President Ramaphosa optimistic of investment in SA’s energy sector

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is optimistic that there will be great investments in the energy sector to address the Eskom crisis which has intensified rolling blackouts this week.

The country’s energy grid experienced a notable collapse in generating capacity in mid-September 2022 that resulted in up to half of the power utility’s generating capacity being lost.

Eskom has been implementing high levels of rolling blackouts in recent days. The power utility is urgently seeking funds to buy diesel needed to fuel emergency power generators.

Ramaphosa has briefed the media on the outcomes of his two-day United Kingdom state visit.

“We had an opportunity to discuss with companies that are already invested in the energy sector in SA and others that want to come in and invest. There’s a company that wants to invest almost 13 billion pounds into renewable energy construction in SA and they have already started. So, we are going to see investments flowing from just this visit.”

President Ramaphosa briefs the media after the UK trip:

Cause of rolling blackouts

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has blamed corruption for the lack of funds in Eskom to buy enough diesel for backup power generation. Eskom mainly uses coal at its aging power stations, with diesel being used to supplement generation.

Gordhan says endemic corruption emanating from the previous leadership at the utility is the main cause of the current problems.

“Clearly the unreliability of our generation front is hampering efforts to provide greater stability and certainty to the country. The inadequacy of maintenance, the corruption, as I said in coal, in fuel oil amongst other things, and more breakdowns in the manner the diesel has to be utilised. It is in that context that Eskom has run out of cash that it has budgeted for which is some R10 billion for this year. But by the 17th of November, it had reached R14.4 billion.“

Plans to deal with rolling blackouts

Gordhan says Eskom board is currently engaging all managers in different power stations to discuss their plans in relation to rolling blackouts.  Gordhan was answering oral questions in Parliament.

He says the board is expected to come up with a tangible plan on how to deal with the power cuts until there are enough megawatts in the system.

“The board has been occupied with meeting with power station managers to discuss the particular target in terms of load shedding until there are enough megawatts in our system by next year and the year that will follow. We will get some definitiveness about the step that the board is suggesting in relation by stabilising generation by next week.”