Erwin says SA needs R1-trillion energy investment

It will take an investment of at least R1-trillion to prevent South Africa from becoming an energy-scarce country, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said.

The wholesale price of energy was expected to double in the next two to three years, meaning that consumers could expect to pay more, the Cape Times reported on Wednesday.

”The price of energy is inescapably rising and it won’t come down,” he told a Cape Times/Safmarine business breakfast on Tuesday.

Erwin made a call for greater energy-saving initiatives.

”There is no quick fix, but we can alleviate the problem with energy efficiency.”

He acknowledged that the recent supply problems and blackouts had become familiar challenges in South Africa. However, he said the energy crisis was a global problem. Many countries were struggling to attract investment for renewable energy and there was a global shortage of equipment for energy generation.

Erwin admitted that the government had not taken into account the costs and problems of not having an excess capacity of power. When faced with a greater demand than it could supply, Eskom struggled to supply consumers with sufficient electricity.

The government had learned from these challenges, he said. Lessons included the importance of cost-effective energy in line with inflation and the need for a greater co-generation to alleviate the pressure on Eskom’s power grid. – Sapa

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