Former Eskom employees, industry experts to start work at power stations to ease load shedding

Friday, June 2, 2023

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, announced on Friday that technical experts supported by the Resource Mobilisation Fund (RMF) will be stationed at various power stations across the country from Monday, 5 June 2023.

He said the team will go around the four power stations where the Energy Availability Factor (EAF) is low.

These, according to the Minister, include Matla, Kriel, Majuba, and Kendal power stations.

In addition, support will be given to open-cycle gas turbines, which poses a challenge when it comes to logistics and storage and is confident that the experts will provide solutions.

The RMF, which was launched in March this year, already raised R100 million from businesses and philanthropies.

The funds will be used to provide technical support and capacity to the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) and employ the best minds in the game to end load shedding.

These experts, according to the Minister, include former Eskom employees, while others are industry experts.

He said the professionals, who come highly recommended, will be allocated according to their specialities.

On the demand management support, he said he was confident that the programme will be oversubscribed.

“Remember, we did say that there’s huge potential that can be derived on the demand side essentially, clawing back the megawatts on the demand side without necessarily interrupting households’ ability to get their daily requirements. But how smart we engage about how we engage with energy solutions.”

He said he was happy to indicate that Eskom has agreed to waive the requirement for security deposits to enable the wheeling of electricity to municipalities in good standing.

“So we think that this will significantly improve a generation because this was one major stumbling block.”

The Minister also announced the two additional hydrogen projects the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Programme have been approved by the Eskom board and believes the project will reach a close by the end of June this year.

The project, according to the Minister, will add an extra 274 megawatts (MW) to the grid.

In addition, he said preparations are underway to release an additional Bid Window.

“We’re looking at the additional Big Wwindows in June and July of 2023 and this will include a Big Window number seven for wind and solar PV.”

He also reaffirmed government’s commitment to the decarbonisation agenda and between these Bid Windows, he said Eskom is looking at between 5000 MW.

“We need to make sure the prospects of these projects are located geographically in the areas that have got access to grid capacity.”

He reminded the journalists that the major shortcomings of the previous Bid Window were about 3 000 MW, which remains unallocated because of poor or no access to create capacity.

“So we’ll make sure that there is no misstep there.”

In addition, he said a further Bid Window involves four battery storages of 1 200 MW and a gas project of 3 000 MW.

Meanwhile, the request for proposals (RFP) for the load shedding reduction programme to the tune of 750 MW in the cross border procurement programme of 1 000 MW, will together procure an excess of 10 000 MW.

About the winter plan, he said the demand has been ramped but the team at Eskom is working around the clock to lower the stages of power cuts.

He also emphasised that the power entity is far from the grid collapse. – SAnews