Ramokgopa: Private sector must help expand Eskom transmission

Ramokgopa: Private sector must help expand Eskom transmission

September 28, 2023

Eskom’s transmission expansion and strengthening process will need a “considerable amount of resources” that will require the government and the private sector to work together.

This is according to Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, speaking during a media briefing on the progress of South Africa’s Energy Action Plan on Tuesday.

“We are looking to tap into the liquidity that is available from the private sector to allow us an opportunity to expand the grid so that we are able to accommodate the renewable energy solutions that have been rolled out in the country, and a number of them have not been connected to the grid as a result of the constraint on the transmission side.

“The transmission expansion and strengthening exercise will require a considerable amount of resources and we know that the Eskom balance sheet is constrained and that the sovereign matrix has deteriorated, so it’s important that we explore opportunities for the country to tap into the liquidity that is sitting with the private sector,” said Ramokgopa.

He said government was doing everything possible to engage the private sector to attract more investment in transmission.

“We don’t want to repeat the same mistakes that have been committed on the generation side, where we kicked the can down the road and we just thought that the private sector on its own will come into the space and resolve the issues of generation capacity constraints.

“The state must be a very active participant in that space and that’s why we are doing everything possible to create those conditions.”

Ramokgopa said Eskom would continue to carry out planned maintenance on generating units.

“We will continue relentlessly with our efforts to ensure that planned maintenance gets to be executed. The intention is to make sure that everything possible is done to address the issues around the possibility of these units failing, going into the future.

“We are going to be diligent in ensuring we are able to execute planned maintenance so that we are able to derive the benefit going into the future.”

Ramokgopa said Eskom’s Unplanned Capacity Loss Factor [UCLF] for the week 18-22 September averaged about 13 751MW.

“We are now beginning to be consistently below 15 000MW. We are striving to go even below 13 000MW to ensure that we have as many megawatts available because once we reduce the [UCLF], those megawatts get to be added to the available capacity and they are also able to defray the intensity of planned maintenance.

“That’s why there’s no reason, as a result of this exercise of reducing the [UCLF], for us to further intensify load shedding to levels that are unacceptable. Of course, load shedding by definition is unacceptable,” he said.

He said there had been an uptick in load shedding stages on Monday for “a number of reasons, including the challenges that we are experiencing in the Western Cape as a result of the weather conditions”.

“Palmiet [power station] was a big casualty of those conditions and we were unable to exploit Palmiet, our pump station there.”

He said the Western and Eastern Cape had been exempted from load shedding as the provinces recovered from the recent storms. SAnews.gov.za

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