Deputy President David Mabuza says government is exploring alternative energy generation avenues that will ensure not only stability is brought to the country's power grid but that there is a just energy transition onto a lower carbon footprint.
The Deputy President was responding to oral questions during a sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.
"Within the framework of the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, alternative energy generation measures are being explored and implemented to augment electricity supply, and improve the stability of the grid.
"Furthermore, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy has issued determinations on the required new generation capacity, in concurrence with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa," he said.
He said government understood the impact of load shedding on people's lives.
"As government, we are cognisant of the negative impact of load shedding on the country's economy, and the inconvenience and hardship it causes to the country.
"However, load shedding is a last resort lever to protect the system from blackout which is a total loss of the electricity network."
Mabuza said government has created a regulatory environment that is conducive to opening up the market for alternative power generation.
"We must make the point that Eskom's load shedding is not as a result of limited market role for alternative power generation, but mainly, a result of breakdowns encountered from the old and aging power generation infrastructure.
"An improvement in the reliability and predictability of the coal fleet requires adequate financial resources and generation capacity surplus on the system to execute the required additional reliability maintenance.
"To achieve this, Eskom is driving the Generation Turnaround Programme," he said.
He said as coal-fired units and stations are shut down, it is essential that new generation capacity be added to the grid to ensure energy security.
"Overall, the country has an immediate need for 4 000 megawatts to 6 000 megawatts of additional generation capacity per year," he said.
The Deputy President said as part of government's just energy transition strategy, Eskom has proposed an extra 8 000 megawatts of clean energy projects to be added to the grid over the next two to five years.
"This is a mix of greenfield renewables and gas projects, as well as coal power plant repurposing.
"Government is also considering various changes which will speed up the acquisition of Independent Power Producers and to reduce further red tape."
The Deputy President said an announcement in this regard will be made once all the necessary tasks have been completed.