South African impartial energy producers (IPPs) are hoping for the return of a nationwide procurement program subsequent yr following a stop-gap public sale ending this month.

Presents to cowl 2 gigawatts of ‘danger mitigation’ IPP capability are due in by Dec. 22, after an unique Nov. 24 deadline was prolonged. 

The emergency procurement spherical, for dispatchable era due on-line by mid-2022, has raised hopes long-awaited fifth spherical of the nation’s Renewable Vitality Impartial Energy Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) will probably be opened up quickly.

However precisely when it unclear. Throughout a debate on the nation’s financial restoration plan earlier this yr, Minister of Mineral Sources Gwede Mantashe indicated that the fifth bid window of the REIPPPP could be issued in December 2020.

With lower than a fortnight to go earlier than the New Yr, this now appears unlikely. As a substitute, the wind sector is “equipped for a brand new procurement spherical within the first quarter of 2021, or as some are predicting, as early as January,” SAWEA said.

Thandiwe Maimane, director of communications for the South African Division of Mineral Sources and Vitality (DMRE), mentioned in an e-mail that there have been “at the moment no updates” on procurement plans past what has already been posted on the federal government web site. 

“This system has been affected by delays and no actual dedication from the governmnet,” Kevin Robinson, South Africa’s consultant inside the Africa Photo voltaic Trade Asscociation, mentioned in an e-mail. “Realistically I personally do not see something taking place earlier than March.” 

Equally, the South African Wind Vitality Affiliation (SAWEA) is “equipped for a brand new procurement spherical within the first quarter of 2021, or as some are predicting, as early as January,” based on a December press rlease. 

Operating out of time to satisfy built-in useful resource plan targets

The persevering with delay in renewables procurement is irritating for a sector that has been warning since spring that South Africa should restart bidding to satisfy an built-in useful resource plan goal of 1.6 gigawatts of latest wind and 1 gigawatt of photo voltaic by 2022. 

There’s slight comfort in that the South African authorities has not less than made headway in tackling a few of the points which have stalled procurement for the final couple of years, trade observers say. 

“The most important challenges up to now have been authorities delays with procurement of latest era,” in addition to state utility Eskom’s “battle of curiosity with its personal era fleet and IPPs,” mentioned Chris Ahlfeldt, an vitality analyst at Blue Horizon in Cape City, in an e-mail.

Ongoing crises at Eskom led the federal government to suggest breaking apart the utility in 2019. There are additionally now plans to ascertain an impartial transmission system and market operator and to obtain roughly 20 GW of latest utility-scale wind and PV by 2030, mentioned Ahlfeldt.

“Authorities and Eskom have already begun to implement the roadmap and make reforms to the electrical energy provide trade, though it is taking longer for Eskom to resolve authorized separation of its core enterprise items than initially deliberate,” he mentioned.

In one other signal of enhancing fortunes for renewable energy builders, Eskom’s administration has gone from dragging its ft over signing new power-purchase agreements to overtly welcoming extra clear vitality on the grid. 

“Eskom’s present CEO acknowledged the important position IPPs play available in the market and even requested extra wind and photo voltaic capability be procured to handle provide shortfall and low chance that new coal or new nuclear will probably be constructed,” mentioned Ahlfeldt.

different renewable vitality alternatives in South Africa

Renewable IPP representatives figured prominently among the many greater than 1,100 attendees to a September danger mitigation bidders’ convention held by DMRE. That’s even supposing the technology-agnostic procurement spherical was for dispatchable capability, and thus prone to favor fossil-fueled energy vegetation.  

Corporations attending the convention included Mainstream Renewable Energy, ACWA Energy, Enel Inexperienced Energy and EDF Renewables, amongst others. 

Though “builders and buyers are already partaking with potential native companions and planning for tasks as a part of Spherical 5, it additionally is smart for IPPs to take an extended view on the expansion of the South African market and to pursue different venture alternatives like the two GW danger mitigation IPP program,” Ahlfeldt mentioned. 

Day-after-day that the federal government drags its ft over restarting the REIPPPP provides to the sensation that the executive challenges which have plagued this system earlier than are but to be resolved. 

“I do not imagine the federal government has the ability set or willingness to place measures in place to make sure a sustainable utility-scale renewbale vitality sector,” mentioned Robinson at AFSIA.

Intead, industrial and industrial-scale tasks have “gained lots of traction and I imagine that apart from a few of the bigger builders that is the place the long run actually lies,” he mentioned. “There’s a massive marketplace for embedded era tasks, particularly inside the mining sector.” 

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