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The break to load shedding has been a welcome relief for South African businesses. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Continued suspension of load shedding is raising hopes that South Africa could be over the worst of its energy troubles which have plagued the country over the last few years

On 12 May, Eskom posted an optimistic update celebrating the “notable and consistent improvements in generation performance that have enabled the continued suspension of load shedding, which has not been implemented for 46 days.”

This streak, it continued, can be attributed to the planned maintenance during the summer period and the implementation of the Generation Operational Recovery Plan which commenced in March 2023. In improving generation performance, Unplanned Capacity Loss Factor (UCLF) has reduced from 11,036MW to 10,474MW week-on-week, a performance better than the winter forecast this year which expected unplanned outages to range from 14,000MW to 15,500MW.

The statement also outlined that there has been no increased usage in the Open-Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) this week, and a total of 1,520MW of generating capacity is planned to be returned to service soon.

A positive outlook from the President

President Cyril Ramaphosa, added his own jubilant voice here in newsletter published on 13 May. In the correspondence, the President stated “It is too early to say that load shedding has been brought to an end. However, the sustained improvement in the performance of Eskom’s power stations – as well as the new generation capacity we have added to our energy system – gives us hope that the end of load shedding is in sight.

“A renewed focus by Eskom on maintenance and the return to service of several units is now showing results. Losses due to unplanned outages have reduced by 9% between April 2023 and March 2024, adding the equivalent of 4,400MW of capacity to our national grid. Better maintained and more reliable power stations have increased the country’s Energy Availability Factor (EAF), which is the amount of electricity available from our power stations at any given time. The EAF has been above 60% since April, compared to 53% over the same period last year.”

While the risk of load shedding will likely remain in the background for the foreseeable future, these announcements come as a positive step for a country that has been living in the shadow of an energy crisis which has stifled economic prospects and business potential for years. Certainly, announcements such as the onset of Africa’s largest battery energy storage system and new renewable providers entering the market will help the country in its efforts to return to energy stability.

The project was initially awarded to AMEA Power through an international tender programme that was launched by Tunisia’s Ministry of Industry and SMEs. (Image source: AMEA Power)

AMEA Power, a renewable energy company based in the Middle East, has broken ground on the Kairouan Solar PV project in Tunisia, marking yet another development celebrated by the company on the continent

The latest announcement follows notable announcements including the agreement to develop a 25MW solar PV project in Djibouti; breaking ground on a solar power plant in Togo; and signing a concession agreement and 25 PPA for a 50MW solar project in Côte d'Ivoire.

The latest release from AMEA Power regards the official groundbreaking of the 120MW Kairouan Solar PV project which is being implemented by Kairouan Solar Plant, a project company registered in Tunisia and fully-owned by AMEA Power. The ceremony – which follows the financial close of the project last year – was attended by Fatma Thabet Chiboub, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy of Tunsia; Eman Ahmed Al Salami, UAE Ambassador to Tunisia; Faiçal Tarifa, director general of STEG; and Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of AMEA Power.

Meeting Tunisia's renewables need

“This is a significant milestone for AMEA Power, as we officially announce the groundbreaking for the country’s first privately-financed solar project, paving the way for a greener Tunisia,” Al Nowais remarked. “By taking advantage of its renewable energy resources, and its strategic location between North Africa and Europe, Tunisia can become a prime location for green energy and trade. This groundbreaking project is a beacon for future renewable energy projects in the country, supporting the government’s goal of achieving 35% of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2030.”

The US$86mn project is being financed by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and the African Development Bank. It will be built under a Build-Own-Operate model and is the first project under the concession regime to reach financial close.

Once commissioned – expected in Q4 2025 – it will be AMEA Power’s first operational asset in Tunisia and is expected to power more than 43,000 households while offsetting 117,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over the project’s life. It will also support the country’s efforts to reduce its dependence on oil and gas imports.

The new facility, powered by Wärtsilä, will help address Nigeria’s increasing demand for cement. (Image source: Wärtsilä)

Wärtsilä has signed a ten-year operations and maintenance (O&M) agreement for a captive power plant that will provide energy for a cement facility owned by Mangal Industries in Kogi State, Nigeria

The project was awarded through Bid Window 6 of Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP). (Image source: AMEA Power)

AMEA Power, a fast-growing renewable energy company, has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Eskom, the South African utility company, for the 120MW Doornhoek Solar Photovoltaic Project, located near the town of Klerksdorp in the North West Province

Entrepreneur Hilaria Paschal, Madukani, Tanzania. (Image source: Erica Baker / Solar Sister)

Joanna Pinneo, communications manager at Solar Sister, sheds light on women's empowerment and sustainable energy access across Africa's last mile communities

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