South Africa prepares to procure 10GW of renewable energy
In a presentation to parliament last week, the Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe outlined his department’s procurement plans.
As power blackouts continue to plague South Africa, the government has announced that it is preparing to procure 10 gigawatts (GW) of additional renewable energy under bid windows 7 and 8 of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
In a presentation to parliament last week, the Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe outlined that his department will issue Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the bid window 7 in July, and for bid window 8 in the fourth quarter of this financial year. Each bid window will procure 5 000 MW each.
South Africa last year issued a tender under REIPPPP bid window 6, which sought to procure 5 000 MW but only managed to award 1 000 MW due to lack of grid capacity in the provinces where majority of the projects were bid.
South Africa’s Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape provinces have the country’s best renewable energy resources. Independent power producers favour setting projects in the provinces as they achieve the best energy yields. However, lack of grid capacity hamstrung many potential projects that were bid in the provinces in the previous government tender.
Mantashe acknowledged grid unavailability is one of the biggest challenges South Africa faces in its quest to address the current energy supply challenges.
“Grid availability is critical to securing electricity supply in the future. It impacts not only on the public procurement programmes, but also on private embedded generation initiatives,” Mantashe said.
South Africa’s renewable energy industry has been advocating for more investment in grid and transmission infrastructure, including partnering with the private sector as part of the solutions to solve the grid unavailability challenges.
“We have consistently called on government to explore options that will strengthen or expand the grid infrastructure build as quickly and efficiently as possible using mechanisms of self-build or public-private partnerships. As stated by Eskom’s Transmission Development Plan, new renewable energy generation capacity of between 4GW and 5GW must be built and connected to the grid annually,” said Niveshen Govender, CEO of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA).
SA to procure additional storage to increase grid capacity
South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), through its IPP Office is also finalising the awarding of preferred bidders for 513MW of battery storage in Northern Cape under the Energy Storage Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (ESIPPPP). This will be deployed at state utility Eskom’s substations in the province, and is expected to help address the grid capacity challenges in the provinces.
With the procurement of 513MW of storage, it is reported that the transmission system will be able to add approximately 2GWh’s across five key points in this Province. Furthermore, it is reported that Eskom specifically selected the substation sites in an effort to unlock renewables capacity in the grid-constrained province.
Minister Mantashe also further revealed that South Africa will procure additional storage in an effort to further increase grid capacity for additional deployment of renewable energy in the country.
“In the second and fourth quarter of this financial year, we will issue further requests for proposals for the procurement of Battery Storage with a capacity totalling one thousand two hundred and thirty megawatts (1 230 MW),” Mantashe told parliament.