Government has committed to continue the pursuit of an energy mix, according to President Jacob Zuma.
Giving an update on February’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President said that since the inception of the five-point plan in December 2014, substantial progress has been made in resolving the energy challenge.
“Operations and maintenance practices at Eskom continue to improve, to ensure that the power plants are appropriately maintained and provide electricity within their capacity,” President Zuma said on Tuesday.
Eskom has signed Short-Term Power Purchase (STPP) Agreements that bring additional supply of electricity, to cater for the shortfall due to maintenance and to match demand during peak periods.
A further 800 megawatts will be added to the grid through co-generation, while 450 megawatts have been realized through the energy efficiency programmes.
Various projects of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) currently supply 1800 megawatts to the grid.
A total 92 projects of the renewable energy programme will bring a total of 6327 megawatts to the grid within the next two and a half years.
The exploration of various other options for electricity generation is underway, including cross-border projects within the SADC region that include hydro, gas and coal.
Recently South Africa has been grappling with energy constraints evidenced by load-shedding.
“Our estimate is that electricity shortages are currently costing the economy close to 1% in economic growth,” the President said.
He added that the nuclear build programme is at an advanced stage of planning and the procurement process should be concluded within the current financial year.
Speaking at Tuesday’s briefing, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said that National Treasury’s role in the nuclear build is to support the Department of Energy in the process.
“Our role is to support the Department of Energy in arriving at the most cost effective and most appropriate procurement process. We are working with the Department of Energy in arriving at that. The department has gone through the signing of agreements with different countries, they’ve also been engaging with vendors in order to see who would actually provide the best solution,” explained the Minister.
In March 2011, Cabinet approved and promulgated a 20 year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2010-30) which is the electricity plan of government with a mixed energy agenda that puts nuclear at 23% (9600 MW) of energy source by 2030. The first unit will be commissioned by 2023.
Meanwhile, the updated Gas Utilisation Master Plan will be published, which will stimulate development and investment in the gas industry.