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South Africa’s power generation plans are out of date – An urgent rethink is required

By Hajira Khota

Economic changes have a direct influence on the efficiency industry. Furthermore, energy-generating technologies are continuously developing, impacting modern technological options and costs. One factor has been a decrease in electricity consumption from Eskom.
Slower economic growth, as seen during the COVID-19 lockdowns, has fuelled this trend. In addition, significant increases in electricity costs have stifled demand. Power outages have also led to a reduction in demand.

In an interview on Radio Islam International, Professor Hartmut Winkler from the University of Johannesburg says that a strategy including short, medium, and long-term responses has been implemented.

Improved maintenance of Eskom power plants, increased energy generating capacity, and demand management is parts of the short and medium-term strategy. A long-term energy security master plan is part of the long-term strategy.

Due to ageing infrastructure and an unusually high number of failures, the national power provider Eskom has been unable to maintain a consistent power supply. When demand exceeds supply, this has resulted in frequent energy outages.

Professor Winkler also mentions that load-shedding will be a never-ending cycle.

This tendency is likely to be noticed as individuals get more involved in solar energy.
Mines are settling for solar facilities. Individuals are eager to put additional solar panels on their roofs, malls, and industries. There have been many significant advancements in the industry: regarding technology, namely electricity storage, which is a crucial enabler of wind and solar as power generators.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and finance minister Tito Mboweni are working hard to control the pandemic’s effects. As a result, a reassessment of the country’s long-term power needs – as well as a study of the technologies most suited to the situation – has become a top priority.

The proposal also needs to be updated, since South Africa can clear up any residual doubts regarding future nuclear power plants. Considering this, and despite resistance from different sectors, the government has urged the nuclear industry to plan new construction.

Wind and solar facilities must supply electricity continuously from 5 am to 9 pm, according to a new condition in the emergency power plan, implying that when there isn’t enough sun or wind, renewable energy installations need to be supplemented, making them more expensive.

Public opinion plays a significant role in how governments choose to create energy; therefore, addressing this long-standing dispute will be a vital component of a sustainable, clean energy transition. To attract and encourage private sector engagement, the government needs to give transparent and trustworthy policy stances and communications in the future.

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