Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has previously welcomed the ruling in the application to interdict the signing of the power purchase agreements for the 27 independent power producers projects. Picture: Courtney Africa/ANA

Johannesburg- Energy minister Jeff Radebe was on Wednesday due to sign renewable energy agreements with independent power producers on behalf of state-owned power utility Eskom, his department said.

The department of energy said the 27 projects, located in mainly rural parts of South Africa, would amount to R55.92 billion in new direct investment in the energy sector and create much needed jobs.

The agreements will be signed after the high court threw out a bid by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Transform RSA to block the deal, which they said would lead to at least 30 000 job losses in Mpumalanga province, home to five Eskom coal fired power stations.

"The department reached this milestone following a long period of uncertainty, but with this important milestone government re-confirms its commitment not only to renewable energy, but also to a solid partnership with the private sector as it pursues energy’s core position in the South African economy," the energy department said.

"This will bring much needed policy and regulatory certainly and maintain South Africa`s position as an energy investment destination of choice."

Eskom supplies about 95 percent of South Africa's electricity, most of it coal-fired. Supporters of  renewable energy say implementing solar and wind electricity on a national scale would eventually drive power prices down.

Numsa says it does not oppose renewable energy or an energy mix, but wants a sector which is controlled and owned by workers and the community.

African News Agency/ANA