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South Africa: Load Shedding Will Cripple Our Economic Recovery

Urgent steps must be taken this year to bring the cheapest and most reliable energy on to the grid within the next three years. Coal, nuclear and substantial gas infrastructure cannot be brought online within that time frame. Only renewables (wind and solar) can be built that quickly. That is an undeniable fact, no matter what your biases may be. Furthermore, renewables are also the cheapest option and prices are expected to continue to drop.

When South Africans discuss their problems, two words dominate the discussion: lockdown and load shedding. Economists disagree on most issues, but there’s one thing they all agree on: without a solution to load shedding, no economic strategy is going to work, no matter how fiscally conservative or ambitious. Investors and ratings agencies also agree, as do our politicians, that as long as load shedding persists, a post-Covid-19 recovery is a pipe dream.

But when it comes to solutions to load shedding, there is no sense of urgency. Yes, we now hear Eskom CEO Andr√© de Ruyter saying repeatedly and with ever-greater urgency that we need to face the reality that unless we get new generation capacity on to the grid within the next few years,…