SA Govt plans to “open floodgates” for private investment in stricken energy sector

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THE South African governmen would “open the floodgates” to private investment in the country’s stricken energy sector, said Bloomberg News. 

Citing a presentation by the government to opposition parties, which had been earlier reported upon by News24, the newsire said it would make it easier for private companies to build plants and pay households and businesses to produce electricity from solar panels.

The government needed to “… open the floodgates for private investment in new generation capacity,” the presidency said. “Our overriding priority is to add as much new capacity to the grid as possible, as quickly as possible.”

The presidency’s plans would add 7,165MW of capacity within three months, a further 5,663MW in a year and 9,770MW in 18 months, meaning that the amount of available generation capacity could almost double, said Bloomberg News.

Those gains would come from Eskom units returned from outages, demand management, new generation capacity, private investment, power from solar panels on rooftops and the completion of the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power plants, it said. Beyond 18 months, there is scope to see a further 8,700 megawatts of new generation capacity procured, the presidency said.

The need for investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure and “credible, confidence-boosting measures” is also part of the plan, to “assure South Africans that significant actions are being taken to address the crisis.”

There was also ambitions to deal with Eskom’s outsized debt pile by October.

“Cabinet has decided to establish a National Energy Crisis Committee, which will involve all relevant ministers, departments and agencies, with a technical team chaired by the director general in the presidency,” the plan said.