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.