Government delays green energy

2012-10-17 11:05

Johannesburg - South Africa's independent power procurement programme for renewable energy is experiencing delays, the energy department said on Tuesday.

Energy official Thabang Audat said 47 preferred bidders to supply renewable energy had been selected so far, in December last year and in May, but financial closure had been delayed.

This was because sellers required government guarantees that they would be able to sell their power.

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters had formally applied to National Treasury for these guarantees, and the department was awaiting Treasury's response, he said at a French-South African economic forum in Johannesburg.

Audit said the department was considering whether to increase the amount of renewable energy it would buy.

"We are discussing whether to increase this amount," he said.

The government had already committed itself to taking up around 2 000MW of renewable energy from independent power producers.

The Integrated Resource Plan 2010 (IRP 2010) - which sets out South Africa's energy plans for the next two decades - sees around 3 725MW of power coming from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Should more renewable energy suppliers be invited to bid, capacity procured in this way would be from the remaining 1 000MW of capacity the IRP 2010 provided for, Audit said.


Deadlines for bids by independent producers received under a third procurement round had been extended to May next year. The department was not yet ready to announce its coal and nuclear plans.

"We are still doing our homework," said Audat.

Forum chair Gerard Wolf said he had brought a delegation of 40 companies from France to discuss investment opportunities and trade relations with South Africa. Sectors such as energy, infrastructure, transport, and logistics were being discussed.

His delegation understood that issues such as localisation were a necessary part of doing business in South Africa, he said.

"This is why we feel so at home here, because we understand that there's no way to build a long-term partnership without strong social content."

Wolf demurred when asked whether any deals had been made so far.

"I'm not here to sign contracts myself. I would be glad if some of the companies would sign contracts together, but that is their decision to make," he said.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-10-17 12:10

    And conventional power is just so much more lucrative for government and the other Eskom shareholders.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-10-17 12:15

    As i said before the palms have to be greased to the equivalent of the amount you are going to put into the project - there are plenty waiting in line, starting with the maid.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-10-17 12:24

    Sure, lets keep putting it off, let the environment suffer more and the economy dive. A guarantee that the power providers will be able to sell the power? Really? In SA where every night Eskom tells us to switch off lights and pool pumps? In Africa where neighbouring countries are growing 2-10 times faster than we are and desperate for power?

  • esme.collins1 - 2012-10-17 18:57

    Perhaps the unions should be marching for this does eventually come from their pockets!! Stops the exsisting monopoly in the energy field (sorry 'Government' coffers will be a little leaner!) Creates some job opportunities! Cleaner and greener!

  • dieter.erxleben.1 - 2012-11-01 11:35

    I think we should start looking at taking our homes off the grip.add windturbines on every roof, solar panels and change to gass stoves

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