- Government has unveiled eight independent power producers to produce additional electricity to support Eskom.
- Eskom has been battling rotational load shedding induced by supply constraints.
- The bidders will provide power generated by solar energy, wind, liquified natural gas and battery storage.
Government has unveiled eight preferred independent power producers to produce 1 845 MW additional electricity to support Eskom, which is currently battling rotational load shedding induced by supply constraints.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday the projects are expected to inject a total of R45 billion private-sector investment to the economy. Bidders are required to have 51% South African entity participation and 41% black ownership.
The bidders, which will provide power generated by solar energy, wind, liquified natural gas and battery storage, are: ACWA Power Project, Karpowership SA Coega, Karpowership SA Richards Bay, Karpowership SA Saldanha, Mulilo Total Coega, Mulilo Total Hydra Storage, Oya Energy Hybrid Facility, and Umoyilanga Energy.
The renewable electricity produced by these companies is expected to flow to the grid from August 2022, providing a much-needed capacity boost to Eskom, which has for many years been crippled by outages which has been blamed for slowing economic growth.
Shortfall forecast for 5 years
Eskom, which supplies the bulk of the electricity currently used, this week forecast that it would have a shortfall of 4 000 MW over the next five years.
Mantashe said the added renewable energy is meant to "supplement Eskom electricity supply" instead of merely waiting until the power utility's operational challenges are resolved.
"If you add megawatts, you will see that we are supplying an equivalent of almost two power stations of energy, and we are going to grow that capacity ... we are concerned about the situation, that is why we think this programme is urgent."
It is envisaged that power from these projects will be connected to the grid from August 2022.
Mantashe also announced that the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 2 600 MW under the Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme Bid Window 5 will be released to the market at midnight on Thursday.
A total of 1 600 MW of the 2 600 MW from Bid Window 5 will be derived from wind and 1 000 MW will come from solar energy.
"Given the energy challenges that we are facing the objective is to get these projects connected to the grid as soon as possible," he said.
Government set a target of 13 813 MW to be delivered from a mix of energy sources, in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa's economic recovery plan.