SA power issues can be solved using this 10-point plan, says CPT mayor

Cape Town has released a 10-point plan that could end load shedding.

Photo: pegleg01/123rf.com

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has released a 10-point plan to pull the country out of a “full-fledged socio-economic crisis”.

The power outages plunged the country into chaos (and darkness) for more than two weeks, with Eskom currently applying a phase 4 load shedding schedule.

The Stage 6 load shedding of the past two weeks was the worst on record, says Hill-Lewis, and cost the national economy R4.2 billion a day.

I urge President Ramaphosa to immediately announce a series of decisive measures to end this emergency as soon as possible.

Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mayor – Cape Town

The mayor outlined the steps he believes need to be taken to end the electricity crisis in South Africa:

1. Abolish the 100 MW license threshold for embedded generation and guarantee an IPP registration period not exceeding 14 days. Not only is this threshold arbitrary, but it makes no financial sense. Due to economies of scale, the optimal size for new energy projects is much larger than this, and larger projects offer cheaper electricity per unit.

2. Implement an income tax deduction for capital investments in small-scale battery production and storage projects. This could also be used to subsidize and incentivize home solar PV and battery storage installations, making home generation affordable for more South Africans.

3. Exempt financially sound municipalities from all unnecessary laws and regulations (including those governing municipal procurement) that will delay bringing new generation capacity online. A minimum compliance approach should be allowed with respect to tenders for the supply of IPPs and the construction of municipal clean generation projects.

4. State in clear and unequivocal terms that municipalities do not need Minister Mantashe’s approval for electricity supply. Uncertainty in this regard has a chilling effect on the ability of municipalities to source new generation and introduce delays; there is no good reason for this to continue.

5. Provide national treasury guarantees for any borrowing — by municipalities and private entities — needed for IPP generation projects and municipal cleaner generation projects.

6. Waive Ministry of Trade and Industry local content requirements on solar PV modules until energy security is achieved.

7. Exempt electricity traders from the onerous licensing requirements of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), replacing them with a registration process in which traders are required to demonstrate compliance with a basic list of requirements only designed to protect public distribution networks.

8. Remove the cumbersome red tape associated with establishing natural gas imports and transport in the Western Cape, freeing up the use of natural gas-powered turbines. These are cleaner and cheaper than the diesel and jet fuel turbines currently in use.

9. Convert Eskom’s Ankerlig plant in Atlantis, Cape Town to natural gas and operate the plant on an average merit basis, with dynamic production adjusted to fluctuations in demand.

10. Immediately establish an energy crisis unit within the National Treasury, with representatives of municipalities and technical experts as well as the Minister of Finance, with the mandate to accelerate all interventions that can end the energy crisis. The Unit should not just be another government “task force” and should in fact have the power to make regulatory decisions. This includes the decisions needed for the interventions described above, as well as demand side management, battery storage, new natural gas projects and increasing Eskom’s operational efficiency.

My message to President Ramaphosa is that this problem can be solved if we all work together. But it takes clear and decisive leadership, and a willingness to do things differently.

Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mayor – Cape Town

RELATED:SA will have another week of stage 6 shedding: Eskom


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