The South African government plans to prepare for the worst power outages this winter. South Africa’s minister predicted a high probability of a level 8 power cut this winter, with power outages lasting up to 12 hours a day. The demand for battery energy storage systems in South Africa is soaring.
South Africa’s power supply problems will have a more devastating impact on the economy and are expected to result in the loss of 800,000 jobs.
The South African Energy Crisis Committee has proposed measures to alleviate power shortages in response to the deteriorating state of the electricity supply and hopes to implement them as soon as possible.
The power supply crisis also leaves the electricity minister with an increasingly tight timeline. The Minister of Power Supply finds himself at the center of a power struggle – a power struggle that has pitted President Ramaphosa’s two powerful allies, Mantaser (Minister of Mines and Energy) and Gordhan (Minister of Public Enterprises), against each other. The power minister needs some power from these two ministers to facilitate his progress.
South Africa’s president declared a “state of disaster” for the country’s electricity in February, talking about the severity of the impact and calling for an aggressive response to the shortage.
The lack of electricity has become a severe problem in South Africa due to a combination of factors, such as severely aging infrastructure and poor management by the electricity supplier. For a long time, South Africa’s power supply was unstable, with occasional small-scale power outages, but 2022 experienced the worst power. According to statistics, in 2022, South Africa’s continuous power outages for 205 days. According to data from the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), total power outages in 2022 exceeded 1,900 hours. 2023 was a daily blackout, with more than 8 hours in a day at its worst. The problem of power shortage has a severe impact on daily life and economic development.
South Africa’s electricity production is mainly responsible for the national power company Eskom. Eskom currently has 30 power plants, including thermal, nuclear, hydropower, wind power, etc., of which 15 coal-fired power stations provide about 80% of the country’s electricity.
The worsening power crisis is causing immeasurable damage to South African society and business activities. At the International Mining Indaba in Cape Town, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe (Gwede Mantashe) stated that the power outages cost the South African economy about 1 billion rands ($56 million) a day. It comes after the World Bank estimated that South Africa, Africa’s most industrialized economy, lost $24 billion in 2022 due to power outages. Energy is vital to economic growth, and the lack of electricity is a critical factor in South Africa’s economic poverty. South Africa has half unemployed of the total population and already carries a foreign debt of $130 billion.
According to data reports, the current electricity crisis expects to reduce South Africa’s economic growth rate to 0.3% this year. The economy cannot grow, and unemployment will not decrease. In addition, the ongoing power outages have caused popular protests and interrupted the normal conduct of trade, education, and healthcare.
The World Bank, according to its report, says that the battery market in South Africa is currently growing considerably under the power crisis. Battery energy storage systems will create new income and new jobs. In the next five years, the government gradually shift South Africa’s electricity supply market from coal-fired power to renewable energy generation plan. As a result, the demand for energy storage in South Africa expected to grow. The growth in demand will come from the transformation of the energy system, including the need for more renewable energy and the development of the electric vehicle (EV) industry. By 2030, South Africa will have 26GW of renewable energy integrated into the grid, while Eskom will phase out about 15GW of coal-fired power plants. For renewable energy power, solar PV and wind must be supported by energy storage systems, such as pumped storage or battery storage systems. The World Bank report shows South Africa’s battery storage market expects to grow from 270-megawatt hours (MWh) in 2020 to 9,700 MWh in 2030. global developments, South Africa’s renewable energy, and the electric vehicle market all provide incentives for South Africa to develop its local lithium ion battery market.