Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has said that the government wants to create a new power generation utility “outside of Eskom.”
The comments came at the opening address of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday.
Mantashe said the government plans to seek investors for the creation of a separate generation company as a “security measure.”
“As Eskom is grappling with all the electricity crises and problems, we must have a fail-safe option of giving energy, particularly with the pressure to close a number of coal-generating power stations,” Mantashe said.
“We must start generating energy and ensure that we go back to the comfortable days where we had a surplus of energy, because while we have that surplus of energy and competition in electricity generation, the price of electricity will be pushed down,” Mantashe said.
“By this time next year, we hope we can say we have a site for energy generation outside of Eskom. We want people to sell energy through transmission. We want to take the pressure off of Eskom,” Mantashe added.
The Minister further said that the government is considering allowing mining companies to generate electricity for their own use.
“You will not need a license for that, you will just need to register and you run ahead,” Mantashe stated.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter previously said it would be beneficial in the long term if the mining industry had its own electricity-generating capacity.
The Department of Energy is currently in the process of passing a revised schedule of the Electricity Regulation Act, which should give effect to the plans announced by Mantashe.
This follows after Eskom announced it will implement stage 2 load-shedding throughout the coming week.
Following load-shedding this weekend, Eskom will continue stage 2 load-shedding from 09:00 tomorrow morning until 06:00 on Tuesday – and will then continue with more load-shedding until Thursday at 06:00.