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Featured image: Department of Mineral Resources

South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has unveiled a series of interventions to address the country’s energy crisis, including steps to allow Independent Power Producers to enter the energy mix sooner.

In a statement, the Department said it "commits to develop adequate generation capacity to meet electricity demand" adding that it was "an urgent and immediate task to ensure economic growth."

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The announcement comes in the wake of national utility Eskom implementing Stage 6 load shedding, which has had a huge impact on the country’s struggling economy.

"As part of efforts to ensure security of electricity supply for the country, the Minister has considered short and medium-term interventions to both the electricity and energy challenges facing the country," read the statement.

These include, among others:

  • Publication of the Request For Information. The lead time for generation projects under normal circumstances is anything from 36 months onwards. The RFI will enable the Department to have a sense of immediate generation options available (3 to 12 months) to help fill the short-term gap. This will then enable the Department to design an appropriate intervention in the immediate term.
  • Promulgate Section 34 determinations
  • IPPs to bring Window 4 capacity on stream earlier
  • Drive for the use of LPG gas

The electricity regulator, NERSA, will be met to conclude on matters of concurrence so it can assist the Ministry respond to the challenges.

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Despite these immediate interventions, the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 is the blueprint that sets a clear path for security of energy supply and electricity for the country. It dictates that South Africa will continue to pursue a diversified energy mix.