Wolsey+Barnard+Nuclear
Worley Barnard, South African Department of Energy’s acting director-general, attending the 34th SADC meeting where the renewable energy centre, energy tariffs and load shedding will be discussed this week. Pic credit: Puxley Makgatho

The establishment of a renewable energy efficiency centre is one of the main discussion points at the 34th meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers taking place this week in Sandton, South Africa, reports BDLive.

On Tuesday the South African Department of Energy’s acting director-general, Wolsey Barnard said the organisation was looking to establish the renewable energy centre by the end of this year.

According to BDLive, Barnard said they were down to three bidders for the centre and this would soon be narrowed down to one bidder.

Renewable energy centre budget

Although Barnard could not answer questions about the budget for the centre, he said those details would be released after the winning bidder was announced.

The winning bidder would then host the centre in eight countries and would work on research and policy development for the region’s renewable energy needs.

“Renewable energy is the golden key for Africa”, said Barnard, adding that the centres would also discuss the access to energy backlog in the region.

Apart from the centre, other issues up for discussion at the SADC meeting include renewable energy tariffs and load shedding.

Renewable energy auctions

Industry professionals have labelled the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) a ‘huge success for the country and the continent’.

Workers assemble the Kalkbult solar energy plant, the first solar plant to feed into the national grid. Pic credit Sunday Times
Workers assemble the Kalkbult solar energy plant, the first solar plant to feed into the national grid. Pic credit Sunday Times

In June, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, announced another 13 preferred bidders for wind and solar photovoltaic projects in the REIPPPP. This brings the number approved projects to 92 with a combined capacity of 6,327MW across all renewable energy bid windows.

According to Prof Anton Eberhard, chairman of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s energy advisory panel and director of the management programme on infrastructure reform and regulation at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, the renewable energy programme’s potential for roll-out to the rest of Africa is vast.

In Tanzania the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) announced at the beginning of July that it is introducing a competitive auction for solar and wind renewable energy projects in the near future.