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AfrElec: South Africa needs surplus electricity from solar plants, says minister

South Africa’s Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has called for discussions to assess ways of making surplus electricity from existing renewable energy facilities available to the grid.

Ramokgopa insisted that the government needed this additional power generated by independent power producers (IPPs) that was currently being “thrown away,” while the country was battling an energy crisis, News24 reports.

The minister was speaking at a regular weekly update on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan (EAP) on April 22. He said the government was aware of several solar and battery storage plants generating a surplus of 17 MW to 60 MW of electricity.

However, South Africa’s state-run power utility Eskom is not allowed to buy it owing to contract limits with IPPs under the much-criticised renewable energy risk-mitigation procurement programme.

This means that any surplus power generated by a producer will not become available to the grid, even at the time when the country is experiencing rolling power outages, locally called load shedding, implemented by the struggling power utility. 

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