National Minister for Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, attended and gave a presentation at a meeting of the Western Cape Energy Council today on national government’s Energy Action Plan to address chronic mass power outages. It is conservatively estimated that this crisis will result in R725 billion being lost to the South African economy in 2023.
The Western Cape Government (WCG) welcomed certain aspects of the plan and Premier Winde, who chairs the councl, again expressed his willingness to work fully with the Minister, Eskom and other stakeholders to tackle the energy crisis with the urgency that it needs. The Premier stated, “We welcome the opportunity to work with the Minister to fast track the Energy Action Plan’s to strengthen and in particular extend and invest heavily in the transmission grid. Ensuring the reconfiguration of the province and country’s grid capacity to move our energy mix away from the dominance of coal to a more diverse energy mix is a priority for us. We must invest heavily in the transmission grid particularly in the coastal provinces to allow more producers to put power into the grid.”
Severe delays in the refurbishments at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) to extend its lifespan remain a serious concern and were raised as a grave concern at the meeting. “Every day this process is delayed brings us closer to a catastrophic increase in the severity of blackouts, particularly for the Western Cape, which will be hugely detrimental to our residents and economy. We have accelerated our economic growth and job creation drive through our Growth for Jobs strategy, and we cannot afford to have both of KNPP’s units offline simultaneously,” the Premier warned.
“The concern for us as the WCG is that if both generation units are taken offline at the same time, the Western Cape will experience an additional level of loadshedding to the rest of South Africa. I must emphasis to the residents of the Western Cape that our concern is not a nuclear one, but rather an even further constraint on our energy supply. We must understand how Eskom is going to mitigate this possibility and plan to manage this dual outage at KNPP. I welcome the opportunity to engage with the Minister and Eskom on this further,” concluded Premier Winde.
Minister Ramokgopa shared the WCG’s disquiet regarding the maintenance schedule at Koeberg, remarking, “It is a major area of concern. I have written to the Eskom board requesting a comprehensive report.”
Premier Winde said, “the Minister has committed to being honest with us as the provincial government on the KNPP refurbishment matter. We will hold him to this commitment. We also have a good relationship with the management at the power plant and will ensure that we retain open lines of communication.”
He concluded, “This potential crisis and the energy crisis generally is a national issue and we will work fully with Minister Ramokgopa on crucial areas. The more resources we can collectively commit to resolving this issue the better.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Western Cape Government: Office of the Premier.