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Africa|Africa Energy Indaba|Business|Energy|Eskom|generation|Indaba|Innovation|Power|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|SECURITY
Africa|Africa Energy Indaba|Business|Energy|Eskom|generation|Indaba|Innovation|Power|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|SECURITY
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Real progress being made against loadshedding in recent months, says Energy Council CEO

Energy Council of South Africa CEO James Mackay

Energy Council of South Africa CEO James Mackay

5th March 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The number of hours of loadshedding in South Africa has been cut by 67% over the past three-and-a-half months, Energy Council of South Africa CEO James MacKay highlighted on Monday evening. He was participating in an event in Cape Town, hosted by UK innovation agency Innovate UK, and UK International Development, ahead of the Africa Energy Indaba. Loadshedding is the South African term for rotating scheduled power cuts, due to lack of generating capacity, imposed by national electricity utility Eskom.

One of the reasons for the significant reduction in loadshedding hours has been the secondment, by the business sector, of experienced engineers to Eskom power stations. Further, renewable energy capacity in the country has increased rapidly.

He expressed confidence that the country was solving the loadshedding problem. The development of a large private-sector renewable energy generation sector was irreversible. The concern was, rather, whether or not this expansion in renewables could stall. Many thought that transmission grid constraints could restrict the further development of renewable energy in the country. He did not agree. He did not think that the transmission network would be a problem.

However, even when loadshedding had been solved, a lot of work would still need to be done to create a network which had long-term stability, he averred.

And then there was climate change. “The target is net-zero [carbon emissions],” he stressed. “We need to get to net zero.” (All members of the Energy Council have “signed up for” net zero and all new members must also do so, he pointed out.)

“We have to think about energy security and energy sustainability,” added MacKay. Sustainability did not refer only to climate change, but also to economic and social sustainability. The country’s energy sector had to solve loadshedding, reduce emissions, be socially responsible, develop skills, while being economically viable, with bankable projects. In other words, the country had both to solve loadshedding and achieve sustainability.

The single biggest problem was the country’s municipalities. Most of them were making no attempt to address loadshedding or sustainability (unlike, for example, Cape Town). “We have 167 municipalities without a plan,” he affirmed. “We need a model for municipalities.”

The Energy Council is a business representative organisation, embracing both private-sector and State-owned companies (including Eskom).  

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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