Eskom’s Load-Shedding Outlook: A Bleak Year Ahead

Eskom’s load-shedding outlook for the upcoming year looks grim, as the power utility predicts a generation capacity shortfall of over 2,000MW for most of the year. In this article, we’ll break down:

  • Eskom’s Generation Adequacy Report insights
  • The two risk levels Eskom uses for its outlook
  • South Africa’s plan to improve generation capacity
  • The introduction of a new Ministry and Minister of Electricity
  • Incentives for installing solar power systems

Generation Adequacy Report: Risk Levels and Predictions

Eskom’s Generation Adequacy Report for the medium term provides insights into the risk of load-shedding based on “planned” and “likely” risk levels. Eskom breaks down its outlook into two risk levels:

  1. Planned risk level (Base scenario): Breakdowns reach 17,200MW
  2. Likely risk scenario: Breakdowns reach 18,700MW

In the likely risk scenario, South Africa will experience at least stage 2 load-shedding for the entire year. The planned risk level predicts a generation capacity shortfall of over 2,001MW for 40 of the 52 weeks ahead, and losses of between 1,001MW and 2,000MW for 11 weeks.

Note: Each stage of load-shedding represents up to 1,000MW of electricity demand that must be removed from the grid.

Eskom has increased the generation capacity shortfall assumptions for its outlook, with the planned and likely risk scenarios previously assuming a generation capacity shortfall of 15,200MW and 17,200MW, respectively. These have been increased to 17,200MW and 18,700MW.

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South Africa’s Plan to Improve Generation Capacity

The South African government has announced several interventions to reduce strain on Eskom’s ageing coal fleet. Key events include:

  • National Disaster Declaration: In February 2023, the impact of load-shedding was classified as a national disaster by Elias Sithole, head of the National Disaster Management Centre.
  • State of the Nation Address: President Cyril Ramaphosa declared load-shedding a state of disaster and announced the formation of a new ministry — a Minister of Electricity to the Presidency.
  • Appointment of Minister of Electricity: Kgosientso Ramokgopa was appointed as Minister of Electricity to oversee all aspects of the electricity crisis response.

Incentives for Installing Solar Power Systems

One of the fastest ways to reduce demand on Eskom’s grid is by installing solar power systems. Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced significant rooftop solar and renewable energy generation rebates during the 2023 Budget Speech:

  • Rooftop Solar Rebate: Individuals installing rooftop solar panels from 1 March 2023 can claim a rebate of 25% of the cost, up to a maximum of R15,000. This incentive is available for one year only.
  • Renewable Energy Tax Incentive for Businesses: Businesses can claim a 125% deduction in the first year for all renewable energy projects, with no thresholds on generation capacity.

By offering these incentives, the South African government hopes to encourage investment in renewable energy sources and reduce the strain on Eskom’s grid.

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Conclusion

Eskom’s load-shedding outlook for the year ahead is bleak, with the power utility predicting a generation capacity shortfall for most of the year. The South African government has announced various interventions and incentives to reduce the strain on Eskom’s ageing coal fleet and encourage investment in renewable energy. Time will tell if these efforts are enough to alleviate the ongoing

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