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Mining sector has pipeline of 73 energy projects

27 July 2022 - 08:46 By TimesLIVE
The regulatory processes that took up to three years to approve renewable energy projects delayed the private sector’s ability to relieve the energy crisis, the Minerals Council says. Image: Sandfire mine in Australia uses solar energy.
The regulatory processes that took up to three years to approve renewable energy projects delayed the private sector’s ability to relieve the energy crisis, the Minerals Council says. Image: Sandfire mine in Australia uses solar energy.
Image: Juwi

The mining industry has a pipeline of 73 projects from 24 mining companies to generate 5.1GW (5,116MW), valued at more than R65bn, as SA’s battles to secure energy security.

The Minerals Council SA, calling for urgency in the implementation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recently announced energy plan, said so far this year the National Energy Regulator of SA has registered 295MW for mining companies.

“The mining industry can play an important role in reducing the pressure on Eskom, which must undertake extensive maintenance of its fleet of aged and neglected power plants that have an average age in excess of 35 years, and take old coal-fired plants out of service and repurpose them to renewable energy and battery storage solutions.”

The regulatory processes that took up to three years to approve renewable energy projects delayed the private sector’s ability to relieve the energy crisis, the council said, “but President Ramaphosa’s commitment to cut red tape, develop a ‘one-stop shop’ for renewable energy project applicants, ease the local procurement rules and bring a level of pragmatism to the environmental authorisations are important developments that must be implemented with a degree of urgency.”

On Monday Ramaphosa outlined a detailed plan by government to abolish the 100MW licencing cap on private sector renewable energy projects, ensure greater private sector participation to urgently install electricity generation capacity, address Eskom’s R400bn debt and its internal crime and corruption problems and streamline regulatory processes by eliminating red tape.

This represents the most fundamental reforms of SA’s energy sector in 20 years, said Roger Baxter, CEO of the Minerals Council. 

“Overall, we rate this plan as very good for its boldness and for recognising the private sector, along with fixing the reliability of Eskom, is the solution to energy security going forward.

“The president and cabinet recognise we have a fundamental energy crisis and there can be no more tinkering around the edges.”

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