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Gov't clarifies stance on SA's energy mix

Sep 15 2016 17:38
Liesl Peyper

Medupi Power Station’s Unit 6 was scheduled to be synchronised at midday on December 24, but ultimately only got going in March. If the current strike at the power station continues for much longer, the rest of the units will come

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Cape Town – Cabinet reiterated once more that South Africa is committed to the Independent Power Producers Procurement (IPP) programme, despite utterances by Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to the contrary. 

In a media briefing on Thursday, following a cabinet meeting on September 14 2016, Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Planning and Monitoring repeated the IPP programme will produce a significant share of South Africa’s new electricity capacity and it’s a “critical component that underpins economic activity and growth”. 

In July this year, Eskom’s Molefe set the cat among the pigeons when he announced that Eskom would not proceed with the signing of independent power producers to the grid. 

Molefe has since come under fire for his stance. National Treasury reacted, saying Molefe was not in a position to make comments about South Africa’s energy policy, while Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson repeatedly stated that the IPP programme remains part of South Africa’s energy mix.

READ: Eskom review endangers biggest Africa renewable power plan 

In Thursday’s statement, Cabinet said the IPP programme will contribute to the diversification of both the supply and nature of the country’s energy production. “In addition to introducing new skills and securing new investment in the industry, it will also benchmark performance and pricing.” 

The department of energy is expected to complete the long-awaited Integrated Energy Plan and Integrated Resource Plan for electricity by the end of this year which will provide more clarity on electricity pricing, future investment in the area of electricity generation and the portion of generation capacity that will go to the various energy sources. 

Meanwhile Radebe on Thursday praised the fact that a second unit of Medupi Power Station had come on stream. The unit, the second to be completed in the 4 800 MW project, will start to generate and deliver electricity into the grid over a number of months. 

“This is the second of the power station’s six units to come on stream,” Radebe said. 

The entire six-unit project is expected to be completed in 2020. Medupi has been under construction since 2007 construction of the project was first commissioned in 2007 and was supposed to be completed within four years, but it has been plagued by delays which has resulted in cost overruns of billions of rand. 

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