Work underway to reduce severity and frequency of load shedding

President Cyril Ramaphosa says all hands are on deck to ensure that the severity and frequency of load shedding is reduced in the immediate term and brought to an eventual end.

The President told Members of Parliment on Thursday that the Minister of Electricity is responsible for driving the various actions being coordinated by the National Energy Crisis Committee to end load shedding as a matter of urgency.

“The Minister is overseeing the full and speedy implementation of the Energy Action Plan to ensure that the severity and frequency of load shedding is reduced in the immediate term, and brought to an end within the shortest possible time, the President said.

Following his appointment, the President highlighted that Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa conducted a diagnostic assessment of Eskom’s installed generation capacity, resulting in the identification of a set of critical interventions to maximise the energy availability factor of the generation fleet.

The Ministry of Electricity engaged a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including industry, labour, original equipment manufacturers and the diplomatic community, who have all pledged their support for strategic interventions to reduce the intensity and frequency of load shedding.

The preoccupation of the Ministry is to improve the performance of the existing Eskom base load fleet, maximise the performance and output of peeking stations and reduce demand through an aggressive demand side management programme.

“This work is being undertaken alongside measures to substantially and urgently increase the construction of new generation capacity. The reforms that we have already implemented have resulted in a significant increase in investment in new generation projects, with many more in the pipeline,” the President said.

Tackling corruption

Responding to a question on what government is doing to tackle the alleged corruption at Eskom, President Ramaphosa said that no evidence has been presented to him in this regard.

“I have not been presented with any evidence of members of the Cabinet or other senior government officials alleged to be involved in corruption at Eskom.

“Anyone who does have such evidence should provide that information to the relevant authorities so that a thorough investigation of all credible allegations may be conducted,” he said.

The President told Members of Parliament that there are relevant institutions, whose job it is to investigate these matters, as they have the legal mandate, personnel and capacity to do so.

He said that significant progress has been made by law enforcement agencies, Eskom and the relevant government departments in addressing crime and corruption at the entity.

Just Energy Transition

President Ramaphosa said a number of interventions are underway to ensure that the just transition is actualised.

He said that the pledges made by the International Partners Group – comprising the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and the European Union – to support South Africa’s Just Energy Transition, with around $8.5 billion in financing, is on track.

In 2022, South Africa formulated the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, which sets out the scale of investment needed to meet the country’s international carbon emissions reduction commitments.

“The pledges made by the International Partners Group towards this investment are contained in this investment plan. These pledges consist of a combination of concessional and commercial loans, grants and guarantees. Work is underway to deploy these funds.

“Financing under the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan will not be used for investment in coal-fired power generation. International climate financing is for investments that transition economies away from the use of fossil fuels,” he said.

President Ramaphosa explained that the bulk of the financing is for the energy sector, including decommissioning, repurposing and repowering of identified coal power stations in line with South Africa’s decommissioning schedule.

This also includes support for new generation capacity, investments in the transmission grid and strengthening the distribution network.

“Importantly, funds have been allocated to just transition interventions that will support vulnerable workers, reskill, train and provide new diversified economic opportunities and jobs for workers and communities affected by the transition,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency