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Despite ‘visible progress’ on loadshedding front, Eskom boss says SA not out of the woods yet

7th June 2024

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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On day 55 of no loadshedding in South Africa, on May 21, newly appointed Eskom boss Dan Marokane warned that the country was “not of out the woods yet” in terms of more reliable energy supply.

However, he noted that Eskom was making visible progress towards where it wanted to be, “and we should acknowledge that”.

Speaking at Enlit Africa 2024, held in Cape Town – and on day 82 in the hot seat – Marokane said a debate anchored on suspicions about whether the improvement in electricity availability might be linked to last week’s general elections was of little help.

“We should keep on focusing on what we can do better. We are very committed as an Eskom team to do what we can to progress along this path of recovery.”

Marokane added that there would be “meaningful” megawatts coming to the grid later this year, including from the Medupi and Kusile coal power stations, as well as the Koeberg nuclear power station.

“This will start building up the capacity and reserves we so badly need to ensure our energy security is improved.”

Role of Coal
There were concerns around how Eskom’s continued operation of its coal-fired power stations would impact the multibillion-rand pledge government had received in support of its Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET IP), in return for a number of decarbonisation commitments, acknowledged Marokane.

He confirmed that Eskom had raised the issue with the various global partners involved in this global funding programme.

“We have engaged everyone; we have explained the rationale and need for a technical course adjustment, and they all understood this.”

He said Eskom would follow up with all the respective parties in June and July, while it would also work to make “visible progress” with regard to its own clean energy projects, to showcase the utility’s commitment to a “blending of technologies”.

Marokane added that an acceleration of the roll-out of the unbundled Eskom transmission company, and a relook at the pace of delivery of the proposed Transmission Development Plan, should enable the country to also add more renewables to the currently constrained grid.

“The commitment to the end-goal remains; however, there need to be course adjustments, and that is what we are dealing with at this moment.

“It is important, given our history with regard to loadshedding, that we adjust our plans to improve the reliability and sustainability of the energy availability factor going forward.

We’ll find a path that allows us to get back to the contributions in terms of emission reductions that we need to have,” said Marokane.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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