South Africa

Ramokgopa turns to diesel to solve load-shedding

Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

South Africa’s electricity minister proposed a plan to stave off deeper power cuts by increasing the use of diesel turbines and building more storage capacity to store the fuel. 

State-owned utility Eskom will need to increase its budget for diesel, Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said, according to a copy of a presentation seen by Bloomberg.

The plan showed that a special dispensation could reduce the cost by allowing Eskom to purchase the fuel directly. 

The strategy would result in the increased use of fossil fuels to mitigate electricity shortages in the most industrialized nation on the continent.

In the worst-case scenario, South Africa could reach stage 8 power cuts, meaning 8,000 megawatts would be cut, according to the presentation to the governing African National Congress’s national executive committee.

The presentation showed that diesel turbines running at maximum capacity could insulate the nation from two stages, about 2,000 megawatts, of power cuts. 

Ramokgopa also asks for the extended use of coal-fired units set for decommissioning over the next few years. The cabinet must approve an update of the schedule to shut stations down by the end of June.


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