The fourth bidding window under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) received 77 proposals by the submission deadline of 18 August 2014.

South African energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced and assured that, with the evaluation process finalised, the preferred bidders would be announced shortly, Creamer media reported.

According to Joemat-Pettersson, the implementation, power purchase and direct agreements should be signed within six months from the date the preferred bidders are announced. The projects could reach financial close 300 days thereafter, she added.

With over 60 renewable projects procured in bidding windows one, two and three, there has been over ZAR140 billion ($12 billion) of private investments into the programme with a combined generation capacity of 3 900MW.

Clarifying South Africa’s energy focus:

In a speech on 24 February, Minister for rural development and land reform, Gugile Nkwinti hosted a media briefing around the implementation of the Government Programme of Action post State of the Nation Address 2015. He told assembled media that "The Energy War Room is working intensively to implement Cabinet’s 5-Point Energy Plan to resolve the energy challenge.

The Government will provide R23bn to Eskom in the next fiscal year to improve its finances, to minimise load-shedding. The 5 Point Plan entails (i) Eskom’s maintenance and capacity improvement programme; (ii) introducing new generation capacity through coal; (iii) entering into cogeneration contracts with the private sector; (iv) introducing gas-to-power; and, (v) accelerating demand side management.”

The minister further clarified that "the process of renewing the existing co-generation contracts will be concluded before end-February 2015; and, negotiations on additional co-gen power will be concluded during the first half of this year. These efforts are directed at diversifying our country’s energy sources.

"In this regard, State-Owned Companies (SOCs) are accelerating the exploration for oil and gas. A number of exploration wells will be drilled over the next ten years, in partnership with the private sector. This means building more refining capacity, pipelines, storage tanks and port terminal facilities.

"In terms of nuclear, the government has signed Inter-Governmental Agreements and carried out vendor Parades with 5 countries (USA, South Korea, Russia, France and China). In the coming financial year we will engage with all these vendors in a fair, transparent, and competitive procurement process to select a strategic partner or partners to undertake the nuclear build programme, in line with the approved IRP 2010-2030,” he concluded.