Draft regulations on power capacity falls short of needs, says PV industry
Cape Town - The draft regulations on power generation capacity continue to fall short of addressing municipalities’ needs, the photovoltaic (PV) industry said on Sunday.
At the start of May, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe gazetted draft amendments to the electricity regulations on new generation capacity which aimed to clarify the regulatory regimes applicable to municipalities for procurement or development of power generation capacity.
The public had 30 days from the date of gazette to provide comments, the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia) said in a statement.
Sapvia was pleased to see the implementation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement as delivered in his 2020 state of the nation speech, Sapvia chief operations officer Niveshen Govender said in the statement.
The solar industry was eager for clarification, as the draft new generation capacity regulations continued to fall short of addressing municipalities’ needs, as demonstrated in the court proceedings brought by the City of Cape Town.
The regulations allowed a municipality to apply to the minister for a determination in terms of section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act and required that this determination be made in accordance with the national Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity.
The City of Cape Town was arguing that it did not require a section 34 determination and was free to generate and procure energy from independent power producers (IPP) in terms of their own energy planning and not only in terms of national prescripts.
For any government procurement programme for utility scale projects, Sapvia supported central procurement through the Independent Power Producers Office (IPPO), but recommended the removal of caps on private embedded generation to allow the market to procure these projects in a safe and legal manner with no cost and at the highest speed for the state.
Allocation for private procurement should not be sterilised by state procurement. The current determination was not clear on what allocation would be left for distributed generation under the IRP, but private procurement was far quicker and less costly.
There was a risk that the 2000MW additional generation capacity would not be enough to deal effectively with the problems of load shedding. Another risk was that the full 2000MW allocation in the IRP would be assigned to a public procurement programme, thereby destroying the own use generation market and thousands of jobs.
“We believe that the following assumptions regarding the energy availability factor were incorrect and the supply shortfall is in fact nearly double what was assumed. In this case, these allocations will not be sufficient to ensure security of supply in the short and medium-term,” Govender said.
African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet