Court says union's interdict request in S African IPP saga not urgent

The Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV. Source: Mulilo Renewable Energy. License: All Rights Reserved.

March 29 (Renewables Now) - The North Gauteng High Court has ruled that a couple of South African organisations’ interdict request aimed at preventing the planned signing of 27 delayed renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) is not urgent.

A representative for the Department of Energy confirmed for Renewables Now that "the application was struck off with costs", adding that the way forward will be communicated in due course.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and civil society Transform RSA lodged the interdict application a few weeks back. They sought to urgently halt the signing of the contracts because they believe the move “would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole”, NUMSA said previously. According to the union, the signing of PPAs for renewable energy would likely result in the closure of coal-fired power plants, which in turn would affect 30,000 working class families.

On the other hand, energy minister Jeff Radebe stated that the green IPP projects will enable ZAR 56 billion (USD 4.72bn/EUR 3.8bn) of new investment in the economy over the next two to three years, and will have a significant contribution to job creation across the energy value chain.

Local utility Eskom in 2016 refused to enter into new deals with 27 IPPs due to cost issues and excess power generation capacity, causing significant delays in the development of the projects, selected under bid windows 3.5, 4 and 4.5 of the country's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The 27 projects include wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies.

(ZAR 10 = USD 0.843/EUR 0.684)

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