Carol Paton Editor at Large
Gwede Mantashe. Picture: GCIS
Gwede Mantashe. Picture: GCIS

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday that he will take steps to develop more electricity generation capacity, including from independent power producers (IPPs) as the country buckles under unprecedented load-shedding.

Mantashe has the sole authority to procure more generation capacity and to cut through the red tape preventing businesses from generating their own energy. However, he has so far refused to be rushed saying he would not be pushed around by “lobbyists” for renewable energy.

With the economy at risk of prolonged load-shedding as Eskom’s capacity continues to deteriorate, Mantashe said that he will urgently publish a request for information (RFI) on filling the short-term gap. The RFI was announced in October as an immediate step but the department has, as yet, made no progress.

He will also promulgate new determinations under the Electricity Regulation Act, which is a necessary precursor to the construction of any capacity, public or private.

The fourth bid window for renewable energy projects by IPPs, which was finally signed in 2018 after being bogged down by political opposition, will be brought on stream earlier, he said. adding that SA will also continue its drive for the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

patonc@businesslive.co.za