On Friday 11 September, the Political Task Team on Eskom, chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza met to discuss progress in resolving some of the challenges faced by Eskom in providing stable, secure and reliable energy to the country.
This is in line with meeting the increasing demand for electricity to ensure rapid industrialisation that promotes economic growth and employment. Following weeks of rolling blackouts and learning of the power utility's shortfalls, South Africans are more than ready to receive some good news.
In a meeting with the South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Eskom needed competition in order to be kept on its toes. He also spoke of self-generated energy as a means to improve supply.
ESKOM MEETING NOTES PROGRESS
The meeting noted progress in the procurement of 2 000 MW of emergency power for South Africa, as well as, in the procurement of additional electricity capacity in line with the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019, also known as the energy mix comprising of coal, nuclear, solar and wind power.
"This follows the announcement made by President Ramaphosa during the 2020 State of the Nation Address to procure emergency power from projects that can deliver electricity into the grid within three to twelve months of approval," the presidency said in a statement.
The meeting received a report that the Department of Minerals and Energy would open up various bid-windows, including bid-window 5 of renewable energy, whose process will be completed in December 2020.
On 2 September 2020, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) concurred to a determination issued by the Department of Minerals and Energy, which enables it to undertake procurement of additional electricity capacity from renewable energy sources, apart from Eskom.
This will in total enable the development of additional 11 813 MW of power from year 2022 which is in addition to the 2 000 MW under emergency procurement. It will further be in addition to the Bid Window 4 contribution to the grid.
'IT WILL GO A LONG WAY TOWARDS ENERGY SECURITY' – MABUZA
Mabuza said that while government remains concerned about the negative impact of recurring power interruptions by Eskom, the Task Team welcomes these positive developments.
"We are certain that it will go a long way towards energy security in our country and is a colossal step towards sustainable economic growth and development," said Mabuza.
The Political Task Team also considered feedback on the restructuring of Eskom into three separate entities namely; generation, distribution and transmission.
"Good progress has been registered with the divisionalisation initiative," he said.
At this meeting, the Political Task Team on Eskom reaffirmed its support to the leadership of Eskom for the actions taken in recovering monies owed to the utility, including action taken against illegal connections.
NO LOAD SHEDDING EXPECTED OVER THE WEEKEND
Coincidentally, Eskom on Friday, said there would be no load shedding over the weekend due to lower demand and improvement in the available generation capacity.
"While this is the case, Eskom would like to remind the public that the system remains constrained and vulnerable, and should there be any significant breakdowns, load shedding may have to be implemented at short notice," it said in a statement.
Unplanned breakdowns amount to 8 947MW of capacity, adding to the 6 620MW currently out on planned maintenance. The power utility said it is working around the clock to return as many of these generation units to service as soon as possible.