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South Africa Plans to Strengthen Transmission Grid

Eskom has had to resort to periodic rolling power cuts to prevent the grid from collapsing over the course of the year.

South Africa will spend 213 billion rand (US$16 billion) to strengthen its transmission grid over the next decade as it seeks to end power shortages that are slowing growth in Africa's most advanced economy.

According to a Reuters report, Eskom has had to resort to periodic rolling power cuts to prevent the grid from collapsing over the course of the year, a state of affairs that contributed to a 1.3 percent contraction in the economy in the second quarter.

"The total transmission capital plan amounts to 213 billion rand over the ... period 2016-2025," an Eskom presentation said. Leslie Naidoo, Eskom's senior manager for infrastructure investment planning, said at a technical briefing on the utility's grid plans that sourcing the funding would be "a huge challenge", Reuters reported.

Eskom is spending 60 billion rand a year right now on improving electricity infrastructure, according to Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe, while presenting the 10-year plan to build 10,000 km of high-voltage power lines. Molefe said that while Eskom faced a funding gap of 280 billion rand, which has delayed transmission upgrades by seven years, he was "optimistic" about securing the necessary funds.

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