With the country’s power demand expected to double in the next two decades, there is a great need to bring more clean power projects online.
In South Africa, one of the country’s largest financial institutions, Standard Bank, has been the financial backing to 14 operational renewable energy projects across the country, which are producing more than 40% of the 1, 760MW by Independent Power Producers (IPP’s).
These projects fall under the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and according to the Bank, delivers more or less the same amount of power that is cut when phase one load shedding is implemented.
Head of Renewable Energy, Power and Infrastructure at Standard Bank South Africa, Rentia van Tonder stressed that the bank would continue to support projects in Africa, that demonstrate a viable business plan which can deliver sustainable clean power.
“We remain committed to supporting and growing the power sector, not only in South Africa, but throughout the rest of the continent as well.
“However, it remains important to choose the right projects that demonstrate the greatest potential to add a sustainable, renewable energy source to that specific country’s grid, with the emphasis on long term partnerships.”
Growing need for alternative power
Van Tonder said that: “A commitment to alternative power can make a real difference and lift the load-shedding burden facing many business and consumers.
“The ability of the economy to grow will be extremely limited if we cannot generate more power, while there is also increasing pressure to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.”
The department of energy has set goals post 2020 that call for 20,000MW of renewable energy to be developed.
The first few rounds of the REIPPP programme have made the sector attractive for investors to come on board and fast track the development of clean power projects.
Van Tonder said: “More than 70 bids were seen in the fourth round in August last year, emphasising the continued interest in the programme by foreign investors.”
Renewable energy investment
According to Standard Bank, South Africa’s total estimated renewable energy market is worth ZAR180 billion ($13 billion), and is projected to reach over ZAR300 billion ($21 billion). This increase is due to the new determination of an additional 6,300MW that was recently announced by the minister of energy.
Van Tonder added: “Standard Bank believes the successes achieved in South Africa’s renewable programme can be replicated across Africa, where opportunities abound for solar, wind, hydro and gas projects, but where only 20% of people are connected to power grids.”
Van Tonder said the bulk of the investments have been in South Africa and Kenya.
Van Tonder said: “While there are some hurdles like the availability of primary power and government support, far more people and companies on the continent need power.”
“Key opportunities exist in countries like Tanzania for wind and solar projects, and for gas to power and hydro in Mozambique, while Nigeria, Namibia and Ghana have capacity for gas, wind and solar projects.
She added: “Solar projects could also find favour in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Senegal while hydro power has potential in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi.”