Time is up: the revision of SA’s energy policy is necessary “like yesterday”, warns Eskom

Jan Oberholzer, COO of Eskom.

Photo: Elvira Wood / Netwerk24

An energy policy review is urgently needed as time to close South Africa’s energy supply gap has effectively run out, Eskom’s Jan Oberholzer said Thursday.

Speaking at the McCloskey Southern African Coal Conference, the utility’s COO told delegates that government policy is simply insufficient to solve the country’s worsening energy crisis, which requires substantial new generation capacity.

“Over the next 14 years Eskom will take back 22,000 MW, half of what is available now,” said Oberholzer.

“The DMRE [Department of Mineral Resources and Energy] he must understand that politics is necessary. We have an IRP [Integrated Resource Plan] 2019. But it is no longer enough. What’s coming to us … means we need additional capacity, like yesterday. “

The COO noted that it first warned that the power generation gap was between 4,000 MW and 6,000 MW about two and a half years ago.

While the government has made some progress in reducing the bureaucracy that had prevented the activation of private power generation, much more is needed to close the gap.

“SA Inc needs to understand what awaits us in terms of the energy situation and we need to work together [to solve it]”said Oberholzer.

He agreed with other speakers that renewables alone could not solve the problem.

“There is not much understanding of the difference between energy and capacity, so I fully agree that renewables [are] it will not solve the problem, there is no question, “he said.” If you withdraw 20 GW and rely on renewables, you have to install 60 GW at the same time, which is not possible. “

Commenting on the security of supply and price risks that come with importing gas, Oberholzer indicated that Karpowership won the bids as part of the government’s emergency energy supply program.

“Propose a 20-year PPA [Power Purchase Agreement] while the price of gas is not fixed … that’s why Eskom [is reluctant to say] we will sign on the dotted line, because the risk is too high “.

However, he said any future solution to energy shortages, regardless of technology, will require energy projects to be small “because we don’t have the luxury of time, because we are out of time in terms of available capacity.”

Mike Teke, CEO of Seriti Resources, one of Eskom’s major coal suppliers, said that while it is clear that all coal-fired power plants cannot virtually be closed in the short term, there has been broad acceptance that there will be. a mix of technologies in South Africa’s energy production in the future.

“We’re not contesting it, but we’re talking too much about these things right now – and time is running out.”

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