New electricity regulations to make progress in achieving energy security
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Cape Town - By encouraging investment by individuals, businesses and municipalities, to generate their own energy, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) gazetted the Amended Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act (ERA), to increase the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1 Megawatt (MW) to 100MW, without obtaining a licence.
Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said the intervention, to reform the electricity regulation regime, was hailed as a positive way forward by the energy sector and would make significant progress to achieve national energy security, as well as reduce the impact of load shedding.
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier welcomed the new energy regulations, but said it did not go far enough to urgently address the energy and climate crisis, facing both the province and the country, especially with recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth assessment report.
“We urge the minister to provide further clarity on the potential role of municipalities as a reseller, as it is currently unclear if municipalities will be able to buy energy from an Independent Power Producer (IPP) and then sell it on to their customers, or whether it is limited to buying energy only for its own consumption,” said Maynier.
Maynier also urged Mantashe to ensure that the registration process for the licence exemption was streamlined, as the complex process could potentially undermine the implementation of renewable energy projects.
Maynier said clarity on the new energy regulations was critical for the province's efforts to ensure municipalities, businesses, and households, were able to generate and procure electricity through renewable energy projects, which could only be achieved through the success of the Western Cape’s Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) Initiative.
Standing committee of finance, economic opportunities and tourism chairperson Deidré Baartman said she would request the DMRE brief the standing committee on these energy regulations, to understand the extent to which these regulations will affect households and businesses.
Eskom welcomed the amendment and said it would greatly assist in the effort to provide reliable and sufficient electricity for the economy, while creating space for them to conduct much-needed repairs on their own infrastructure and reduce the risk of load shedding.