2500MW of generation will come online in next 5 months: Ramokgopa

Reading Time: 4 minutes

South Africa’s energy grid is gradually stabilizing, with at least 2500MW of generation capacity expected in the coming five months.

Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has outlined what he calls a positive trend in minimizing the intensity of load shedding.

He gave an update on the energy action plan, lauding the work done by Eskom in stabilizing the grid.

The Minister says the stability of the leadership structure at Eskom, the support to the entity from the Treasury and delays in decommissioning some power stations are also starting to bear fruit.

The Energy Action Plan is South Africa’s Road Map to end load shedding and achieve energy security and has been in place for 18 months. The man overseeing the plan is Ramokgopa. He gave an update on recent successes that he says have led to the reduced intensity of load shedding.

“National Treasury relaxed some of the requirements, so this results in the speed of procurement, so we are reducing slowly this thing of outage slips. I’ve made a point on the allocation of outage budgeting has improved so when I say outage budgeting, I am talking about planned maintenance. Eskom knows that this unit is going to be taken out in the next three months, make sure that the spares are available, the priority power stations are receiving attention, Duvha, Kendal, Kusile now is graduating out of a priority power station.”

He has attributed the victories to interventions at Eskom and a multi-stakeholder approach aimed at restoring energy availability.

“We are not there yet, so we still remain extremely vulnerable and that’s why the team is working on the reliability of this units but you are going to see that it’s going to become a common place that there are days that you don’t have load shedding. It’s going to become common and there would be that load shedding, confident about the future and we did make a point that we are expecting these units Medupi 4 by August, Kusile unit 6 by September and we are also expecting Koeberg number 2 by September giving us an additional 2 500 megawatts just from the stable of Eskom, so we are confident about the future.”

Eskom has had to clarify the new Nersa guidelines for implementing load shedding up to stage 16. The power utility says this forms part of planning efforts and does not point to the ramping up of load shedding beyond stage 6.

The utility is also working on plans to mitigate against intensified rounds of load shedding during the winter period.

“When you look at the 28th of April, Eskom will actually communicate through the media the winter outlook and I think one could then compare the stats of what the plans for this coming year for the next six months compared to last year and what you will see is the severity of load shedding reducing, the frequency of load shedding reducing. We’ve always said there’s three dimensions that we are measuring, it’s the people, the plants and the processes,” says Eskom’s Eric Shunmugam.

Plans are also at an advanced stage on efforts to launch the National Transmission Company of South Africa, which the minister says won’t be privatised but will be wholly owned by Eskom.

Government is confident in the multi-stakeholder approach on stabilizing the grid with a positive outlook expected well into winter.

The focus remains on the improvement of the plant performances with the electricity minister confident in the positive trend towards the ending of load shedding.

Video: Minister of Electricity Dr Ramokgopa briefs media on the implementation of the energy action plan