Eskom insists the performance of its unreliable generation fleet is on an improving trajectory, releasing a graphic-heavy statement on February 22 disputing a recent report stating that its performance continued “going backwards”. The statement, which was published only hours after loadshedding was ramped up to Stage 4, also asserts the decline in the generation fleet’s energy availability factor (EAF), which has fallen consistently for the past six years, has been arrested.
Against the backdrop of a profoundly challenging macroeconomic environment where South Africa’s economy is expected to continue underperforming, averaging at 1.6% growth in the next three years, innovative interventions are needed to turn the current trajectory around, said the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) chairperson Francois Strydom. “Increased spending on grants and other social security measures may be needed in the short term, but a shrinking tax base cannot sustain this trend in the long run. As [Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana] noted, we need to grow the pie.”
Last year, Cape Town paid out R25-million to businesses which sold their surplus renewable energy to the city. And, starting this year, private citizens would be able to do the same. These developments were highlighted by Cape Town Executive Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis in an address to the Africa Green Economy Summit 2024, being held in Cape Town. He described this development as “the democratisation of energy” and affirmed that it “excited” him. The city had also, over the past year, completed three rounds of utility-scale renewable energy procurement bids, with a total capacity of 600 MW. The companies concerned could now start construction of their projects. A fourth bid round was still open (it would close in mid-April).
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana maintained focus on fiscal discipline and balancing the need to address socioeconomic challenges facing the country, industry organisation Minerals Council South Africa said in response to the Minister’s Budget Speech on February 21. South Africa, however, needs faster growth of private and public sector fixed investment, and rapid implementation of deep structural reforms to allow the private sector to participate in key areas of the economy, it stressed.