Power utility Eskom has confirmed that it will implement electricity price increases, as approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), from April 1. The utility in October 2023 applied to Nersa for the approval of its Retail Tariff and Structural Adjustment Application and the schedule of tariffs for the period from April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025.
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has tabled a R76.4-billion draft budget for the city for the 2024/25 financial year. The budget proposes record infrastructure investment of R12.1-billion for the year, and nearly R40-billion over the next three years.
Cabinet approved the publication of the long-awaited Gas Master Plan for public comment during what was the last formal meeting of the executive ahead of the May 29 election. However, Minister in The Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni indicated that special Cabinet meetings could still be convened should the need arise. The master plan, Ntshavheni said, was supportive of government’s commitment to diversifying the country’s energy mix away from coal-fired power plants.
Despite record renewable-energy installations of 473 GW last year, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) says the pace of deployment remains well below that needed to match the global goal of tripling capacity by 2030. In addition, the geographic distribution of new investment was highly uneven, with Africa lagging in particular. The ‘Renewable Capacity Statistics 2024’ report states that the installed renewables base climbed 13.9% to 3 870 GW in 2023, underpinned by solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, which surged by 32.2%, or 346 GW.
Coal phase-out campaign the Life After Coal Campaign, in its comments on the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2023, said the plan has fundamental flaws and expressed skepticism in the plan’s ability to ensure cost-effective electricity supply, energy security and to uphold the Constitutional right to live in a healthy environment. “The IRP 2023 does not, in real terms, commit to a least-cost pathway and instead opts for expensive technology and fuel choices. This will perpetuate energy poverty, and make essential services for poor communities even more unaffordable and impact on local economies,” said environmental justice organisation Earthlife Africa director Makoma Lekalakala.
The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) questions both the cost assumptions used for the technology in the draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023 (IRP 2023), as well as the 900 MW yearly build limit placed on distributed solar in its formal submission to the department. SAPVIA’s response, which was submitted ahead of the March 23 deadline for public comments, states that the technology cost assumptions for solar PV have been inaccurately estimated for Horizon 1 to 2030 (The draff IRP 2023 also includes Horizon 2 from 2030 to 2050).
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa reports that the Eskom board is considering lifting the current 1 000 MW allocation set aside for its Standard Offer Programme to 4 000 MW and extending the scheme beyond its initial three-year time horizon. Through the Standard Offer Programme Eskom can buy power from existing producers, mostly industrial groups, at a set price calculated based on the avoided cost of its own generation, including long-term purchases from independent power producers.
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa reports that Eskom’s eight “lender groups” have given their consent to the establishment of the National Transmission Company South Africa (NTCSA) as a separate subsidiary under Eskom Holdings. Bondholder consent was one of several key approvals required ahead of the operationalisation of the NTCSA, officially scheduled for April 1, alongside the appointment of an independent board and licensing approvals from the regulator.
As government considers the public comments made on the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2023 up to March 23, shareholder activism organisation Just Share has called for a remodel of the policy, with “updated data and correct assumptions”.
The organisation says the draft IRP does not comply with a single one of the aims of an IRP.
Zambia and Zimbabwe are retendering a $5-billion project to build a hydropower plant they previously awarded to General Electric Co. and Power Construction Corp. of China, and expect to select new bidders by September next year, an official said. The Zambezi River Authority — a joint venture between the countries that maintains the Kariba Dam complex — expects to receive bids from potential developers by April 2025 and select bidders five months after that, ZRA Chief Executive Officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said by email.