Eskom doesn’t want SA to be overly reliant on energy imports

Date: Dec 28, 2018

Eskom does not believe that SA should rely too heavily on external sources for its electricity supply, the utility’s  spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said on Thursday.

He could not comment specifically on Eskom’s formal submission to the energy department on the draft integrated resource plan 2018 (IRP) — reported on by Fin24 — as this is now in the hands of the department.

However, he emphasised that Eskom would not support a heavy dependence on imports of gas from Mozambique, for example, or on hydro-electric power from the Grand Inga project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the country’s electricity supply.

The IRP sets out the path for future electricity generation based on projected demand and the percentages of total supply that should be derived from different energy sources.

Phasiwe said SA has to be very cautious about depending too much on imports from neighbouring countries “because you never know what can happen. If you are going to depend on another country for your security of energy supply, you are asking for trouble”. For example, when SA’s power system was constrained, its neighbours, such as Botswana and Zimbabwe, which depend on South African electricity supply, also suffered  and also had to implement load-shedding.

Phasiwe noted that plans for the Grand Inga hydro-electric project have been on the drawing board for a long time and there is no certainty as to when it will be finished. The electricity would also have to be transmitted through very volatile areas.

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