Ramaphosa addresses top CEOs on investments in South Africa, just as Eskom announces greater load reduction

President Cyril Ramaphosa promised further reforms to South Africa’s energy sector in his keynote address to Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday (May 10). Shortly thereafter, the electric company Eskom announced that it would be forced to reintroduce phase 2 load shedding on Tuesday evening.

Speaking to top executives from the mining sector, Ramaphosa noted that the government has made major regulatory reforms over the past year to facilitate new generation of electricity by the mining and other sectors.

“The regulation has been changed to allow companies to invest in new generation capacity up to 100 MW without requiring a license. We are working to further reduce the bureaucracy for the registration of projects, to speed up environmental approvals and to strengthen the capacity of Eskom and the municipalities to connect these projects to the network ”.

According to the Minerals Council South Africa, about 4,000 MW or Rr 65 billion of such investments for electricity generation capacity are planned, the president said.

“South Africa’s energy landscape is radically transforming to introduce greater competition, more diversified energy sources and greater energy security in the future.

“The separation of Eskom into separate entities for transmission, distribution and generation is on track and should be completed by the end of the year.”

Ramaphosa added that the mining sector plays an important role in South Africa’s just energy transition. As the country’s dependence on coal shrinks, pathways to new economic activity need to be created for workers in affected industries, he said.

“As we face the reality of energy insecurity and the development of new energy sources, it is crucial that South Africa, like all developing economies, has the necessary space for development. The countries of the African continent must be able to explore and extract oil and gas in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.

“These resources are important for energy security, for social and economic development and for reducing energy poverty on the continent”.

Return of load shedding

Ramaphosa’s keynote speech was particularly punchy as electric company Eskom warned the nation that it would be forced to reintroduce Phase 2 load shedding on Tuesday as the president spoke.

Eskom said Phase 2 load shedding will again be implemented from 5pm to 10pm Tuesday evening (May 10). The electricity company has warned of the possibility of higher stages in case of further failures during the day.

“The onset of winter saw an increase in demand and this will result in severe capacity constraints during this period, particularly during the evening and morning peaks. Unfortunately, this would generally require the implementation of load shedding during the evening peaks.

“Phase 2 load shedding will be implemented tonight between 17:00 and 22:00, with the possibility of higher phases in case of further generation unit failures before then.”

Eskom said one generating unit each at the Kusile and Arnot power plants is expected to be back in service this afternoon. Since last night, a unit of the Arnot, Grootvlei and Matla power plants has tripped or been taken offline for repairs. At the same time two units were put back into service; one each at the Kriel and Grootvlei power plants.

Eskom said it currently has 3,049 MW of scheduled maintenance, while an additional 15,762 MW of capacity is unavailable due to failures.

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