While the country continues to struggle with the crippling effects of prolonged loadshedding, recent indicators point to a light at the end of the tunnel that is lit by renewable power generation.
This is as the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has provided its concurrence to a Section 34 Ministerial Determination, issued earlier this year, which opens the way for the procurement of 6,800MW of wind and solar PV power.
Since the announcement by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe last week key stakeholders, including Eskom and the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), have also welcomed this development.
“Given the current supply constraints, this additional generation capacity is urgently required and will be an important contribution towards ending loadshedding and ensuring energy security for the country,” says Eskom CEO André de Ruyter.
Eskom stated that it is looking forward to collaborating with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the IPP Office to enable an accelerated execution to bring additional capacity onto the grid in the shortest space of time possible.
“We are hopeful that together these indicators mean that policy and procurement can work hand in hand to enable a green power revolution that will support the economic growth that is so desperately needed in South Africa,” said Ntombifuthi Ntuli, CEO SAWEA.
New generation capacity
SAWEA warns the country’s continued power crisis is a problem that will keep recurring unless the country executes decisive policy initiatives and implements the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
“It is clear from the 2019 IRP that the new generation capacity should come from low-cost and reliable renewable energy sources, such as wind and other clean power technologies, especially as renewables can be rolled out within a period of 18 to 24 months. So, it is the most feasible option to close the short term capacity gap and give the country a chance to catch its breath,” explained Ntuli.
Meanwhile, Eskom noted there is progress with the procurement of the 2,000MW emergency power, which it hopes will start being connected to the national grid by December 2021.
While the 2,000MW emergency procurement is a step in the right direction, Eskom stressed there is an immediate need to urgently accelerate the procurement of at least 3,000MW of further generation capacity to help ease the supply constraints the country is currently going through.