South Africa Seeks International Help to Tackle Load Shedding Crisis
Newly appointed South African electricity minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, is exploring international partnerships to address the country’s ongoing energy crisis. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ramokgopa mentioned reaching out to other countries to learn from their experiences in overcoming energy challenges.
Collaborating with Global Partners
Ramokgopa met with the Chinese ambassador earlier this week to discuss potential collaboration in ending load shedding. This partnership could involve sourcing technical expertise, training young people in solar power installation, introducing micro-grids, and acquiring emergency power.
The minister also intends to engage with Germany, the United States, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and Vietnam. Ramokgopa plans to meet with the Vietnamese ambassador, as Vietnam managed to address blackouts by installing 9,000 MW of rooftop solar within 12 months.
Support from Fellow Ministers
Solving the energy crisis is a top priority for ministers involved with Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned power company. After being sworn in, Ramokgopa met with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, and Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe. They all agreed on the urgency of addressing load shedding and offered support by providing necessary resources to tackle the crisis.
Each minister has a specific role to play. Mantashe focuses on policy direction for minerals and resources, while Gordhan deals with the Eskom board as a shareholder representative. Ramokgopa, on the other hand, is responsible for implementation and ensuring operational efficiency at the plants.
Improved Performance Amid Worsening Crisis
Eskom recently reported that six of its coal-fired power stations achieved a 70% energy availability factor for the first time since May 2022. Despite this progress, Ramokgopa cautioned that the same power stations were down to 40% the following day, highlighting the severity of the crisis.
As winter approaches and electricity demand increases, Ramokgopa warned that the energy situation could deteriorate even further. By seeking assistance from international partners, South Africa aims to find sustainable solutions to its ongoing load shedding woes.