China sending backup power to hundreds of South African police stations, hospitals, and clinics

At least 500 public facilities around the country are set to benefit from a donation from China which will allow them to have uninterrupted alternative power supply and shield them from the effects of load shedding.

The donation includes generators, power supply vehicles and off grid PV energy storage supply systems.

This was announced by Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, during the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with eight Chinese entities.

The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, currently underway in Johannesburg.

“Yesterday, we exchanged letters in relation to the technical equipment that will be assisting us to provide sustainable electricity to some of the major public installations like clinics, hospitals and police stations,” Ramokgopa said.

“We are going to get 552 of those units [and] 450 of them are already on the way.”

“It means that over 500 public facilities…are now going to have access to uninterrupted alternative power supply and thank you to the Chinese for the generous contribution.”

“[The equipment] ranges from 6kW up to 200kW. 200kW can support a clinic and a medium-sized hospital, so this is true relief to the South African people,” he said.

The South African government has already moved to exclude some 76 hospitals from load-shedding with work underway to shield at least 46 others from rolling power cuts being implemented in the country.

Cooperation between countries

On the MoC signed by the parties, the Minister explained that the Chinese entities have valuable experience and technology that can assist Eskom and by extension, the country.

The MoC was entered into by Ramokgopa on behalf of the South African government and Chinese entities:

  • State Grid Corporation of China
  • China-Africa Development Fund
  • China Energy International Group
  • China General Nuclear Power Corporation
  • China National Electric Engineering Company, Ltd
  • Huawei Technologies Co Ltd
  • TBEA CO., LTD.
  • Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation

“They have experienced a similar problem that we are experiencing now.,” Ramokgopa said.

“Second, they’ve got the biggest coal generation capacity of any country in the world. They’ve got the biggest installed renewable energy capacity of any country in the world…about 688GW.”

“The amount of renewables they have is twelve times the size of Eskom.”

“They are sitting on extensive amounts of liquidity. We can tap into that financing, which is concessional and cheaper than any other.”

“They [also] have the biggest installed capacity of nuclear of any country in the world.”

“Even before today, almost all of them have been helping us on the generation side and have already generated a number of reports on how best we can improve the issues of performance of the coal-fired powered stations, reduce the emissions levels, reduce the technical losses on the grid and, on the transmission side, what is required in relation to planning and accommodating new renewables on the grid,” he said.

Load-shedding

Turning to questions on whether this agreement would help alleviate load-shedding, the Minister remained coy.

“When I came into office, the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] said we are short of 6,000MW,” Ramokgopa said.

“Since March, when we were appointed, we have added 4,000MW.”

“At Tutuka, there’s a potential… there are three units that must come on stream, and they’ll give us 1,680MW.”

“We are going to fire one unit at Kusile in October, 800MW. We are going to fire three units…we are getting 2,400MW. That…gives you 8,940MW or so.”

“But we have not resolved load-shedding.”

“The first phase is to make sure that what we are going through is eliminated and I am telling you, we are going to get those megawatts.”

“We must build sufficient capacity to allow the economy of the country to grow at the desired rate and the rate of growth of new generation capacity must surpass the rate of economic growth,” he said.

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China sending backup power to hundreds of South African police stations, hospitals, and clinics