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SOUTH AFRICA: Municipalities to be energy independent soon

A new era is on the horizon in South Africa. Before long, every municipality in the country will be able to decide which alternative energy it wants to install to develop its territory. South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, made public on May 5, 2020 the proposed amendment to the electricity regulations concerning new production capacities. It aims to clarify the regulatory regime applicable to municipalities for the acquisition or development of electricity generation capacity. Once these regulations are in place, they will allow municipalities to purchase electricity from independent power producers (IPPs). It also assumes that municipalities will be able to determine the type of electricity they wish to use.

This follows the announcement made by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, in his State of the Nation address on February 13, 2020. “An Article 34 ministerial decision will soon be issued to give effect to the Integrated Resources Plan in 2019, allowing for the development of additional grid capacity from renewable energy, natural gas, hydropower, battery storage and coal. The government will then initiate the purchase of back-up power from projects that can supply electricity to the grid within three to 12 months of approval,” he said.

The South African head of state also said it is imperative to reduce people’s dependence on Eskom, the company that provides South Africa’s electricity utility. He said the power cuts in recent months has had a debilitating effect on the country. They have seriously hampered efforts to rebuild the economy and create jobs.

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