Electricity 2021: The push for a just transition

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The load-shedding that has plagued South Africa for many years is likely to worsen for some time yet, as State-owned power utility Eskom is struggling to meet demand.

President Cyril Ramaphosa noted in his Station of the Nation Address in February 2021 that the country would need between 4 000 MW and 6 000 MW of additional generation capacity over the next five years – that is in addition to the capacity to be added under the country's renewables procurement programmes.

Eskom has, however, assured South Africans that progress is being made with regard to the utility’s programme to improve the performance of its coal-powered fleet so that load-shedding can be materially reduced from September 2021 onwards.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy is also preparing to procure electricity under new bid windows of the Renewable Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has stalled for many years. It is also making progress in procuring so-called emergency power supplies that are expected to contribute to electricity supply from August 2022.

Steps are also being taken to make it easier for businesses to generate electricity to meet some of their own electricity needs. In that respect, policy discussions and debates within government, regarding reforms in the electricity sector, are also continuing.

Creamer Media’s Electricity 2021 Report provides an overview of South Africa’s electricity sector, with a focus on Eskom’s restructuring, generation performance and new build programme, as well as issues of coal management and the contentious issue of electricity tariffs. It also covers the changing electricity landscape, the role of independent power producers in the country’s energy mix, as well as transmission, distribution and electricity planning, besides others.

This report draws from material published over the past 12 months and is a summary of sources of information published in Engineering News and Mining Weekly, as well as of information available in the public domain.

This report does not purport to provide an analysis of market trends.

The information in this report is correct as of May 26, 2021.

Published on: 26 May 2021.