Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

Greater leeway for self-generation of power ushers in new era for South Africa

The FF Plus welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that the threshold for the unlicensed generation of power for personal use will be increased from 1 to 100 mW. This is an important step in the direction of fully competitive power generation in South Africa – something that the FF Plus has been advocating for quite some time now.

It is no secret that power shortages are the greatest obstacle to economic growth and job creation in South Africa.

It has also been evident for a long time that Eskom cannot solve the crisis on its own, on the one hand, because of its poor maintenance of existing power plants and on the other hand, because of its poor management of the construction of new ones. The crisis was allowed to run its course to the ultimate collapse of the power utility.

The programme for independent power suppliers has made a significant contribution, but was restricted by regulatory red tape. To truly grasp the full scope of the step that has now been taken, one has to keep the following in mind:

At present, the threshold for the unlicensed generation of power for personal use is just 1 mW. The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr Gwede Mantashe, recently announced that it will be increased to 10 mW. So, the fact that it was ultimately increased to 100 mW is indicative of the actual extent of the crisis.

Fortunately, in this case, a law does not need to be amended, merely a Schedule that will be published in the Government Gazette. That significantly reduces the time it will take for it to become a reality.

This must happen as fast as possible and must not be delayed by needless red tape.

Expansive power plants that supply the entire country with power from places where fossil fuel is readily available comprised the dominant economic model of the twentieth century.

Shortly after the millennium, however, numerous analysts knew that the future lies in decentralised, predominantly renewable, power generation. The transition to the new energy dispensation must be managed well and it is regrettable that the South African government acted reactively rather than pro-actively.

This new energy dispensation will allow for greater independence in certain regions in South Africa, which will in turn, have political consequences to keep an eye out for. The FF Plus will actively participate in the re-ordering that this may bring about.




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