South Africa’s electricity generation capacity continues to show signs of improvement and stabilisation, says Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.
This follows work done in the past two weeks.
The Minister was speaking on Sunday during his weekly media briefing on progress made regarding the implementation of the Energy Action Plan.
Outlining the generation performance for period 3 -7 July 2023, the Minister said that Eskom has been able to maintain the increased energy availability of more than 60% resulting in lower levels of load shedding.
“The progress we’re making is tribute to the fact that we’ve stayed the course. We’ve received a number of criticism, arguing that government doesn’t have a plan and our consistent message was that we have a plan and we are going to deliver against that plan.
“We have been able to maintain the trend line, we are approximating that 60% energy availability factor. In megawatts terms, you can see the running average for the week is about 28 272,” Ramokgopa said.
The progress was on account of a number of things done over the past weeks. As a result of improved generation capacity now, there is an additional space for Eskom to do good planned maintenance.
The Minister highlighted that one of the underlying assumptions when the country entered winter, is that they were going to drastically reduce planned maintenance so that we have as many units as possible at any given time generating megawatts needed.
On Friday, they were able to take out double what had been planned because of the room that has been created by the performance of the units.
“This is planned, it is by design and voluntary. We could have chosen not to but we have chosen to take it out and you are not seeing it in the aggravation of the load shedding situation in the country.
“Load shedding is bad in all its elements but you can see that we’re able to maintain that permutation of 0 to 3 or 1 to 3.
“So either no load shedding between midnight and 4 am then we introduce it during the evening peak because it is more severe than the morning peak…or we introduce Stage 1 load shedding [at] midnight until 4 am and then we ramp it up to Stage 3 during the evening peak starting at 4pm.”
He said that for as long as planned maintenance continues, “these units won’t surprise us because we are thorough and robust in the manner in which we do it.”
When we make a promise that this unit is going to run for a certain number of hours without it failing or being taken out, we are confident that our message or promise will be kept.”
Ramokgopa said the month of July is a special one because it marks the anniversary of the Energy Action Plan which was introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The minister said the plan has made progress as they have been able to mobilise private sector players.
“In relation to the Energy Action Plan, we have been able to mobilise private sector players, over a hundred of them are working with us and that in part is to help us recover the units but also to ensure that they are able to transmit the knowledge and exchange it with some of the station managers and junior engineers so that they are able to run on their own.
“When we come out of this very difficult electricity situation, we will be more than confident that we have cadres of young engineers at Eskom, who fully understand how these machines operate,” he said.
The Minister added that they were also strengthening issues around accountability when it comes to the Energy Action Plan.
On funding to enable investment to the grid, Ramokgopa announced that Eskom has prioritised about 25 transformers that will make it possible to add 12,000 megawatts of capacity into the grid by 2028. –SAnews.gov.za