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SA announces 2,600MW of renewable energy, but won't fix load-shedding woes for nearly two years

28 October 2021 - 20:13
Minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe speaks during a press conference on renewable energy on Thursday night.
Minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe speaks during a press conference on renewable energy on Thursday night.
Image: GCIS

The government has announced 25 new renewable energy projects for SA, but these are unlikely to make a dent in reducing rolling blackouts across the country until at least mid-2023.

In April 2021, the government launched bids for 2,600MW of renewable energy, split between wind (1,600MW) and solar (1,000MW) power.

On Thursday, minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe announced that there were 102 bids received, of which 25 projects were approved. These 25 fell just short of the target megawatts, with 2,583MW worth of projects having been approved.

But while this is good news in terms of adding power to the country’s ailing electricity grid, Mantashe warned that this was not a quick-fix solution.

“Power from these preferred bidder projects is expected to be connected to the grid within 18 months of signing commercial agreements now set for the end of January 2022.

“It is unfortunate that this announcement happens at a time when the country is experiencing load-shedding due to unavailability of the Eskom power generation units. Noting that typical grid scale projects have a minimum of about 36 months before they can produce power into the grid, the immediate solution to our electricity challenges lies in getting the existing plants to perform in a predictable and stable manner,” said Mantashe.

He said that the bidder projects would result in about R50bn of private sector investment.

“Preferred bidder projects will create 13,900 job opportunities,” he said.

The projects were confirmed as:

  • Coleskop Wind Energy Facility
  • San Kraal Wind Energy Facility
  • Phezukomoya Wind Energy Facility
  • Brandvalley Wind Farm
  • Rietkloof Wind Farm
  • Wolf Wind Farm
  • Beaufort West Wind Facility
  • Trakas Wind Facility
  • Sutherland Wind Facility
  • Rietrug Wind Facility
  • Waaihoek Wind Facility
  • Dwarsrug Wind Facility
  • Grootfontein PV 1
  • Grootfontein PV 2
  • Grootfontein PV 3
  • Grootspruit Solar PV Project
  • Graspan Solar PV Project
  • Sannaspos Solar PV Project
  • Du Plessis Dam Solar PV 1
  • Kentani Solar Facility
  • Klipfontein Solar Facility
  • Klipfontein 2 Solar Facility
  • Leliehoek Solar Facility
  • Braklaagte Solar Facility
  • Sonoblomo Solar Facility

Mantashe added that the next phase of renewable energy bids — known as “Bid Window 6” — will be released “no later than the end of January 2022”.

“Bid Window 6 will also include 1,600MW of onshore wind and 1,000MW of solar PV in accordance with the Integrated Resource Plan 2019,” he said.