In 2019, load shedding probably cost the South African economy between R59 billion and R118 billion.
Since Eskom first launched load shedding in 2008, it has already cost the country as much as R338bn.
This is according to a presentation by the Scientific and Industrial Research Council (CSIR) on the state of power generation in the country. The presentation was by Dr. Compiled by Jarrad Wright and Joanne Calitz.
The CSIR data also shows that there is little hope that the problem will be solved anytime soon: In 2001, Eskom’s energy availability factor was about 94%, while it is currently only 67%.
The energy availability factor indicates the ratio of the power generated by Eskom’s power stations over a period of time to its total generating capacity if there is no deployment of generating units due to maintenance or faults.
The CSIR says drastic steps are needed to ensure that South Africa will have sufficient electricity in the future.
Jan Oberholzer, Eskom’s chief operating officer, said in December that 5 000 MW of power had to be found urgently so that Eskom could do essential maintenance work on its old power stations.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter told Business Insider this week that Eskom should be given the space to do maintenance work urgently.
Although Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa in December said there will be talks on how and where additional generating capacity can be obtained, no further information has been disclosed on this.
The CSIR experts say that if the state does acquire additional power in the short term to prevent load shedding, the following criteria should apply:
- Supply, demand and storage must be looked at;
- It should be delivered within one to two years;
- There should not be an extensive procurement process for it;
- It must meet the requirements for power generation (MW) and / or energy requirements (MWh);
- It must be contracted for one to three years;
- It should be easy to set up;
- It must match the long-term plans for the energy mix; and
- It does not require significant expansion or modification to the existing network.
The CSIR says the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) need to urgently update regulations to allow companies to generate their own power.
The Government’s Independent Green Power Provider (REIPPP) program must also be urgently urged.
Absa senior economist Peter Worthington said on Tuesday at a presentation by the bank that even if Eskom had to put in regular shedding over the next two to three years, it could be done in such a way that it had a limited impact on the economy. For example, Eskom can set load shedding more frequently, but at a lower level – in other words, phase 1 or phase 2 rather than less frequent higher phases.