Holding South Africans to a 10 MW self-generation grid-linked electricity threshold is a measure that is holding back the economic future of this country. The limit must be raised to at least 50 MW without delay. The regulations for the 10 MW threshold are not yet out, so all the drafters need to do is delete the number 1 and replace it with the number 5.
There is simply no excuse for not being able to raise the red-tape-free limit to 50 MW, especially given the overwhelming urgings of economists, energy executives and even Eskom, which, after all, is saddled with the job of linking independent generation to the national electricity grid.
South Africans received a deadline promise from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy director-general (DG) that the country would have an exploration strategy by January. Scores of people were present when he made the public promise, but it was not kept, which indicates that his mining-plus-energy task could well be far too heavy. In any event, it is not ideal to have one DG with two distinct formerly separate tasks, both of which are full-time in themselves.
Rather return the current DG’s role to mining alone, which is what he was employed to do, and go out into the world for a best-in-class DG to run energy, where South Africa has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to score big. The country needs an enormous amount of renewable energy and should not hold back self-generation in any way at all. The change to 50 MW is just the minimum required at this point in time and must be allowed now.