South Africa’s electricity supply industry is facing major challenges. New capacity additions have been insufficient to arrest the decline in electricity generated, and despite a fall in demand severe load shedding has been imposed. This is against the backdrop of coronavirus which has placed a heavy burden on the economy.
African Energy’s South Africa Power Report 2020/21 assesses the causes and symptoms of this crisis from political power struggles, governance issues and the long list of policy documents that are supposed to guide the ESI's future direction – but where in many cases ambitions are unfulfilled – to the country’s huge potential for renewable energy and the pressures of ensuring a ‘just transition’ away from coal.
Our five-year supply and demand projection shows that dispatchable generation may be insufficient to meet peak demand by the middle of the decade. An improvement in the performance of Eskom’s fleet, or a glut of new renewable generation, will be required if load shedding is to be avoided in the medium term. However, new rules on licensing could lead to a boom in the distributed generation market and the closing of the supply and demand gap.