South Africa explores power ships as a short-term energy solution

outh Africa’s government is ready to allow emergency energy supply from power ships, but with a time limit of five years, according to electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. This statement also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensure transparency and competitive bidding processes for such contracts. Other power solutions are also under consideration, including battery storage and other forms of technology. The government hopes that using such emergency mechanisms will allow them to add as much as 3,800MW to the national grid from the new procurement programme, part of the Energy Action Plan. Among a number of initiatives that will be launched during June 2023, are the load shedding reduction programme, the cross-border reduction programme and the emergency procurement programme. The Kelvin coal power station and some large-scale producers are expected to be included in the power supply. Minister Ramokgopa has also updated the demand-side management programme, with incentives aimed at households using power outside peak times.

Key points:

  • South Africa is open to energy generated from power ships, but contracts must not exceed a time frame of five years.
  • The emergency procurement programme will be transparent and feature competitive bidding.
  • 3,800 MW could be added to the national grid.
  • Initiatives set to be launched in June 2023 include load shedding reduction, cross-border reduction and emergency procurement.
  • Electricity generated from Kelvin coal-fired power station, large-scale producers and other independent generators will be used to supply the extra power.
  • The demand-side management programme offers incentives for households using power outside peak times.
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Furthermore, Ramokgopa mentioned several other aspects of South Africa’s energy landscape. For example, he stated that rooftop solar PV might add as much as 9.5 GW of energy, which would help generate power at a lower cost than other alternatives. Ramokgopa mentioned that 5,000 MW of solar PV and wind, 1,200 MW of battery storage, and 3,000 MW of gas will be up for proposals in June.

The South African government has employed other solutions, such as developing new power plants to supplement the existing supply. During the briefing, Ramokgopa stated that doing so can reduce the country’s dependence on emergency power. Currently, 400 MW of energy will be added to the grid in anticipation of the winter period by May 2023, with help from the Standard Offer Programme from Eskom.

The government is open to alternative energy sources that can be used as an emergency procurement. Ramokgopa said the country can also source energy from various established technologies, such as high-tech batteries, which can offer emergency power solutions when required. The government is committed to being “technology agnostic” in its drive to procure energy and plans to adopt the most efficient and cost-effective options.

In addition, the demand-side management programme is a mechanism designed to encourage households to use less power during peak periods. It is based on incentives and aims to reduce consumption by 5 MW in around 200,000 households. Such efforts to reduce power consumption will also help reduce South Africa’s dependence on energy imports.

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South Africa’s government is committed to emergency procurement and is open to using power ships as one of several solutions to the energy crisis. They plan to achieve this by ensuring the process is transparent and competitive, supporting schemes such as demand-side management, and generating power through new energy portfolios. South Africa’s government hopes this will not only address the immediate challenge of the energy crisis but will also prove an essential step towards sustainable and energy-sufficient future for the country.

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