. The energy action plan provides a clear way out of this crisis. South Africa does not need any new plans; we are focusing on implementing this plan to achieve energy security for all South Africans. Further updates on the energy action plan will be provided more regularly,” Magwenya said.

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