South Africans dumping Eskom

South Africa’s energy regulator registered 98 power-generation facilities with a total capacity of 908 MW in the three months through September, marking a surge in private projects as the state electric company fails to meet demand.

The plants logged during the period with an investment value of R17.3 billion were dominated by solar technology, making up 71% of the capacity, according to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa.

Solar is preferred due to adequate sunlight and flexibility for small- and large-scale installations, it said. 

The jump in projects demonstrates businesses’ rush to commission private power and move away from Eskom, which regularly implements controlled blackouts because of breakdowns at mainly coal-fired plants.

The registrations are also a bright spot in government action to stabilize the electricity grid. 

The government required licenses for projects bigger than 1 MW until 2021, when it raised the threshold to 100 MW. It removed the cap completely the following year, but registration of the stations remains a requirement.

Nersa has registered a total of 1,185 generation facilities with a capacity of 5,785 megawatts worth R111 billion since 2018.

Government programs to add generation capacity to the system have slowed for months and years due to various obstacles.

South Africa made some progress last week, completing a process to pick winning bidders, including Electricite de France and Scatec ASA, for its first battery tender.


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