R1.25trn needed to end load-shedding by 2035

Eskom’s woes continue and the South African public is bearing the brunt of regular rolling blackouts, making life difficult and regularly damaging electronics as power surges destroy devices when the power returns.  And unfortunately, things don’t look too positive for the future, as issues with maintenance delay preparations for future requirements – a future which looks to have a major shortage of energy. Although it looks like a gigantic task, measures are being taken to privatise sectors of the energy industry to support the needed increase in output. One method to create cheaper power is to use green energy to power coal mines and make coal cheaper. Windlab’s managing director Peter Venn says the country will need R1.25trn to solve load-shedding. More in this article which first appeared on MyBroadband. – Ross Sinclair 

South Africa needs R1.25 trillion to stop load-shedding

By Myles Illidge

South Africa will need R1.25 trillion by 2035 to add 50 gigawatts of renewable energy to the grid and end load-shedding.

This is according to Windlab managing director Peter Venn during an interview with Cape Talk’s John Maytham.

“The challenges we have with load-shedding are going to be solved by everybody getting together and using their collective resources to take a just energy transition forward,” Venn said.

“We really need to put as many Megawatts as we can on the grid. New builds are only going to come out of renewables, so we need to leverage these resources and go forward.”

“By my estimation, we need about R1.25 trillion by 2035 to stop load-shedding, and everybody has to chip in,” he added.

Venn also discussed Seriti Resources’ acquisition of a majority stake in Windlab, saying that the intention is to use renewable power to reduce the cost of coal mining and, ultimately, the cost of electricity in South Africa.

“The first underpin is to provide cheap green electricity to Seriti’s coal mines to reduce the cost of coal, which in turn, will hopefully reduce the cost of coal electricity for citizens in the country,” he said.

The deal worth R892 million will give Seriti a 51% stake in the wind and solar power business.

The remaining shares will be held by Venn with 15%, Rand Merchant Bank and Standard Bank each with 14.5%, and Ntiso Investment Holdings with 5%.

Seriti’s CEO Mike Teke said that it is “transitioning to an energy company” by moving toward lower carbon technology with the capital it receives from coal.

As the green unit looks to add renewable stations and power generation, the mining company is still “committed to coal, we will run those assets,” he said.

Seriti’s renewable energy division — Seriti Green — with the help of Windlab, is overseeing the construction of 3.5GW of renewable power projects in South Africa.

“The pipeline that Seriti Green will acquire when this finally concludes through the Competition Commission will be 3.5GW,” Venn said.

“3GW of that is based in South Africa, and we want to start construction on that before 2030. [Construction of] one of those gigawatts is starting over the next 12 months.”

Venn added that the cost of construction relating to the 3GW of renewable energy would total around R75 billion.

He explained that, based on Eskom’s energy availability factor data, South Africa needs to build 50GW of renewable energy projects in addition to the existing coal fleet by 2035 to end load-shedding.

“So without decommissioning any coal, we need to build an additional 50GW of renewable energy to keep the lights on if you look at Eskom’s availability factors,” he said.

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