Plan to end load shedding – former Eskom employees to return and more generation capacity to come

SA News5 June 2023SubscribeMinister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, announced on Friday that technical experts and former Eskom employees will be stationed at several power stations. At the same time, more generation capacity is being sourced to combat load shedding.The ex-employees and other experts are supported by the Resource Mobilisation Fund (RMF) and will be stationed at various power stations nationwide from Monday (5 June 2023).He said the team would go around the four power stations where the Energy Availability Factor (EAF) is low. According to the Minister, these include Matla, Kriel, Majuba, and Kendal power stations.In addition, support will be given to open-cycle gas turbines, which poses a challenge regarding logistics and storage, and he is confident that the experts will provide solutions.The RMF, launched in March this year, has already raised R100 million from businesses and philanthropies.The funds will provide technical support and capacity to the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) and employ the best minds in the game to end load shedding.These experts, according to the Minister, include former Eskom employees, while others are industry experts. He said the professionals, who come highly recommended, will be allocated according to their specialities.On the demand management support, he said he was confident that the programme would be oversubscribed.“Remember, we did say that there’s huge potential that can be derived on the demand side essentially, clawing back the megawatts on the demand side without necessarily interrupting households’ ability to get their daily requirements.”He added that Eskom has agreed to waive the requirement for security deposits to enable the wheeling of electricity to municipalities in good standing.“So we think this will significantly improve generation because this was one major stumbling block.”Plans to add more generation capacity The Minister also announced the two additional hydrogen projects – the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Programme – had been approved by the Eskom board and believes the project will reach a close by the end of June this year.According to the Minister, the project will add an extra 274 megawatts (MW) to the grid.In addition, he said preparations are underway to release an additional Bid Window.“We’re looking at the additional Bid windows in June and July of 2023, including a Big Window, number seven, for wind and solar PV.”He also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the decarbonisation agenda, and between these Bid Windows, he said Eskom is looking at 5,000 MW.“We need to make sure the prospects of these projects are located geographically in the areas with access to grid capacity.” This alluded to the previous Bid Window, where about 3,000 MW remains unallocated because of poor or no access to create capacity.“So we’ll make sure that there is no misstep there.” Additionally, he said a further Bid Window involves four battery storages of 1,200 MW and a gas project of 3,000 MW.Meanwhile, the request for proposals (RFP) for the load shedding reduction programme of 750 MW and the cross-border procurement programme of 1,000 MW will procure an excess of 10,000 MW.Regarding the winter plan, he noted the demand has increased, but the team at Eskom is working around the clock to lower the stages of power cuts.He also emphasised that the power entity is far from the grid collapse.