As the country once again contends with continued load-shedding, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has reaffirmed the sector’s role in contributing to energy security.
This is despite the recent announcement of delays to two renewable energy procurement rounds meant to unlock and deliver new generation capacity, SAWEA says.
Responding to a recent statement issued by South Africa’s Independent Power Producer Office (IPPO) head Bernard Magoro, the association says it is encouraged by the leadership demonstrated and the sentiments of stakeholder alignment.
SAWEA has been lobbying for increased stakeholder engagement and alignment, as it notes that this is the key to establishing the foundation for accelerated procurement and unblocking hurdles.
“We continue to build relationships with the key stakeholders including the IPPO, Eskom, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and are assured that the stakeholders are having the right conversations to support the procurement process with the aim of [getting] more megawatts on the grid as quickly as possible,” says SAWEA CEO Niveshen Govender.
SAWEA posits that the South African wind power sector is robust and has the appetite, ability and capacity to deliver a minimum of 1.6 GW of new power generation yearly, for the next decade.
This has been demonstrated by exceedingly high levels of bid submissions for Bid Window 5 and reaffirmed by Magoro this week, who stated his confidence in the market appetite for the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme’s Bid Window 6, SAWEA points out.
Magoro noted that more than 50 potential bidders have acquired the bid documentation, and also, that the National Treasury has confirmed that the programme will continue to be granted government guarantees.
The association points out that the scale of these megaprojects, each valued on average at over R1.5-billion, require considerable work to bring them to commercial close.
“We are dealing with billion rand projects that require in excess of sixty applications, licences, permit agreements, regulatory compliance processes, which demonstrates the importance of cross-sector stakeholder relations and supportive policies,” says Govender.
Citing the recent procurement round delay from end-April, the association notes that the failure to secure final budget quotes from Eskom for grid connection, should not be singled out as the only reason for postponements. It is suggested that a six- to twelve-month timeframe may be more realistic to navigate the cumbersome processes.
“I estimate around 12 months is a more realistic timeframe, which should be incorporated into the procurement process to reduce the public perception of delays, in addition to increased stakeholder engagement to resolve this,” emphasises Govender.