ALMOST 40 of 90 Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects have been connected to the country’s power grid over the past five years, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said at the opening of the South African International Renewable Energy Conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre yesterday.
Joemat-Pettersson said her department’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme was reaping rewards.
So far, the initiative had contributed 4 294GWh to the national grid, while total payment to IPPs stood at R9.2 billion. The initiative had also saved 4.4 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Joemat-Pettersson called the programme, which has been running since 2010, world class.
The programme has been designed to contribute towards socio-economic and environmentally sustainable growth, and to start and stimulate the renewable industry in South Africa.
The conference will run until Wednesday and more than 3 000 delegates from the private, public and academic sector are expected to discuss strategies to accelerate the use of renewable energy.
Joemat-Pettersson said more than 90 projects had been awarded to IPPs in less than five years. Almost 40 of the projects were already connected to the grid.
“We are spearheading a programme which is tough, but is a benchmark in what South Africa wants to do with renewable energy. It is the flagship programme of this government,” she said.
Joemat-Pettersson said the project was created after the electricity capacity constraints began in the country.
“Five years ago we had a vision that our generational capacity would include a large portion of renewable energy – gas, solar, wind and other forms of energy. We had to advance our generation capacity but also had to reduce the country’s primary reliance on fossil fuels. We had to diversify the national network and stimulate an indigenous energy industry with the assistance of the private sector,” she said.
Joemat-Pettersson however said the country “grappled with a lack of resources” to harness the country’s renewable resources, and had limited access to the appropriate technology for the job.
According to a report released by the department, detailing work in the Western Cape, of the 4 294GWh generated, 522 had come from the province, most of which was powered by wind.
The department had invested R800 million in wind farms in the Western Cape.
One of the province’s biggest wind farms, along the West Coast, has contributed 90.82MW of electricity, 519 jobs were created during the construction and operation, and the wind farm offsets more than 73 430 tons of carbon dioxide.
Department of Energy IPP department head Karen Breytenbach said nearly half the awarded projects were owned by South Africans.
“When we started the programme this was new to us, we had to import almost everything. However, our South African IPPs have become more innovative and we can see how this initiative is growing from programme to programme,” she said.
Going forward, the sector would be working with the Department of Trade and Industry to grow the initiative, stimulate business growth and industrialisation.
October 4 2015 at 11:35pm
By Lisa Isaacs