South Africa’s energy minister Jeff Radebe announced today the long-awaited signing of 27 renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) representing about 2,300 MW of generating capacity.
This is the largest independent power producer (IPP) procurement by the Department of Energy to date and represents a total investment of some ZAR 56 billion (USD 4.7bn/EUR 3.8bn), the minister said.
The projects in question were selected under bid windows 3.5, 4 and 4.5 of the country's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). However, the signing of the contracts that support them was delayed several times, as back in 2016 local utility Eskom refused to enter into new deals due to cost issues and excess power generation capacity.
Last month, as it became clear that the contracts are finally about to be signed, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and civil society Transform RSA also tried to block the move in court. They claim it would likely result in the closure of coal-fired power plants, which in turn would affect 30,000 working class families.
Today, minister Radebe stated that the signing of the deals would create around 58,000 new jobs. “Most of these jobs will be created during the construction period and entails the utilisation of the work force in the vicinity of the projects,” he noted.
The minister went on to say that the country still has other projects in the pipeline.
“Furthermore, we are still giving consideration to the expedited bid window of 1,800 MW (ZAR 63.4 billion) awaiting an announcement, depending on the affordability thereof, prices, economics and value for money,” he said, adding that this could contribute a further 80,000 jobs.
As per the newly-contracted schemes, the Northern Cape will attract most of the investment with 15 new wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) projects. The Eastern Cape will be adding four wind projects, while the North West province will have four new solar PV projects.
(ZAR 10 = USD 0.839/EUR 0.682)
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