South Africa plans new law to speed up electricity projects

South Africa is developing new legislation to speed up energy projects to add capacity and help end blackouts, a presentation by the country’s energy crisis panel showed.

Aging coal-fired power stations, insufficient investment in new capacity and the burden of policies to encourage private providers have left South Africa facing constant blackouts.

However, work is continuing to accelerate the procurement of additional capacity, according to a presentation seen by Reuters on Tuesday from the National Energy Crisis Committee, set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

It said the committee is working to “develop emergency legislation that can be tabled in Parliament to allow energy projects to move forward more quickly and to enable coordinated and decisive action.”

He added that a “web of bureaucracy” was making it difficult to deal with the electricity crisis and that “the current regulatory framework was not designed to deal with an energy deficit”.

The document noted that progress has been made on the Energy Action Plan announced by Ramaphosa in July, including increasing licensing requirements for private integrated generation and import projects.

Ramaphosa is meeting various stakeholders this week to discuss ways to deal with the country’s worst power cuts on record.

At a meeting attended by political party leaders, it was revealed that power shortages looked set to continue until at least 2024.

The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, announced on Tuesday that it will go to court to stop recent “unaffordable tariff increases” approved by the energy regulator.

The party also wants the implementation of rolling blackouts which are declared unconstitutional.

Leaders of smaller opposition parties and some businesses threatened legal action over the blackouts on Monday when they sent a lawyer’s letter to outgoing Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.



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