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BRICS Summit: South Africa, China Ink Deals On Energy Sector

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South Africa and China signed a number of deals on Wednesday to aid in the transformation of the former’s creaky energy sector along with its nuclear power plant. The deals are made in order to resolve a deep energy crisis impacting the economy.

The deals were signed with Chinese power companies while BRICS summit is ongoing in South Africa’s capital Johannsberg. As per the agreements, South Africa will be able to improve its electricity transmission and distribution network.

Post the signing of agreements, South African Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said, “We are moving at the speed of the fastest, we are not going to move at the speed of the slowest.”

According to Ramokgopa, China’s power transmission grid network, generation capacity, and renewable energy plants are the largest in the world and were established up quickly. South Africa wants to benefit from this experience.

The state-run Eskom utility in South Africa is experiencing record-breaking power outages due to a 4,000 megawatt (MW) shortage in power supply, which represents a tenth of its installed capacity.

Its severely limited transmission capacity prevents the deployment of any alternative power sources. Long periods of time without electricity are caused by the majority of its distribution infrastructure, which consists of a collection of tens of thousands of transformers and substations that supply power to homes.

According to Ramokgopa, China will aid in extending the lifespan of Eskom’s coal-fired power plants, provide technologies to reduce emissions at a lower cost than is available elsewhere in the world, and possibly even establish manufacturing facilities for solar PV panels and transformers in the nation.

He stated that it will also assist South Africa in modernising its nuclear power facility.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that China, the country’s largest trading partner, would provide 500 million rand in grants for the electricity sector and 167 million rand ($8.9 million) in emergency power equipment.

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