Government says it will continue to encourage exploration for oil and gas as part of the country’s efforts to ensure energy security. Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has told parliament that they are going ahead with plans to procure more nuclear energy despite what he calls noises from those opposed to it.
Speaking during his department’s budget vote debate, Mantashe says his department will continue to engage traditional councils on the importance of these energy sources for their communities and the country’s economy.
Last year, Government amended the Electricity Regulations Act to enable increased self-generation as part of mitigating Eskom’s capacity constraints and load shedding. It was hoped that large electricity users, including mines, would be incentivised by the larger allowance to set up their own generation facilities and be able to supply excess to the national grid as well. The uptake has so far been very sluggish, he says.
Integral to reforms, we have amended the Electricity Regulation Act to create a transmission entity, to act as wheeler and dealer of electricity, competitively. Alongside these, are amendments to the Electricity Pricing Policy. #DMREBudgetVote2022 pic.twitter.com/6tGirOdLHn
— Gwede Mantashe (@GwedeMantashe1) May 19, 2022
The energy regulator has registered six power generation facilities with a capacity ranging from 1 megawatt to 10 megawatts. However, it has not materialised practically up to now.
But even after saying this, some, like Professor Themba Tshabalala of the IFP, still want Eskom to be done away with.
Phiwaba Madokwe of the EFF criticised the Mineral Resources and Energy department for allowing a strike to go on for two months at Sibanye Resources without intervening.
The DA’s Kevin Moleham said the time has come for finger-pointing to end and that he is prepared to sit down with the minister to talk about solutions to the many problems. But that was not before he pointed out some of the problems facing the country.