South Africa’s mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe said the South African government should establish a new entity that would generate electricity and reduce the nation’s reliance on state utility Eskom.
Minister Muntashe was addressing reporters during the Investing in African Mining Indaba Conference held in Capetown on Monday
The energy minister said the venture should be a partnership between the government and private investors.
“The venture should ideally be a partnership between the government and private investors, and use a range of technologies, including gas, solar power and clean coal.
“The idea of establishing another power producer was based on a model used in the Netherlands, and should increase competition and help drive down energy prices,” he said.
Cash-strapped Eskom currently generates about 95% of the power used in South Africa, but has been forced to implement rolling blackouts because its old and poorly maintained plants can’t keep pace with demand. The utility also buys power from independent producers of green energy.
“Industry should be able to buy power from other sources, we want to take the pressure out of Eskom.”
Mantashe told reporters that he is drafting a ministerial determination to raise limits on the amount of power companies can produce and his department will work with the South African National Energy Regulator to ensure projects aren’t unduly delayed.