South Africa signs MoU with China to upgrade power network

During the 15th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) summit held between August 22-24, 2023, South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China to improve its ageing coal-fired generation projects and upgrade its transmission network. Under this, the Ministry of Electricity of South Africa signed a joint memorandum of cooperation with eight Chinese entities as part of the country’s continued efforts to strengthen partnerships to advance energy security and energy transition. These eight companies will help Eskom, South Africa’s utility, to reduce emissions from its coal-fired power plants while retaining their performance levels.

The eight companies are the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), China-Africa Development Fund, China Energy International Group, China General Nuclear Power Corporation, China National Electric Engineering Company, Huawei Technologies, TBEA Limited, and the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Co-operation Organisation.

In addition, Eskom requires assistance in expanding its transmission network. During the last decade, the transmission capacity of the county has expanded only by 4,400 km and requires an additional 14,000 km of capacity addition over the next decade.

Reportedly, China has donated emergency power equipment worth ZAR167 million and has given ZAR500 million in grants as development assistance to South Africa.

The MoU is a part of Eskom’s efforts to reduce power cuts in the country, which are a major constraint in its path to economic growth.