What does South Africa’s State of Disaster mean for energy infrastructure projects?

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Recently President Cyril Ramaphosa announced South Africa’s state of disaster following the country’s prolonged electricity blackouts. The blackouts that have lately been experienced for up to 11 hours are the highest ever since the energy crisis began back in 2007.

According to reports the state of disaster was announced in a bid to address the energy crisis and its effects. On the sidelines, South Africa’s state of disaster is also expected to stimulate the construction industry. Here are 4 key ways this will be achieved.

1. Energy project developers will no longer have to wait for a lifetime to get their projects approved.

Following the energy crisis the government developed emergency legislation that will allow faster approval and development of power plants. The time to complete regulatory processes for new plants in the country has also been reduced significantly.

2. Independent power producers will be able to sell electricity to the government.

Still, in its bid to tackle the energy crisis in South Africa, the country has scrapped licensing thresholds and allowed the purchase of more electricity from existing independent power producers.

3. Solar manufacturers, installers, and contractors will sell and undertake more projects.

This is because the country has plans to “incentivize greater uptake of rooftop solar” and solar power plant installation in the country in general.

4. Companies in the coal energy development and maintenance space will also bag redevelopment and maintenance contracts.

Six of Eskom’s 14 coal-fired power plants have reportedly been earmarked for “particular focus” in a bid to get them to perform more reliably. Most of the power plants were commissioned between 1961 and 1996.

Efforts have also been made to finish incomplete power plants such as the Medupi and Kusile power plants. The construction of these facilities came following the first period of load shedding from 2007 to 2008.

In conclusion, these and more measures put in place by the government of South Africa will not only benefit the construction industry players. They will go a long way in countering the energy crisis that is currently at an all-time high.

To this end, the government has approved the construction of more than 100 privately owned power plants with a combined capacity of 9 000MW. Reportedly, the first of these power plants will be connected to the grid by the end of this year.