Malusi Gigaba, South Africa’s minister of public enterprises, has told an energy forum that the country is “working around the clock” to generate funding for a third coal-fired power plant to be constructed in order to bolster energy security.

Gigaba told Eskom’s first quarter ‘state of the power system’ that building Coal 3, following the $20bn Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power station projects, was crucial to avoid a repeat of the events during January 2008 when South Africa‘s mining sector shutdown amid load-shedding.
Malusi Gigaba, South Africa’s minister of public enterprises
The Medupi and Kusile plants will add about 8000 MW to South Africa’s power grid, with Eskom confident the first unit of Medupi would be commissioned before the year-end. Kusile would start to be commissioned a year after that.

“We need to begin anticipating the challenges we face in 2018 and 2019 when the current build programme reaches conclusion and Eskom’s ageing fleet needs to be closed,” said Gigaba. “In order to avoid the situation we found ourselves in in 2008, we are working around the clock to arrive at decisions quickly, and to see that the construction can commence.”

“We are looking at the best way to provide the funding requirement at Eskom. In the previous briefing, we indicated the volume of shortfall that Eskom faced, so we are looking at options that would address the challenges we are facing,” said Gigaba.

Brian Dames, the outgoing CEO of Eskom said South Africa needed a large base load of power – total estimated capacity is 43,000 MW – and also had to set down plans for energy sources that were low on carbon emissions.

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