South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), through the IPP Office has today announced the opening of the Bid Window 6 (BW6) of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPPP). DMRE is calling for interested parties to submit bids by the 11th of August 2022.
Prospective bidders are required to complete an electronic registration form at the IPP Office’s renewables website, and pay a non-refundable fee of R25 000 per prospective project.
The latest renewables tender by Pretoria calls for procurement of 1 600 MW of onshore wind energy, and 1 000 MW of solar PV energy in accordance with the country’s energy roadmap, the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP2019).
South Africa’s minister for mineral resources and energy, Gwede Mantashe, in September 2020 published a Section 34 Ministerial Determination for the procurement of more than 11 800 MW of new energy generation and energy storage capacity by 2024. Of the 11 800 MW South Africa seeks to procure by 2024, 6 800 MW of it will be renewable energy capacity, and 513 MW will be battery energy storage capacity.
Africa’s Southernmost country last year awarded 2 600 MW of renewable energy projects to independent power producers under bid window 5 of the REIPPPP projects, with almost half of the projects won by a consortium led by Irish developer, Mainstream Renewable Power.
REIPPPP BW 6 to attract much needed investment to SA
The renewable energy procurement drive by South Africa is expected to attract billions of much needed investment, create jobs and help the country with its economic recovery efforts. South Africa’s economy endured severe mutilation from the COVID-19 pandemic and sent the country on a record unemployment rate of 35.3% by the last quarter of 2021.
In addition to the positive economic benefits, investment in new renewable energy generation capacity will also be crucial in helping improve the country’s energy deficit as state utility Eskom’s ageing coal generation fleet fails to cope with the electricity demand, resulting in the country experiencing power blackouts to avoid a total collapse of the grid.
Power generation projects awarded under South Africa’s government electricity procurement programmes sign power purchase agreements with Eskom Holdings – which is currently undergoing an unbundling process to separate it into three independent entities. An unbundled Eskom will see its generation, transmission and distribution businesses separated, creating more competition for its generation unit, whilst its transmission unit will sign agreements with private power producers for supply and wheeling of energy to various parts of the country.