Mon, 17 May 2021

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has announced short- and medium-term interventions to meet South Africa's energy demands and address its electricity and energy challenges, including steps to allow Independent Power Producers to come on stream sooner.

This was an "an urgent and immediate task to ensure economic growth", it said in a statement.

The move comes after Eskom on Monday announced that it would escalate load shedding to stage 6, allowing for 6000 MW to be shed. Among the interventions from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy is the promulgation of section 34 ministerial determinations.

These determinations are instrumental in guiding the Independent Power Producer programme and procurement. The Integrated Resource Plan was released earlier this year as an overarching guide to the energy mix for the next decade.

Following the announcement of stage 6 load shedding, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan said that his department would have discussions with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on how best to secure 4 000 MW of spare capacity to add to the system.

As Eskom flounders, political and financial logjam stalls new energy supply - experts

The statement said the National Energy Regulator of South Africa would be met to conclude on matters of concurrence so it could assist the Ministry in responding to current challenges.

"Despite these immediate interventions, the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 is the blueprint that sets a clear path for security of energy supply and electricity for the country. It dictates that South Africa will continue to pursue a diversified energy mix," the statement said.

Speaking to Fin24 on Monday, energy expert Chris Yelland said that the Department of Mineral resources and Energy, were "sitting on their hands" instead of procuring emergency capacity and unlocking a lot of red tape, which blocked access to additional energy supply and prevented customers from looking after their own electricity future. He also criticised what he called a lack of collaboration between government departments.

It was crucial to set section 34 determinations in motion and cut red tape blocking access to additional power supply, he added.

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