It is an honour for me to address this occasion of the re-opening of the Camden Power Station.
This occasion marks a significant step in our plan to address energy security in this country.
The returning to service of old power stations is an important mitigation measure in our energy security efforts.
We are officially welcoming the addition of one thousand four hundred and forty Mega Watts of capacity onto the grid. This will help us extend the generation capacity while progressing with the build programme.
We welcome the job creation aspects of this project. With Camden power station in commercial operation, about 2000 jobs have been created, 265 of which are permanent.
As part of strengthening our energy sources, the Government has prioritised the rehabilitation and improvement of other power stations in order to ensure security of supply of electricity to the South African economy in the long-term.
Arnot Power Station was the first station to be mothballed and returned to service, and the generation capacity of the power station has been increased from three hundred and seventy Mega Watts to four hundred Mega Watts per unit.
The return-to-service of Grootvlei and Komati power stations is still underway.
The return to service of the Komati power station is planned to be completed by end of 2011.
Ladies and gentlemen,
South Africa is faced with a situation in which the demand for electricity continues to grow within a supply-constrained environment.
Our mass electrification programme which started in the 1990s, as well as the ongoing rapid industrialisation in the country has put enormous strain on our energy sources.
While there is sufficient generation capacity to meet the demand and reserve requirements for 2010, we need to work harder to improve our systems for next year and beyond.
The electricity demand is expected to double over the next 20 years as Government implements its programme of action to take the country’s economy on a higher growth path.
We are poised to spend more than eight hundred billion rand on infrastructure in the next few years. This massive infrastructure programme will demand an enormous supply of energy, and we must rise to this challenge.
Reliable energy supply is also a critical factor in attracting foreign investment, and this cannot be left to chance.
Also critical and central to our developmental agenda, is the electrification of households in both rural and urban areas as part of improving the quality of life of our people.
During the State of the Nation Address, I made a commitment that the government will endeavour to ensure that all households around the country are electrified by 2012.
As of 31 March 2010, the total number of households still awaiting electricity, including informal settlements, was estimated at more than three million. More than 150 000 houses are electrified annually.
The national backlog does not seem to decrease due to the increasing number of informal settlements and houses that are built annually.
The housing backlog now stands at approximately 2.1 million and the number of informal settlements has ballooned to more than 2 700.
We will know we have made progress if we have assisted four hundred thousand households in informal settlements by 2014, having secured some form of land tenure and access to services such as water, electricity and sanitation.
This gives an indication of the challenge we face, and the amount of pressure that will still be put on our energy supply.
Our build programme is therefore critical to ensure that we have the necessary infrastructure.
The World Bank loan of three point seven five billion US dollars to South Africa in May this year has provided Government with a platform to proceed with the implementation of the build programme.
The Eskom build programme comprises the construction and commissioning of three power stations namely Medupi, Kusile and Ingula.
The progress of the new build programme is continuing steadily.
The Medupi Power Station is situated in Lephalale and will generate approximately four thousand eight hundred Mega Watts.
The first unit will most likely be operational by September 2012.
Eskom has to ensure that the first unit is available for base load use before the winter of 2012, with the commercial operating date for the last unit estimated to be in 2015.
On the other hand, the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme, which is located north of KwaZulu-Natal, will provide approximately fifteen point eight hours of peak generation.
The Ingula Project will contribute one thousand three hundred and thirty Mega Watts of generation capacity and it is expected to be in commercial operation by the end of 2013.
Apart from these two, the Kusile Coal-fired Power Station will generate approximately four thousand eight hundred Mega Watts.
Government is currently searching for solutions to the funding requirements of the Kusile power station.
The Eskom build programme is expected to stimulate the economy and create many direct and indirect jobs in the process.
When fully commissioned, the three power stations will contribute an increase of zero point seven two percent per annum to the South African economy.
With all these achievements, I should emphasize that it is the responsibility of all of us to promote efficient use of energy.
Therefore the campaign on efficiency measures such as the use of solar-powered geysers, switching off lights when not needed and others should enjoy similar commitment from all of us.
Also, as a country we are still mindful of and committed to our emission reduction target that we set ourselves for 2025. These developments do not detract from that.
It is for all these reasons that the re-opening of the Camden Power Station is a significant step in our energy sector, which is a prelude to other major achievements.
We congratulate all who have played a key role in making this project a success.
As citizens, let us work together to improve our energy security as well ensure the efficient use of this limited resource.
I thank you