South Africa's Eskom to reduce power cuts but long-term outlook bleak

Four units of the Kusile Power Plant have been restored after a gap of 20 days resulting in an increase in power supply and lower sages of load shedding across South Africa.

Minister of Electricity of the Republic of South Africa, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, briefed the media on the Energy Action Plan's implementation on Sunday when he disclosed the information about units being back to the power plant.

These units were restored on Sunday morning and added 800 megawatts to the available capacity. On the same day, three units from the Mpumalanga power station were taken out due to a flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) mechanism that was damaged last year.

These three units are expected to be back in working condition between October to November this year.

"We've been able to shed a month on the return of unit 3 and the expectation is that we should be able to return this unit by 14 October," the minister said, SA News reported. "The same is applicable for unit 1. We should be able to get it on 30 October."

The minister also shared an update about unit 2 and said that the team initially predicted that it might resume work on Dec. 24 but now it has been scheduled to start working on Nov. 30.

Regarding the Kusile Power Plant, the minister noted that it is the central point that impacts load shedding, adding that "we will need significant more additional generating capacity to be able to address this."

South Africa dealt with higher stages of load shedding last week as Stage 4 and Stage 6 were implemented. However, after restoring the units, Stage 4 and Stage 2 will be implemented this week.

Eskom shared that this pattern will be repeated daily until further notice.

Last week, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni assured South Africans that the higher stages of load shedding are "temporary," adding that the Cabinet has "clear plans" for providing additional capacity for electricity.

South Africa signed an agreement with China during the 15th BRICS summit last month in order to receive emergency energy solutions from the Asian country. In June, the South African government asked China to send solar panels, battery storage, wind turbines, and renewables technology.

Whereas, electricity minister Ramokgopa announced in July that the government is working on 25 projects that will help to upgrade Eskom's infrastructure to ensure increased energy generation capacity and reduce load shedding.