Cape Town – Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said she is confident that the impasse between Eskom and independent power producers (IPP) has been removed, and that the power utility will sign the IPP agreements for renewable energy in the near future.
Joemat-Pettersson was part of a delegation consisting of ministers of the economic cluster who briefed journalists about the commitments made in President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address (SONA) on February 9.
Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti, who spoke on behalf of the cluster, said government’s “flagship” Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPP) has to date unlocked R200bn in investment commitments and created more than 115 000 jobs over the lifespan of the projects.
During question time, the cluster was asked whether the IPP programme was really on track, as Eskom had said in an opinion piece that it had surplus energy and couldn’t “roll out what was unaffordable”.
Joemat-Pettersson said there had been engagements with Eskom and her department on the renewable energy programme, and the costs of renewable energy are in line with the Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD) methodology, which is used to evaluate Eskom's applications for revenue requirements.
“But through the National Energy Regulatory Authority (Nersa) and the MYPD there could be cost recovery for Eskom,” Joemat-Pettersson said.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies also weighed in on the IPP issue, saying that commitments made with regard to renewable energy needed to be followed through.
“The uncertainty (caused by Eskom’s utterances that the IPP is not affordable) has caused a wobble in that industry,” Davies said. “But the good news is that the new Independent Resource Programme envisages a higher level of renewables. This should enable us to understand that renewables are an important part of our energy mix.”