Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, says government is committed to addressing the energy generation shortages in the country.
He was speaking at the signing of agreements of three renewable energy projects procured under the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).
The programme was designed to allow government to source energy supply from renewable energy technologies in order to plug the country’s energy deficit in the short-term.
“The signing of these projects carries the full support of government. The RMIPPPP was unique in its approach wherein diverse technologies and their application were allowed to compete. This approach allowed the bidders to tailor-make solutions that would meet the specification to close the energy and capacity gap, as prescribed by Eskom System Operator.
“These projects are expected to add new energy to the grid within 18 months. We did this against the backdrop of load shedding, which hinders our economy and livelihoods.
“Government has committed itself to shortening its procurement processes to accelerate the process of adding new energy to the national grid. The process of building generators must also be reviewed. The 18-month period is too long when dealing with [load shedding],” Mantashe said.
According to the department, the three projects together have a capacity of 150MW and are expected to create job opportunities, and will furthermore pour billions of rands in investment into the country.
“Together, the projects have attracted R16 billion in investment, and will create around 4 968 job opportunities (measured in job years) during construction and operation phases of the projects. The projects are expected to deliver energy within 12 to 18 months from financial close.
“The 3 Scatec projects… are a “first of a kind” in South Africa, combining solar PV and battery technologies to contribute 150MW of dispatchable capacity to the national grid. All three projects are located in Kenhardt in the Northern Cape province,” the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said.
Eskom Chief Executive, Andre de Ruyter, said the addition of those megawatts is a step in the right direction to addressing the power utility’s 4 000MW generation capacity shortfall.
“Eskom is pleased we have arrived at a point we can really bring much-needed additional generation capacity onto the national grid, which is urgently needed at this point. Eskom will continue to do everything we can to assist the DMRE [Department of Mineral Resources and Energy] to facilitate the introduction of further generation capacity in the best interests of the whole country,” De Ruyter said.