Webinar summary [12 August 2020]: Setting up for the 2020s: Addressing South Africa’s electricity crisis and getting ready for the next decade … and now #Covid19


You can access the full recording of the 12 August 2020 webinar here. You can access the webinar background brochure here


The purpose of this webinar was to tackle the ongoing uncertainty regarding supply adequacy and load-shedding, which is an issue that has been further mystified by demand downturn during the Covid-19 lockdown, due to the shutdown of the commercial and industrial activities. The current situation is eroding investor confidence and is negatively impacting business revenues.

This webinar, led by The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with GreenCape, intends to increase the reach of the CSIR research of the current status and future trajectory of the national electricity supply.

Empowered with this information, policy makers, investors and South Africans can make informed decisions to enhance and support already existing initiatives of multiple stakeholders that can make a meaningful impact in addressing existing challenges.


Considering the current economic impact of Covid-19 and the national lockdown, the CSIR research, which was published earlier this year, titled: Setting up for the 2020s: Addressing South Africa’s electricity crisis – getting ready for the next decade, has become even more relevant.

“South Africa had the worst year load-shedding on record in 2019 (1352 GWh, 530 hours) with up to stage 6 load-shedding being implemented having significant impacts on the economy. Load-shedding is going to continue for 2-3 years depending on key decisions and actions,” said Dr Wright.

The constrained power system requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders and custodians to ensure a secure power system going forward. This has become increasingly clear as load-shedding resumed at the beginning of July 2020 despite unprecedented reduced demand during Level 5 and Level 4 of the national lockdown.

Without any interventions, shortages over the next five years are expected to range from morning/evening constraints in some of the years to high daytime demand hours combined with the morning/evening constraints in other years. These insights assist to inform the necessary type of supply-side and/or demand-side options required to ensure an adequate power system.

Dr Wright presents three critical actions that are required for South Africa to recover from this crisis.

The proposed 3-steps are to: 

  1. Intentionally drive a customer response at scale (with enabling regulations) drive by Small Scale Embedded Generation (residential), Embedded Generation (commercial/agricultural), EG/DG (industrial/mining) & storage.
  2. Address remaining capacity/energy gap via an accelerated DMRE RMPPP (Risk Mitigation Power Purchase Programme) process to ensure capacity is online when required. 
  3. Continue implementation of IRP 2019 as an immediate focus to ensure sufficient lead-time for procurement processes and technology-specific construction lead-times.

GreenCape and the CSIR welcomed the opportunity to share this research and to engage with the collated question from a range of interested stakeholder.