New green energy pact to serve as load-shedding buffer
China has committed to assist South Africa by donating emergency power equipment worth R167 million, in an effort to alleviate the country’s electricity generation challenges.
The equipment − which includes solar PVs, batteries, inverters and generators − will be used to power major public facilities, such as hospitals, clinics and correctional services, according to electricity minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.
The package of assistance forms one of the 11 memorandums of understanding entered into by the South African government and China, on the occasion of president Xi Jinping’s state visit.
South Africa is this week hosting the 15th Summit of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (BRICS Summit) in Sandton, coinciding with the Chinese president’s state visit.
Ramokgopa yesterday signed the framework agreement on cooperation in green energy with his Chinese counterpart at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of the state visit, Ramokgopa said the equipment will help relieve the load on the national grid because the facilities will use alternative energy sources, relieving the degree of load-shedding.
“The fact that we’re going to ensure that over 400 facilities have uninterrupted supply of energy – receiving power from alternative sources of renewables – means there is less demand on the grid and we’ll be able to redirect that power.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa commented: “South Africa deeply appreciates China’s support in addressing our current energy challenges. Energy cooperation with China is a recent development that we look to deepen, particularly in line with our respective commitments to low-carbon, climate-resilient development.”
The South African government last July introduced the Energy Action Plan (EAP), amid the country’s energy woes.
The EAP outlines work that must be done by Eskom and government to ensure load-shedding is reduced and eventually eradicated, and to ensure energy security for the country in the future.
Over the years, power utility Eskom has been struggling to fully supply electricity to the country, implementing ongoing power cuts to avoid total grid collapse.
Amid the power shortages, government has been steadily adding renewable energy to the national grid, with independent power producers driving the move.