Surplus power to be purchased from IPPs to meet electricity demand: Gordhan

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Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says six power stations have been identified for maintenance. Gordhan also says surplus power will be purchased from current Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to help close the current electricity gap.

He says up to 1 000 megawatts of power is potentially available in the next three months from IPPs.

Addressing the media in Pretoria on Monday afternoon, Gordhan says exemptions from the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) will be allowed to cut red tape and speed up purchasing of additional electricity capacity from neighbouring countries and private generators.

“Exemptions are required from the PFMA and the PPPFA (Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act) and those are processes my colleagues are working on.  Then there have been negotiations over the last 10 days with neighbouring countries in the SA energy pool and somewhere between 100 – 200MW could be made available in the next month demanding the contracting mechanisms.  The last area is 150MW from gas and that could be available in the next three months in the short term.”

Energy Crisis Committee

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele says the short-term objective for the Energy Crisis Committee is to reduce the severity and frequency of rolling power blackouts.

The committee, which includes departments of Public Enterprises, Environment, Mineral Resources, and Police Ministry, has given details on implementing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s energy plan.

During his address to the nation last week, Ramaphosa announced the establishment of the committee as part of several interventions to address the power crisis.

Gungubele says the committee has already started meeting to achieve these objectives.

“Eight work streams have been established to ensure coordination across government and discussions are under way with the private sector and social partners to ensure that the best available expertise in the country is brought to this report. The safety and security work streams under the energy…have already made progress in tackling sabotage, theft, and fraud at Eskom power stations and other key installations.”

Regulation of solar projects

The government also says it will reduce the regulatory requirements for solar projects in areas of low and medium environmental sensitivity. It says this will allow Eskom to expand power lines and substations without environmental authorisation in areas of low and medium sensitivity.   Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries, Barbra Creecy says her department is working to reduce the regulatory burden where possible.

“We have already identified five electricity transmission corridors and when this particular infrastructure is located within those transmissions corridors, and we have worked with Eskom on identifying those corridors that these provisions with regard to not needing an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) would kick in if it is areas of low and medium sensitivity.”

Ministers brief the media on measures to deal with SA’s energy crisis: