Load shedding, a crisis that has long plagued South Africa, has reached its worst level ever, with Eskom imposing blackouts every day this year to protect the national grid from collapsing. The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been seeking private businesses to help capacitate the National Energy Crisis Committee (Necom) to tackle this issue. In response, Business for South Africa has raised R100 million to capitalise a Resource Mobilisation Fund, which will procure expertise to support the country’s Energy Action Plan over one to two years.
The model is designed to address concerns about potential mismanagement of funds under a fast-tracked procurement process. The Resource Mobilisation Fund only receives and raises donations, procures capacity and skillsets, donates these to Necom, and reports back appropriately. It won’t engage in policy advocacy. Rudi Dicks, the head of the presidency’s project management office, said that Necom would seek project management, legal, and energy modelling expertise through the fund.
The new Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, said that the establishment of the Resource Mobilisation Fund shows that action is being taken to end load shedding. The funding signifies that wheels are in motion to tackle the worsening energy crisis, although one month after a national state of disaster was declared. The South African government has been hard at work to bring more urgently needed megawatts onto the power grid. Eskom is implementing a Generation Recovery Plan to improve its performance, and the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects has been removed to open the way for private investment in electricity generation. A Request For Proposals for 513 MW of battery storage has been released, which will be followed shortly by the release of Bid Window 7.
The funding also indicates that private businesses are willing to support the government in tackling the energy crisis. President Ramaphosa said that the Resource Mobilisation Fund would provide crucial expertise and resources to turbocharge the work of Necom, ensuring that the best minds in the country are put to work to end load shedding. The tremendous support that this initiative has already received from businesses and philanthropies alike is evidence that we can work together as Team South Africa to get our country back on track.
The news was first released on Bloomberg and SA News.