Eskom’s Future: A Private Sector Collaboration on the Horizon?

In a recent media session discussing South Africa’s Energy Action Plan, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa highlighted the pressing need for collaboration between the government and the private sector to fortify Eskom’s transmission capabilities.

Tapping Into Private Reserves

Amid challenges, Minister Ramokgopa emphasized the potential benefits of involving the private sector in the expansion endeavors. He remarked, “The transmission expansion and strengthening exercise will require a considerable amount of resources… it’s important that we explore opportunities for the country to tap into the liquidity that is sitting with the private sector.”

The goal? To ensure renewable energy solutions in the country are adequately connected to the grid and addressing the constraints on the transmission side.

Government’s Proactive Role

While the private sector’s liquidity is eyed as a potential resource, Ramokgopa was clear about avoiding past pitfalls. He asserted that solely relying on the private sector to fill the generation gaps had proven inadequate. The Minister stated, “The state must be a very active participant in that space and that’s why we are doing everything possible to create those conditions.”

Maintenance: A Persistent Priority

The minister reaffirmed Eskom’s unwavering commitment to its maintenance schedules. He underscored the essential role of diligent planning in ensuring the longevity and reliability of these units.

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A Decline in UCLF and Load Shedding Updates

Shedding light on Eskom’s Unplanned Capacity Loss Factor (UCLF), the recent numbers depict a promising trend. “We are now beginning to be consistently below 15 000MW,” said Ramokgopa, expressing ambitions to dip even further below 13,000MW. This reduction can lead to more available megawatts, offsetting the impacts of maintenance.

Despite these strides, recent load shedding escalations have been evident. Ramokgopa cited several contributing factors, notably mentioning weather-induced challenges in the Western Cape, specifically at the Palmiet power station.

He ended on a reassuring note, exempting the Western and Eastern Cape from load shedding as these regions recover from the brunt of recent meteorological events.