3 February 2009 – The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) would announce the Renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit) on February 28, Nersa regulator member for electricity Thembani Bukula told delegates at the national Renewable Energy Conference in Sandton on Thursday.
Owing to the more expensive cost of generating electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, sun and natural gas, the Refit would aim to stimulate investment into this sector. Although it would not lower the cost of electricity for the customer (as this was averaged out), it would go some way to subsidise renewable energy generators.
The Refit was long-awaited, as it was initially expected in September this year, and Nersa senior engineer Sibusiso Zungu said the regulator was doing its best to complete the proposal quickly.
The proposal followed the Refit study by Nersa, which was completed in mid-2007.
Once the proposal and consultation paper was complete, an election sub-committee would need to approve the processes, timelines and consultation papers, after which Nersa would approve the timelines and paper. The proposal would then be made available for public comment.
At this stage, the proposed tariff schedule showed a contribution of between 50c/kWh and 80c/kWh for all renewable energy generated, and this could be from wind, small hydro, landfill gas, or concentrating solar power.
The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) made a decision that 10 000 GWh of electricity should be generated from renewable energy by 2013, although the policy governing how this should be done had not yet been finalised. The Refit would go some way to help the government reach this target.
Eskom was appointed as the single buyer for the renewable energy generated, and contracts were valid for a 15-year period.