DURBAN - Agri SA has welcomed Mineral Resources and Energy’s Minister Gwede Mantashe's approval for the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to proceed with processing licence applications for self-generation facilities of above 1 megawatt.
Nicol Jansen, Agri SA Chairman Economics and Trade Centre of Excellence, said on Tuesday that the approval meant that prospective applicants were no longer required to obtain Ministerial approval for deviation from the IRP 2019 before applying to Nersa for a licence.
“This bodes well for the agricultural sector as farmers will now be able to put up renewable energy sources above 1MW. The approval also makes provision for wheeling arrangements and with the removal of regulatory and administrative constraints, an opportunity presents itself for Eskom to adjust its internal processes to accommodate the latest development,” said Jansen.
Agri-SA said that given the electricity constraints faced by South Africa, they were of the opinion that this was a positive stride towards alleviating pressure from power utility Eskom, as independent producers would enter the market.
Jansen said a stable power supply was imperative for development and plays a critical part in economic growth, which was desperately needed by the country to tackle the social ills faced. He added Agri SA believed agriculture still remained a key sector in achieving that goal.
Last month, the Nersa confirmed Mantashe had approved that NERSA may process licence
Nersas spokesperson', Charles Hlebela, said last month that the approval meant that prospective applicants were no longer required to obtain Ministerial approval for deviation from the IRP 2019 before applying to Nersa for a licence.
However, the approval by the Minister in the above generation facility categories excluded those that involved local government (provinces and municipalities) or supply to local government, as these would be addressed separately.