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SA energy minister gives update on national energy plans

On Wednesday, South African Energy Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson mooted the 2016 budget speech in Parliament, where she highlighted that Independent Power Producers’ (IPPs) capacity, under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPPP), is expected to grow to about 7,000MW.

Energy minister highlights REIPPPP

“The energy contribution of independent power producers is expected to grow to approximately 7,000MW with the first 47 renewable energy independent power producers fully operational by mid-2016. Private investment in the programme currently exceeds ZAR194 billion [$13 billion].”

In terms of new capacity, the minister said: “Bids in terms of the Bid Window 4 Expedited Round, totaling an additional 1,800MW are currently under evaluation, and we will announce preferred bidders in the second quarter of the financial year.

“Bid Window 4, including the investments made through the small projects programme, will increase the investment amount to more than ZAR255 billion [$17 billion].”

The country is on track to transition to a low carbon economy with the target of 17,800MW of renewable energy power by 2030, she added.

New releases

The minister said that the updated IRP process is well underway, and will be submitted to the economic sector and infrastructure development cluster in the second quarter of this financial year.

“Last year we initiated a process of redesigning the RFP for Bid Window 5 with attention to early, efficient and equitable benefits to communities and greater localised industrialisation.  We are pleased to indicate that a new RFP for Bid Window 5 will be released during the second quarter of this financial year,” Joemat-Pettersson said.

The minister expressed confidence in that these developments will further fast-track investment in the sector.

Expanding reach of solar power

According to the department, 1,500MW will be generated from new solar technologies in a Northern Cape Solar Park to further boost the countries renewable developments.

According to the minister, the Solar Park will be developed in a clustered fashion, sharing common infrastructure and services such as access to land, water supply, feeder lines to electricity transmission system, roads and support industries.

“Since 2010, significant development work has taken place including improvements to the grid infrastructure around the Upington transmission station, which has been augmented to enable the integration of the Solar Park.  The area has been included in one of the newly promulgated Renewable Energy Development Zones.

“I am glad to announce that earlier today [Wednesday], the IPP Office published a Call for Expressions of Interest from potential Strategic Equity Partners for the Solar Park.

She added: “We urge the participation of qualifying private sector and public sector stakeholders in this massive undertaking.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.