Eskom land lease could see SA get 1800 MW boost to the grid

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Eskom has identified 18 companies to lease land to for renewable energy projects.
Eskom has identified 18 companies to lease land to for renewable energy projects.
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  • Eskom has selected 18 companies to lease land to develop renewable energy projects.
  • They will add 1 800 MW of generation capacity to the grid.
  • None of the lease agreements have been signed yet, as the companies require environmental impact assessments.


South Africa's constrained power system could soon get a 1800 MW generation boost.

Eskom on Thursday confirmed that it had selected 18 companies to lease land to for the development of renewable energy projects.

The power utility in December announced plans to lease portions of its land in Mpumalanga to potential renewable energy projects to help bolster generation capacity. The land is close to transmission lines, which ensures grid access for the projects. Eskom launched the tender process in April.

The initiative leverages off regulatory changes, allowing licence exemptions for generation facilities of up to 100 MW.

In a statement, Eskom said that none of the contracts had been signed, as the companies need to obtain environmental impact assessment clearance.

"The companies cannot be named, as no contracts have been signed as yet. Eskom will make an announcement of the successful companies once all the processes have been finalised," the statement read. 

More income, less red tape

The bids will cover 4 000 hectares of land, out of a total 36 000 hectares that are available.

"The current projects will bring online a total of 1 800MW generation capacity, once connected," the statement read.

"We hope to sign the land lease agreements with the successful bidders by August," said Eskom CEO Andrè de Ruyter.

"This shows what can be achieved with reduced red tape and the impact of the liberalisation of the energy sector. This additional capacity will be added to the grid without any cost to the taxpayer."

Eskom is set to earn some income from the leasing of land. The projects will also enter into sale agreements for the electricity with third parties.

Eskom is currently implementing Stage 2 load shedding due to breakdowns of generation units which are constraining the grid. 

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