08/10/2010 Tina Joemat Pettersson Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries during the AgriSA congress, held at Mulderdrift Roodepoort. (876) Photo: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - Private sector investment in renewable energy had reached R193 billion, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said as she announced the names of 13 additional preferred bidders in the renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme.

Joemat-Pettersson said the programme’s Bid Window 4 would supply an additional 1 084MW of electricity to the national grid. She added that the Department of Energy had approved 92 renewable energy projects so far, and that public-private partnerships in renewable energy had resulted in an extra 6 327MW of capacity being contributed to the national electricity grid since 2011.

She said that R19.1 billion had also been committed to socio-economic development, which would be spent over the 20-year life span of the projects, as well as R6 billion for enterprise development initiatives which, she said, contributed significantly to economic growth, job creation, energy security and the increasing generation of clean electricity.

“We will overcome challenges by standing together” is clearly the message, said Ompi Aphane, deputy director-general for policy, planning and clean energy in the Department of Energy. He said the co-ordinated approach between the government and the private sector to renewable energy development projects was making a positive impact on the socio-economic growth of South Africa.

“There is overwhelming interest from local and foreign investors who offer excellent prices, which demonstrates confidence in public-private partnerships in the South African energy sector, said Aphane.

“Improved electricity supply is a critical element of the nine strategic priorities identified by the South African cabinet in partnership with the private sector and all stakeholders. This co-ordinated approach to the energy challenge is aimed at meeting socio-economic development objectives and growing the economy,” Aphane said.

The government had demonstrated its commitment by investing substantially in renewable energy solutions, Aphane said, adding that the use of independent power producers also encouraged job creation and supported enterprise development, while green electricity became more affordable.

Aphane said that the Department of Energy was working tirelessly to find affordable solutions to the shortage of electricity. “With this programme South Africa is moving towards providing sustainable energy solutions and we believe it will position the country as a global player for alternative solutions that will ultimately unlock Africa’s potential.”

The flagship independent power producers procurement programme was not only about renewable energy but rather a combination of energy supply and demand options to increase participation by independent power producers, and would supply electricity derived from renewable resources, gas, coal and co-generation to the grid, as well as helping with energy efficiency and other demand-side initiatives.