Installed Capacity and Share of Generation
At present, electricity generation capacity is dominated by the state-owned utility Eskom, which holds 91% of the country’s effective/nominal generation capacity. Remaining generation capacity is held by municipalities (1.77%) as well as Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that sell power to Eskom (7.21%).
South Africa, integral part of the South African Power Pool (SAPP) is furthermore trading electricity with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Total imports were 9,703 GWh in 2015/2016 with exports of 13,465 GWh in the same period.
Eskom’s generation assets are distinguished by coal (85.12%), gas (5.63%), hydro (4.67%), nuclear (4.34%) as well as wind (0.23%) power plants. Municipal generation assets consist of coal (64.4%) and gas (14.66%) fired power plants, as well as was pumped storage hydro power plants (20.91%). As per March 2016, Independent Power Producers (IPPs) availed 3,392 MW of generation capacity to Eskom. Due to South Africa’s successful procurement programme for renewable energy (Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme; REIPPPP), recently commissioned renewable energy power plants have contributed to a decrease in load shedding. IPP-owned renewable energy generation has gained traction with 2,145 MW of available capacity. Solar (inclusive of PV and CSP) and wind are responsible for 34.34% and 28.60% of IPP-owned capacity, respectively. Coal (13.56%), gas (17.33%), and others inclusive of cogeneration, landfill gas (5.87%), and hydro (0.29%) are relatively less relevant.
Effective/Nominal Electricity Generation Capacity Inclusive of Pumped-Storage Schemes
 Inclusive of Pumped-Storage Schemes
Eskom reported generation of 219,979 GWh in 2015/2016 with 9,033 GWh bought from IPPs and 9,703 GWh imported from other Southern African countries. It is further estimated that ~ 3,500 GWh was generated by municipalities. Eskom’s electricity generation mix is heavily dominated by coal power (91%). When adding electricity generated by IPPs, municipalities, as well as from imports, the relative importance of coal drops to 85% – shown in the figures below:
Electricity Generation Source – Eskom (left) and incl. IPP, municipalities and imports (right)
Planned Expansion to Generation Capacity
South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010, policy-adjusted IRP capacity scenario, targeted an increase in capacity to 89 GW from current 47 GW by 2030. The scenario that requires investment in 56,539 MW of new capacity (considering the planned decommissioning of existing capacity) envisions a shift away from coal-based power:
IRP 2010 – Policy adjusted IRP capacity scenario
||Total MW 2030
||Generation mix %
||Capacity additions (MW
|Gas (OCGT and CCGT)
|Hydro (incl. pumped storage
|Solar (PV and CSP)
Achieving the new capacity requirements is expected to be driven by investments made by the national utility Eskom as well as through IPPs – with the target for IPPs to provide 30% of the total capacity in 2030.
As of July 2016, the DoE through the REIPPPP, had already contracted 6,376.7 MW of renewable energy-based generation capacity, resulting in an additional 4,032.7 MW to be added to the already operational renewable energy IPPs.
Total REIPPPP capacity contracted
All the IPPs from REIPPPP projects sell their electricity to Eskom. Average tariffs for Solar PV and Wind technologies have fallen to USD 72.9/MWh and USD 57.4/MWh respectively in bid window 4, a decrease of 72% and 46% in rand terms respectively from bid window 1.
However, Eskom had recently decided not to sign any further Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy power producers that bid above a tariff of 62cR/kWh, as Eskom forecasts a generation surplus by 2022.
ESKOM is currently implementing Medupi and Kusile coal power plants, which will each add approximately 4.8 GW of power to the South African grid. The plants are under construction following various delays. The first 794 MW unit of Medupi is now online. Completion of all units is expected by 2020 for Medupi and 2022 for Kusile. In the DRC, the construction of the 4,800 MW Inga 3 hydropower project is expected to commence. South Africa is expected to import up to 2,500 MW from Inga 3 from 2030 onwards. Inga 3 forms the first phase of the ambitious 40 GW Grand Inga Project
Revised capacity additions in the new IRP 2016 are summarized in the table below. Despite general reduced capacity across all technologies, notable changes are that nuclear power is only included in the IRP beyond 2030, while the relative importance of gas, wind and solar technologies have increased.
Revised IRP 2016 capacity forecasts (MW)
 Does not include 9.6 GW already being implemented by ESKOM