South Africa’s state owned electricity utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, this week revealed its Transmission Development Plan for 2022 to 2031. Under the plan, the utility will expand grid capacity over the next ten years to accommodate at least 30GW of new generation capacity, which is expected to come from mostly renewable energy sources.
“Major expansion of the transmission network is critical for the connection of utility-scale renewable generation projects, mainly wind and solar, in line with the policy direction highlighted in the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019) and the Grid Code to diversify South Africa’s energy mix, and to provide non-discriminatory access to the grid,” revealed Eskom during a virtual public forum attended by various stakeholders.
Much of South Africa’s new renewable energy generation capacity is planned for development in areas with limited network infrastructure. The Northern Cape province in particular is a developers’ favourite and has a higher concentration of solar PV projects because of its abundant solar energy resources but is facing extreme grid capacity constraints.
Eskom hopes to solve some of the grid capacity challenges by increasing transmission infrastructure by adding approximately 8 400 km of extra-high-voltage lines. The utility will also deploy 119 transformers to bring on board 58 970 MVA of transformer capacity over the next decade.
Eskom spending R178Bn to expand grid capacity
Eskom’s Group Executive for Transmission, Segomoco Scheppers, revealed that the cost of the utility’s transmission plan is expected to run to at least R178 billion over the next 10 years.
“Of this amount, R144 billion is required for new capacity expansion projects to meet the reliability requirements, connection of new generation capacity and loads, as well as to acquire servitudes. A further R34 billion is required for refurbishments to the existing asset base and procurement of production equipment, as well as strategic spares,” Scheepers said.
“Work is in progress to allow the connection of utility-scale renewable generation projects for Bid Window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), projects which are expected to be connected to the national electricity grid by 2024/25.”
“We are also making our systems ready to connect the additional 2 000 MW capacity procured through the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) and this capacity is expected to be available during the course of next year,” Scheepers added.