Cape Town - Stakeholders in the renewable sector have welcomed the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s (DMRE) opening of the long-awaited Bid Window Six (BW6) in its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
This announcement signalled headway in government efforts to alleviate current electricity supply constraints, such as load shedding, and phase out the country’s long-term reliance on coal by increasing its reliance on renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power.
The opening called for proposals from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to develop a new generation capacity of 2 600 MW, including 1 600 MW from onshore wind energy and 1 000 MW from Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) power plants.
“BW6 has been designed to contribute towards socio-economic and environmentally sustainable growth, to continue the successes of the REIPPPP since its inception, and to further stimulate increased local participation and economic empowerment in the South African Renewable Energy industry,” said the DMRE.
Given the energy challenges the country faced, the department said qualification criteria were developed to promote the participation of projects that were fully developed and would be able to be constructed and connected to the national grid as soon as possible.
The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), together with the broader renewable power sector, welcomed the bid window as it was another step towards addressing energy security and advance the role of the wind sector in South Africa’s development objectives.
“The announcement to open BW6, calling for proposals from IPPs, adds vitally needed power capacity to the country, which continues to struggle with strangled energy supply that is preventing the necessary economic recovery that South Africa so badly needs,” Sawea chief executive office Niveshen Govender said.
Govender said South Africa could address fundamental challenges of energy access, energy security and climate change, and job creation through the deployment of renewable energy.
Renewable energy was initially deployed to mitigate climate change and improve energy security, however South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) spokesperson
Maloba Tshehla said solar PV had the potential, coupled with other renewable technologies, to improve access to energy for individuals, industry and advance economic development in local communities.
Bid Window 5 was expected to reach financial closure by the end of this month.