The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has been invited to attend a National Energy of South Africa (NERSA) Tribunal on Thursday 27th September 2018, to motivate why it should be allowed to be heard by the Tribunal.
Approval to be heard by the Tribunal will allow SAWEA to provide substantive argument opposing adoption of an investigation report, which at the end of 2017 arrived at the conclusion that Eskom had not breached its license conditions by delaying the signing of duly procured renewable energy Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for a protracted 33 month period.
“Given the opportunity, we will argue that the findings of the investigation panel are flawed both in reasoning and in the law,” said Brenda Martin, CEO of SAWEA.
The NERSA investigation took place late in 2017, in response to a SAWEA complaint submitted in September 2016, and considered submissions from both SAWEA and Eskom.
The association believes that the investigation panel did not take its submitted evidence into account and failed to provide reasons for its conclusion, which appeared to bear no relation to the line of argument outlined in its report of findings.
In SAWEA’s view, the investigation panel abdicated its responsibilities by expressly refusing to consider whether Eskom had any legal standing to pursue government engagement. In doing so, it effectively endorsed Eskom’s actions, which resulted in a two-year delay in the implementation of duly procured projects and countless negative effects throughout the industry’s value chain: manufacturing and assembly plant closures, job losses, rural community development stalled, and more.
Although PPAs were finally signed in March 2018, it is of concern to the industry that endorsement of the investigation panel’s findings could create a precedent allowing Eskom to employ such significantly destructive delay tactics at any point in the future.
“We look forward to finally receiving direction from the regulator on this matter so that we can focus on building a domestic renewables industry, that can have confidence in the objective rules being applied by the body responsible for regulation of the evolving and vital South African energy sector,” said Martin. Read more: Wind industry responds to IRP update