MINISTER in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, co-hosted the South African Transmission Financing Seminar with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), where experts and stakeholders from the energy and financial sectors shared key insights on the financing and development of South Africa’s electricity transmission infrastructure for sustainable energy security in South Africa.
The development and expansion of South Africa’s electricity transmission infrastructure is critical to enable diverse energy generating sources-which are geographically located in various parts of the country – to contribute to the country’s electricity grid.
Convened at the JSE head offices in Johannesburg, the chairman of the JSE Phutuma Nhleko in his welcoming remarks emphasised the importance of partnerships in finding solutions and said, “As a key player in the economy, the JSE is encouraged by government’s commitment to partner with the private sector in exploring alternative funding opportunities for maintaining, modernising and expanding the national grid.”
Minister Ramokgopa highlighted a number of key aspects during the opening of the seminar.
He outlined South Africa’s current transmission status quo which illustrated the requirement of transmission infrastructure expansion. The Minister further shared the transmission expansion plan and the subsequent planned major projects alongside key challenges facing transmission.
Key among these challenges is the financing and funding gap that’s required to fulfil transmission infrastructure development.
Insufficient investment in the transmission system, government’s financial constraints, and governance deficiencies have resulted in Eskom delaying investment in the maintenance, refurbishment and expansion of the national grid infrastructure.
An estimated amount of R 250 billion is required to fund the expansion of South Africa’s grid.
The discussions were framed in four focus areas, under Chatham house rules and unpacked the various financing requirements and potential solutions for the transmission expansion and modernisation programme.
Central to the discussions were how to protect the country’s long-term socio-economic interests while balancing sustainability obligations and international commitments to climate change and decarbonisation.
The key thematic aspects addressed the synergising of private sector and government collaboration, the options and size of available financial resources, as well as international insights to build local resilience, capacity and expertise.
The Minister described the seminar as useful and said, “The conversations were able to provide insights of how peer countries which had our similar challenges were able to resolve their electricity problems and the possible ways to finance grid expansion”.
Image (Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa addressed delegates at the JSE recently).