WANTED: A renewable energy friendly Eskom CEO – Sarec

Cape Town – The South African Renewable Energy Council (Sarec) wants to see a “shift of attitude” from Eskom as it seeks a new chief executive following Brian Molefe’s resignation.

Molefe has refused to issue final budget quotes to preferred bidders in Round 4 and Round 4 extension of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) as he believes Eskom is being taken for a ride by the private sector.

There are 26 preferred bidders across a range of technologies, none of which has reached financial close due to Eskom’s refusal to sign further PPAs, Sarec chairperson Brenda Martin said last week.

“These projects represent a combined value of R50bn in investment into the country that has been put on hold, which is ludicrous when considering our current economic climate,” she said.

FULL STORY: IPPs raise red flag over Eskom agenda after state capture report

Molefe announced on Friday that he would step down at the end of 2016, after former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report State of Capture implicated him as being close to the Gupta family during the family’s takeover of Optimum Coal Mine from Glencore this year.

READ: Brian Molefe a 'fallen angel' - economist

Before Molefe was shifted from Transnet CEO in 2015 to save Eskom from load shedding and its financial woes, Sarec said it had a constructive working relationship with Eskom around the REIPPP.

“We have, however, found the increasingly irrational and inaccurate criticisms levelled at renewable energy and the REIPPP programme by Mr Molefe and Mr (Matshela) Koko in recent months difficult to fathom, particularly since neither has ever sought to engage with the industry directly through well-established platforms to do this,” said Sarec board member Mike Levington.

Failure to follow clearly understood communication channels led to the undermining of investor confidence in the Independent Power Producer sector, Sarec explained.

READ: TIMELINE: Brian Molefe's career so far

“We hope that the appointment of a new chief executive will lead to constructive communication between Eskom and Sarec as well as reinvigoration of momentum in the REIPPP, the financial close of the Redstone CSP project from Round 3, the 26 projects from Round 4 and the Small IPP programme, and the announcement of the Expedited Round preferred bidders,” said Levington.

It is expected that after the closing of rounds 4 and the expedited round, the REIPPP will have been the cause of greater than R250bn of investment into South Africa.

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