South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has this week announced a raft of measures in a bid to contain the power supply crisis currently engulfing the Southern African country. Among the measures announced by Ramaphosa on Monday is the scrapping of the cap for setting up private power generation systems without licensing which was pegged at 100MW.
With the new provisions, once effected into law will allow private companies to set up power generation systems of any size without requiring a licence from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA). The systems will however need to be registered by the regulator.
Commenting on the announced plans to scrap licensing for private generation systems, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) said; “SAWEA views the removal of the licencing cap for embedded generation projects as the next step to liberalising the energy market but this only makes sense if this is indeed applied to larger projects with the ability to wheel power through the network.”
Investors have oftentimes criticised Pretoria of the onerous and sometimes frustrating approval processes for power projects. Ramaphosa announced that his administration is creating a single point of entry for all energy project applications, to ensure the coordination of approval processes across the government.
Doubling renewable energy procurement
Africa’s most industrialised country currently has a power generation shortfall of between 4 000MW to 6 000MW, and needs new power generation added to its electricity system to end power cuts. National utility Eskom’s coal power generation fleet has been experiencing performance problems, with a number of its power stations battling to constantly generate power due to breakdowns as a result of lack of maintenance and old age.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will now double its procurement of renewable energy under Bid Window 6 of Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPPP) this year to more than 5,000 megawatts. The government will also create incentives for owners of renewable energy generation systems to sell their excess power to Eskom.
“By increasing the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) allocation for Bid Window Six (BW6) from 2600MW to 5200MW, the President is in fact doubling the capacity outlined originally in this procurement round. This is fundamentally needed to bring on new generation capacity quickly, and is in line with the sector’s advocacy efforts,” said SAWEA.
Additionally, South Africa is looking to import power from neighbouring countries in Southern Africa that have more electricity capacity than they require through the Southern African Power Pool.