Africa supplies two-thirds of Africa's electricity and is
one of the four cheapest electricity producers in the world.
Almost 90 percent of South Africa's electricity is generated
in coal-fired power stations. Koeberg, a large nuclear station
near Cape Town, provides about 5 percent of capacity. A further
5 percent is provided by hydroelectric and pumped storage
schemes. In South Africa there are few, if any, new economic
hydro sites that could be developed to deliver significant
amounts of power.
Generation is dominated by Eskom,
the national wholly state-owned utility, which also owns and
operates the national electricity grid. Eskom supplies about
95 percent of South Africa's electricity. In global terms,
the utility is among the top seven in generating capacity,
among the top nine in terms of sales, and has one of the world's
biggest dry-cooled power stations: Matimba Power Station.
Eskom was converted into a public company on 1 July 2002.
It is financed by net financial market liabilities and assets
as well as reserves. While Eskom does not have exclusive generation
rights, it has a practical monopoly on bulk electricity. It
also operates the integrated national high-voltage transmission
system and supplies electricity directly to large consumers
such as mines, mineral beneficiators and other large industries.
In addition, it supplies electricity directly to commercial
farmers and, through the Integrated National Electrification
Programme (INEP), to a large number of residential consumers.
It sells in bulk to municipalities, which distribute to consumers
within their boundaries.
Between January 2003 and January 2004, South Africa increased
its electricity output by 7.1 percent, with a peak demand
of 34 195MW on 13 July 2004, as opposed to the 31 928MW peak
in 2003. Of the new capacity to be built, Eskom will target
about 70 percent (in MW), with the balance from independent
power producers (IPPs).
Due to a sharp increase in the demand for electricity, the
Eskom Board of Directors took a final decision in 2003 for
the return to service of the three power stations, Camden
in Ermelo, Grootvlei in Balfour and Komati between Middelburg
and Bethal, that were mothballed in the late 1980s and early
1990s. Unit 6 at Camden Power Station was then identified
as the first unit to be commissioned. Another two units will
be commissioned in 2006, three units in 2007 and the last
of the eight units in 2008.