Power utility Eskom has confirmed awarding 18 bids for grid connection for the lease of land for renewable energy projects in their power stations in Mpumalanga.
Eskom which has been in the past few months battling to keep the lights on which has led to a negative impact in the economy because once the utility institute load shedding, businesses and consumers at large get affected.
The utility said at this stage, however, no contracts have been signed as the companies must first obtain environmental impact assessment clearance.
The power utility also said the the companies cannot be named as no contracts have been signed as yet. Eskom will make an announcement of the successful companies once all the processes have been finalised.
The current bids cover about 4,000 hectares (ha) out of the total 36,000 ha available under the program.
The utility said the current projects will bring online a total of 1 800MW generation capacity once connected.
“We hope to sign the land lease agreements with the successful bidders by August,” said Eskom chief executive Andrè de Ruyter.
He further said “This shows what can be achieved with reduced red tape and the impact of the liberalisation of the energy sector. This additional capacity will be added to the grid without any cost to the taxpayer.”
De Ruyter said the land lease agreements will be concluded on a commercial basis, with power utility earning some income from the lease of the land while the projects will enter into sale agreements for the electricity with third parties.
Last December, De Ruyter, said the utility would provide connection up to the nearest network connection point, taking the pressure off Eskom’s ageing fleet of coal-burning plants.
Then, the project was lauded by investors as part of growth-enhancing reform strategy to deal with the country’s crippling energy crisis.