South Africa’s power grid needs $15bn boost for new energy production

South Africa’s ageing electricity transmission grid needs investment of $15-billion by 2022 to help cope with increased new energy production, an executive at German state development bank KfW said on Sunday.

South Africa is investing heavily in renewable energy to counter chronic electricity deficits but power utility Eskom’s ageing grid is making feeding more electricity into the system difficult.

The renewable-energy programmes aim to deliver 17.8 GW of green power by 2030 with 1 827 MW renewable energy now contributing to an installed capacity of 45 000 MW.

“South Africa lacks transmission infrastructure which is needed to enable the country to meet its target,” Ihno Baumfalk, KfW’s senior energy and climate project manager, said at the South African International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC) in Cape Town.

Baumfalk said of the $15-billion South Africa needed to upgrade its transmission infrastructure, $3-billion should be earmarked for infrastructure to connect renewable projects.

KfW has given Eskom a R4-billion ($291.61-million) loan to help modernise its power grid to enable it to connect solar and wind power plants to the system.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the utility would announce its plans to strengthen the grid over the next decade on October 16.