SA to sign power deal

14 April 2010

14 April 2010

The South African government has set up a deal to shore up the country’s future power supply.

The government will make the agreement between Eskom, South Africa’s public electricity utility, and private firms to source up to 1142 MW of power, with the surplus fed into the national grid. The private firms include petrochemicals group Sasol and paper producer Sappi.

However, price increases resulting from possible power shortages over the next three years will continue to affect purchasers.

Public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan has warned parliament that power conservation measures were also needed to prevent rolling blackouts, such as those experienced in 2008.

“This risk progressively worsens through 2011 to 2013 until the capacity from the Medupi power station comes on line,” said Hogan in a written statement.

The 4800 MW dry-cooled coal-fired Medupi plant – the world’s largest – in Limpopo province is expected to be commissioned in early 2012, when the first of six 800 MW units comes into operation. Thereafter, the remaining units will be commissioned at nine-month intervals.

Eskom is investing R461 billion to boost capacity, and plans to diversify from coal-fired power stations, which produce 95 per cent of the country’s power.

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