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Science Council Weighs in On South Africa’s Energy Woes

Power cuts by state utility Eskom cost the South African economy up to $8.3 billion last year and will probably persist for the next two to three years, research by the country’s national science council showed. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) urged the government to move swiftly to ease regulations governing “self-generation” of electricity by companies and households as a way to minimise power cuts in 2020. Other government initiatives, such as giving independent power producers the go-ahead to build new plants, could only help reduce the scale of power cuts from 2021 if procurement processes are expedited or from 2022 under normal circumstances, the CSIR research showed. The CSIR said the government should publish determinations to procure more power as soon as the first quarter of this year and talk to existing renewable energy producers about squeezing more electricity from their plants.