Load-shedding is here to stay in 2021

Load-shedding has already begun in 2021, albeit over non-peak times.

As the year progresses, however, it is inevitable that load-shedding will return in full.

Unfortunately, the load-shedding situation is set to get worse before it gets better, meaning South Africa is in for a year full of power cuts.

According to research conducted by Dr Jarrad Wright and Joanne Calitz of the CSIR, load-shedding volumes will continue to increase until 2022.

They detailed this in a presentation entitled “Setting up for the 2020s: Addressing South Africa’s electricity crisis and getting ready for the next decade… and now COVID-19”.

The presentation – which took place in August 2020 – showed that South Africa should expect about 3,000GWh worth of load-shedding – which is over double the 1,352GWh that South Africa experienced in 2019.

In 2022, the predicted amount of load-shedding would rise to 4,500GWh, said Calitz and Wright.

This is drastically different from the original prediction in the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s (DMRE’s) Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019 – which predicted that 2019 would be the worst year of load-shedding in South Africa.

Wright and Calitz said that their predictions were despite decreased demand on the national electricity as a result of COVID-19 shutting down businesses.

Continually losing money

All three of Eskom’s operations – generation, transmission, and distribution – are losing the energy provider lots of money, exacerbating the problems faced by the national energy provider.

Rapport reported previously that Eskom CFO Calib Cassim had presented interim results for the half-year ended September 2020, which suggested that Eskom would make an annual loss of R22 billion.

Transmission – which was believed by experts to be in a good position – was predicted to be facing a loss of R2.8 billion, while generation and distribution were both facing much larger losses.

Eskom expects load-shedding in 2021

MyBroadband asked Eskom what it expects in terms of load-shedding in 2021, and was told that power cuts this year are likely.

“Eskom has previously communicated that the risk of load-shedding remains high during this year while the reliability maintenance is underway,” said Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshansha.

“We are not in a position to give an estimate of the amount of expected load-shedding as it is not possible to accurately predict the performance of the ageing plant which Eskom operates.”

Renewable energy as a solution

South Africa Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) CEO Ntombifuthi Ntuli told MyBroadband that wind power will play a major role in assisting the country’s energy grid in the coming years.

“Wind energy will play a significant role in the energy transition as it will contribute 18%  to the total power system by 2030,” said Ntuli.

“The IRP further alludes to the expected decommissioning of almost 12GW of coal power over the next decade. Wind energy will therefore be the biggest contributor in closing the capacity gap that will be created by decommissioning, thereby ensuring a stable supply of clean energy at the lowest cost,” she said.

Ntuli said SAWEA was happy with how the government has been working to fulfil the IRP’s mandate regarding wind power.

“It has been our observation that government has worked very hard, even during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that this commitment is realised during 2020, something that we applaud as an industry,” said Ntuli.

Now read: Eskom stage 2 load-shedding implemented

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Load-shedding is here to stay in 2021