South Africa will exempt power generation projects of up to 100 megawatts from licensing requirements, increasing the threshold 10-fold as it looks to urgently stabilise a national grid hard hit by power cuts, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
Ramaphosa made the announcement amid the latest round of rolling blackouts by power utility Eskom, which has struggled to provide consistent supply to Africa’s most industrialised economy.
“This reform is expected to unlock significant investment in new generation capacity in the short and medium term, enabling companies to build their own generation facilities to supply their energy needs,” he said in a televised briefing.
The president said the move will exempt power generation projects of up to 100 MW in size from licensing requirements with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).
However, generation projects will still need to obtain a grid connection permit, Ramaphosa added.
This will increase the available supply of energy to Eskom, he said, allowing it to proceed with an intensive maintenance programme aimed at fixing its ailing infrastructure.
In April, South Africa said it would change the licensing threshold for small-scale power generation projects to 10 MW from 1 MW, a boost to firms anxious to curb their reliance on ailing state utility Eskom, but industry experts had hoped for more.
Ramaphosa said the amendment will be published within 60 days.