Spotlight on ageing electricity infrastructure at Africa Utility Week

Acting President Jeff Radebe says ageing infrastructure remains a challenge in the provision of access to electricity.

On the distribution network front, the issue of ageing network infrastructure remains a concern, as it compounds the supply and also limits our ability to expand electricity access to all, said Radebe, who is the Minister of Energy.

In his address to the Africa Utility Week conference in Cape Town, Minister Radebe said the Department of Energy has completed a study to estimate the electrification backlog.

He said work is underway to determine the most effective way to fund the rehabilitation of these networks and asset management going forward.

Africa Utility Week affords government an opportunity to reflect on a number of key issues and areas in relation to the delivery of energy solutions.

South Africa has the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is the electricity generation infrastructure Plan for the country. In addition to Medupi, Kusile and Ingula, the IRP 2010 made provisions for other various generation sources such as renewables and coal, with a view to have all these energy sources contributing to the grid by 2030.

In rolling out the IRP, the Energy department also launched the successful Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

To date, the programme has concluded 91 projects with a capacity 6 300 MW. Of these, 62 projects with a combined capacity of 3 800 MW have already been connected to the grid.

Through the project, about R136 billion has been invested in the South African economy, with another R58 billion to be invested over the next three to five years when construction of the 27 projects signed in May has commenced.

Through the programme, South Africa has achieved close to 23 million tons of carbon dioxide (Mton CO2) reduction and saved a substantial amount of water in a water scarce country.

Source: South African Government News Agency