President promises end of loadshedding ‘within reach’

President Cyril Ramaphosa. PHOTO: Presidency/Twitter

 The government’s focus on implementing plans to urgently address the energy crisis are making gains – with the president promising that the end of load shedding is “finally within reach” during the State of the Nation Address (SoNA).

The President said that the government has a clear Energy Action Plan, which is being implemented with single-minded focus through the National Energy Crisis Committee.

“We have delivered on our commitments to bring substantial new power through private investment on to the grid, which is already helping to reduce load shedding.

Last year, we implemented a major debt relief package which will enable Eskom to make investments in maintenance and transmission infrastructure and ensure its sustainability going forward,” said Ramaphosa.

“Since we revived our renewable energy programme five years ago, we have connected more than 2500 MW of solar and wind power to the grid with three times this amount already in procurement or construction,” he added.

The public’s adoption of rooftop solar has increased after the government’s introduction of tax incentives and financial support for the installation of such systems.

Additionally, regulatory reforms have facilitated private investment in electricity generation, leading to the initiation of over 120 new private energy projects.

“These are phenomenal developments that are driving the restructuring of our electricity sector in line with what many other economies have done to increase competitiveness and bring down prices.

“Through all of these actions, we are confident that the worst is behind us and the end of load shedding is finally within reach. But we are not stopping there,” said Ramaphosa.

Close to 14 000km of new transmission lines are set to be built in South Africa to connect renewable energy projects, which will further strengthen South Africa’s hand in energy security.

“To ensure that we never face a similar crisis ever again, we are reforming our energy system to make it more competitive, sustainable and reliable into the future.

We are going to build more than 14 000km of new transmission lines to accommodate renewable energy over the coming years,” he said.

Ramaphosa further explained that fast tracking the building of transmission lines will lead to acquiring private investment in transmission infrastructure “through a variety of innovative investment models.”

Compiled by Warren Hawkins