In a bid to bolster South Africa’s energy security, Eskom’s Managing Director of Transmission, Segomoco Scheppers, has outlined a comprehensive strategy to rapidly expand the country’s transmission lines and unlock substantial future generation capacity for the power grid.
Speaking at the Transmission Development Plan (TDP) Implementation Forum hosted at the Eskom Academy of Learning, Scheppers emphasized Eskom’s dedicated efforts towards grid expansion.
The power utility had previously highlighted the imperative need to enhance the transmission network by approximately 14,200km before 2032, a measure aimed at ensuring robust energy security nationwide.
“Currently, there are 47 expansion projects underway. Among these, 26 projects will yield 1,632km of transmission lines, 11,290MVA, and facilitate over 15,000MW of generation capacity,” Scheppers disclosed. He further elaborated that half of these projects would deliver 890km of transmission lines, 3,290MVA transformer capacity, and support the operation of over 10,000MW of new generation, including crucial connections for Medupi, Kusile power stations, and the Garob 267MW project at the Kronos substation in the Northern Cape. The remaining 50% of projects, in various stages of procurement, will provide 435km of lines, 8,000MVA, enabling 4,975MW of new generation capacity, primarily in the Northern and Western Cape regions.
Scheppers reassured the forum of Eskom’s unwavering focus on rapid grid expansion while ensuring the safe and reliable operation of the power system.
Charting the Path Ahead
Looking ahead, Scheppers highlighted Eskom’s approval of a significant capital investment amounting to R26 billion for transmission. He emphasized two priority programs aimed at expediting transmission infrastructure delivery.
“These programs involve the development of 25 projects in existing substations, unlocking 13,000MW of new generation within the next five years. Additionally, 22 expedited transmission projects are set to unlock 24,000MW of grid connection capacity by 2033,” he explained. The amalgamation of these 47 projects holds the potential to unlock a substantial 37,000MW of grid connection capacity between 2025 and 2033, each at different stages of implementation in terms of design, procurement, and construction.
Scheppers called upon all stakeholders, including authorities, construction firms, contractors, suppliers, and consultants, to support Eskom’s plans, emphasizing the crucial role they play in the successful execution of these initiatives.
National Transmission Company SA Progress Update
Providing an update on Eskom’s legal separation into Generation, Distribution, and Transmission entities, Scheppers disclosed the progress made in establishing the independent transmission entity, the National Transmission Company South Africa (NTCSA).
“We’re in the final stages of obtaining approval from the Minister of Public Enterprises for the independent board of directors of NTCSA. A binding merger agreement has been signed, pending the fulfillment of suspensive conditions to transfer the current transmission business into the new subsidiary,” Scheppers explained. He further detailed the ongoing engagements with lenders, essential to obtain consent for the operationalization of NTCSA and seamless employee transfers without disrupting their years of service.
Acknowledging the support received, Scheppers appreciated the effective initiatives led by the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), addressing historical challenges faced by Eskom.
Regarding regulatory approvals, Scheppers noted NERSA’s endorsement of licenses for operating the transmission system, electricity trading, and import-export activities. He anticipated the finalization of licenses and associated conditions by the end of the month, marking a significant milestone in Eskom’s restructuring.
The comprehensive plans unveiled by Scheppers signify Eskom’s dedicated commitment to fortify South Africa’s power grid, addressing energy challenges and ensuring a resilient and secure energy future for the nation.