The Department of Energy has gazetted new regulations outlining their commitment to sourcing over 11 800 MW of power for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) over the next few years.

This new energy will be procured from diverse sources, including solar, wind, gas, coal and storage. While meeting the country’s energy needs well into the future, this new capacity will also help meet international obligations to reduce carbon emissions.

Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe confirmed that government intends to purchase 6 800 MW of solar and wind power through Eskom. The country will also procure 3000 megawatts of gas-generated electricity, and 1500 megawatts will be generated by coal. This procurement plan aims to bring greater energy security to South Africa as well as deliver on climate commitments, especially on a local level.

President Cyril Ramaphosa explains that government is especially committed to supplying sustainable energy.

“Reliable, secure and affordable energy supply is the lifeblood of any economy. To limit the impact of climate change, it is equally important that energy is sustainable and environmentally-sound,” he wrote in his weekly newsletter.

“Following the commitments we made in the State of the Nation Address in February, government has now gazetted ministerial determinations that will enable the development of more than 11 800 megawatts (MW) of additional power generation. To give a sense of the scale of this development, South Africa currently has in the region of over 30 000 MW of electricity available on the national grid each day.”

“This signals government’s clear intention to move ahead with one of the key reforms that is needed to unlock the growth of our economy and attract much-needed investment.”

“Stabilising our state owned enterprises is an important part of the reform process. In this regard, we are working to restore Eskom’s operational capabilities and restructure Eskom to fundamentally change the way in which we generate and transmit electricity in our country,” Ramaphosa added. “Our vision is to lead South Africa though a just transition which ensures that as many people as possible benefit from the investment, growth and job-creation that we can achieve through expanding our electricity generation capacity.”

The City of Cape Town seems positive following these new advances.

“This is a positive step that the National Government has taken to show South Africa’s commitment to garnering cleaner energy and to diversify the energy mix,” says the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

“We are optimistic about the opening of the energy market, given President Ramaphosa’s statement of intent at the State of the Nation Address in which he called for municipalities to be given more opportunity to generate their own power.

The City awaits an engagement with national government for clarity on the roles and responsibilities of local governments in energy procurement.

“The City maintains that local governments have the constitutional power and obligation to procure renewable energy and this is necessary to move away from the sole reliance on Eskom for energy supply and that cities, being the growth engines of the economy, should have a say in the energy mix, especially looking at cleaner, more sustainable and more affordable options,” Plato adds.

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