Carel Ballack,
20 September 2012 – Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) Ombudsman, Carel Ballack says that while it has taken over eight months, power licences have now been approved for the 28 first round successful renewable energy bidders announced in December 2011 by the energy minister Dipuo Peters.

These 28 bidders in the first round of the department of energy’s programme to source some 3,725MW of energy from independent, renewable power producers by 2016 will utilise both solar and wind technologies to supply a total of 1415.52MW.

This will be broken down as follows:

  • 18 solar photovoltaic projects − 631.53MW
  • Eight onshore wind projects − 633.99MW
  • Two concentrated solar power projects– 150MW

“The fact that the licences have now been awarded means that the successful bidders can put serious effort into meeting the deliverables,” Ballack says.

“However, SESSA would like to see a more speedy resolution of the process so that those bidders who were successful in the second round are also able to plan with certainty.”

The second bidding period attracted some 79 tenders and represented 3,233 MW of potential power generation capacity. This is nearly three times the 1,275 MW allocated for the second round; a further 2,300 MW was left available for allocation under the programme at a future date. Only 19 out of the 79 projects presented were selected as preferred bidders.

“The fact that the second round of bidding has attracted nearly three times as much capacity as called for indicates that the 2016 target may be set too low,” Ballack says. “SESSA would like to see Government seriously considering increasing its target of 3,725 MW of renewables capacity. The interest is there, the skills and the capacity exist – government should be looking to take advantage of that,” he says.