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Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says government is ramping up renewable energy projects

Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa wants to add more renewable energy projects on the grid. Picture: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS - 23/08/2023

Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa wants to add more renewable energy projects on the grid. Picture: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS - 23/08/2023

Published Sep 2, 2023

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Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says they are ramping up renewable energy projects in the country and this will help add more megawatts to the grid.

Ramokgopa said they are also working on plans to expand the grid to be able to accommodate renewable projects.

In the last few months they have been issuing bids for renewable projects and some are already in design stages and others are in construction phases.

Ramokgopa , who was briefing the media on Saturday, said they are doing everything possible to get more projects connected to the grid.

“We are doing everything possible to make sure that we ramp up renewable energy share of the mix as part of the Integrated Resource Plan and the transmission is going to be the important part of the work that we are doing,” said Ramokgopa.

He said during the selection phase 134 bids were awarded and they will give the country 11 904MW.

“Although there is 11,904MW of electricity capacity that has been procured, it does not follow that all of it is now operational. Ouf the 134 IPPs that have been selected as preferred bidders 90 of them are operational and those that are operational are giving us 6,000MW of the 11,904MW. Some of them are in the stages of development and construction,” said Ramokgopa.

However, he said the issue of grid expansion must be addressed.

Ramokgopa has in the past said government would have to expand transmission lines by 14,000km in the next decade to accommodate renewable energy projects.

But this massive programme would require more than R210 billion and the Eskom balance sheet would not be able to meet this demand.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and Ramokgopa have on separate occasions said they would need to get the private sector to be involved in the expansion of the grid.

Ramokgopa said on Saturday the issue of the transmission lines was still a factor in getting renewable projects on stream.

“One of the limiting factors is a structural problem for now is the issues around the transmission line. We have shared with you the work we are doing to ensure that we are able to strengthen and expand transmission capacity in the country. We are proceeding to ensure we procure additional renewable energy solutions as part of independent power producer programme,” said Ramokgopa.

He said on Bid Window 7 they are going to the market to get 5,000MW. He said this was a combination of wind and PV. They will go out to the market in the third quarter of 2022/23 financial year.

On Bid Window 8 they are going to the market to get another 5,000MW. This will be done early next year.

The government also wants to get 3,000MW of gas.

Ramokgopa said they will continue on the path of the energy mix.

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