Government launches fund to kickstart generation projects

South Africa has started a fund to help the government fast-track electricity-generation projects needed to end a crippling energy crisis.

The Energy One Stop Shop and Resilience Fund will aim to streamline regulatory processes required for private investment in electricity production and help speed up the approval of projects, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel said at a virtual launch on Thursday.

South Africa has been subjected to blackouts, known locally as load-shedding, since 2008 because the state power utility’s old coal-fired plants that supply more than 80% of the nation’s electricity regularly break down.

The department said that the Industrial Development Corp., the National Empowerment Fund, and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition have set aside funds to assist companies with energy-related challenges and have so far approved disbursements of R294 million.

This comes on the back of an announcement that the government is working on about 25 projects in existing substations that could potentially unlock about 13,000MW of energy.

“In the next 10 years, we think that it’s possible for us to be able to have an additional 24 gigawatt,” South Africa’s electricity minister told reporters.

With solutions far in the future, though, South Africa’s power problems roll on. State-owned utility Eskom announced stage 4 load-shedding during the week.

Power breakdowns in Africa’s most industrialized nation have increased to 16,943MW of generating capacity, it said in a statement. “The grid remains vulnerable and susceptible to plummeting availability of megawatts,” Ramokgopa said.


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