The National Energy Crisis Committee has released a progress report on the implementation of the energy action plan for the next six months.
The ailing power utility is struggling to keep the lights on due to ongoing breakdowns at its power plants as frustrations mount over the chronic power cuts in the country.
The progress report is the first update since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the establishment of the crisis committee in July last year – whose role is to oversee key interventions in the energy sector.
The plan is meant to provide vital interventions to help boost South Africa’s energy supply.
Steps that have been taken to follow through on the commitments include:
- Amendment of Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act to remove licencing requirement for generation projects, which will significantly accelerate private investment.
- Since the licencing threshold was first raised to 100 MW, the pipeline of private sector projects has grown to more than 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 cut red tape and streamline regulatory processes for energy projects, including reducing the timeframe for environmental authorisations to 57 days from over 100 days previously; 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 to accelerate further bid windows.
- 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 starting this year.
- Eskom has developed a programme to purchase power from companies with available generation capacity through a standard offer. The first contracts are expected to be signed in the coming weeks.
- A team of independent experts has been established to work closely with Eskom to diagnose the problems at poorly performing power stations and take action to improve plant performance.
Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said residents’ anger towards Eskom is justified.
He added that further updates on the energy action plan will be provided more regularly from this point.