Renewable energy
South Africa's power struggles have opened up a window of opportunity for renewable solutions.

On Friday, the head of the South African Independent Power Producer (IPP) office announced that a request for information (RFI) for potential gas-to-power projects will be released in March 2015.

According to Karen Breytenbach, the RFI is for a possible 3 000MW tender which could be announced in Q3 this year, Creamer media reported.

This follows the release of a tender issued by the IPP, for the procurement of 1 600MW of coal generation from the private sector, a cap falling below the 2012 Ministerial determination of 2 500MW. Breytenbach however, assured that the office was collaborating to ensure that the implementation of the determination was met.

The department of energy has set a target of 3 725MW to be generated from renewable energy sources to help fulfil its objective to deliver an uninterrupted supply of power, as set out in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-2030.

Gas-to-power

Breytenbach highlighted that South Africa has not yet identified commercially viable gas reserves nor is the infrastructure in place for gas transportation.

Realistically the country would have to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) and develop the necessary regasification plants and pipelines to connect the IPPs to the fuel source.

“The National Treasury and the Department of Energy believe gas should play a role in the electricity mix. There will be an IPP procurement programme and we will anchor the gas imports with the IPP programme. From that anchor, we believe gas will then enter the market and will then start forming part of industrial development”, Breytenbach said.

IPP meeting objectives

The IPP has successfully procured 4 000MW of renewable energy projects through three bidding rounds and government is in the process of finalising round four. Currently there are 32 operational renewable power plants with a total generation capacity of 1 500MW.