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POWER CRISIS

Ramokgopa pushes for mega renewable energy tender to curb rolling blackouts in SA

Ramokgopa pushes for mega renewable energy tender to curb rolling blackouts in SA
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa at the Lethabo power station in Vereeniging in March. (Photo: Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) – Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has proposed a ‘mega bid window’ for the procurement of renewable energy to curb rolling blackouts, even as previous plans to build clean power generation have been delayed.

Ramokgopa recommended buying a minimum of 15,000 megawatts, in addition to other measures that go beyond a seventh round of auctions for renewable-power supply that’s already planned. 

The proposal is evidence of South Africa’s commitment to green power, the minister said at a solar-energy conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday, even as he pushes to extend the life of coal-fired power plants.

The plan to acquire renewable energy was presented to the ANC’s highest decision-making body over the weekend. It adds to other measures the minister has proposed to end daily blackouts that are hobbling economic growth in Africa’s most industrialised nation, including the use of diesel turbines to generate emergency power, according to the proposal seen by Bloomberg.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to push for extending life of ageing coal-fired power station

The request for a mega bid window would be made to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, led by Minister Gwede Mantashe, according to the presentation. 

Delays and obstacles

South Africa’s programme to buy renewable energy from private producers has drawn developers and building projects, but the auctions have faced a number of delays in recent years, despite attempts by President Cyril Ramaphosa to accelerate and expand them. 

The plans to add additional renewable energy generation have also been hampered by a lack of capacity on the grid.

Ramokgopa’s recommendations to the ANC’s National Executive Committee also called for expediting the financial close of remaining projects from Bid Window 5 and 6 of the renewable energy programme “and to urgently finalise” the release of further bid windows for solar, wind, battery storage and gas by the end of May 2023, according to the presentation.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 

How to beat load shedding at home… and other ideas

Eskom Intelligence Files

Bid Window 7 should be released next month for 5,000MW of solar and wind technologies where grid connections are available, the presentation showed. Proposals for 1,200MW of battery storage and 3,000MW of gas will also be requested before June. Bloomberg/DM

By Antony Sguazzin and Paul Burkhardt, with assistance from S’thembile Cele.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • . . says:

    Good news but without investment in expanding the grid, ultimately useless.

    I get the puah to drive investment in Mpumalanga but South Africans will pay the cost of these less than ideal locations for 20years

  • We have this ongoing thing about grid constraints. But we don’t: firstly, the overall demand for electricity has decreased, thanks to some companies (smelters, for example) having scaled down their use of electricity.
    Then there is the question of the same excuse being given, when electricity is injected at the extremities of the grid. There is no comparison – electricity injected at the extremities poses no additional load on the grid: in fact it reduces it. The idiotic limiting of power input in Gqebergha is an example. The same applies to the Northern Cape, the Western Cape or anywhere else at the fringes. and the same for the Karpower ships.
    Government, in the shape of Mantashe, is using this as an excuse to delay implementation of renewable energy.
    Powerships: in the case of Karpower ships, there is a different angle. If the solution is meant to be temporary, why the need for a 20-year contract? the only reason is that money is changing hands – i.e. an illegal transaction. There is no other explanation for the 20 year contract period.
    Let’s get some engineering input here, to clarify things once and for all, so that the public is properly informed. Come the day.
    Eric Carter
    10 Nola circle
    Blairgowrie
    2194
    083 300 3321

  • Jennifer Hughes says:

    It’s so weird to read something the ANC is suggesting that seems like a good idea… What’s the catch?

  • Paul Hjul says:

    Not going to happen when South Africa is placed under sanctions in addition to being greylisted and otherwise fast becoming a pariah state. Total government incompetence to at the same time as seeking investment into the country announcing an intention to break the rules based international legal order.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Wait, wait, wait, let me understand this well, so Minister Ramokgopa asks for “‘mega bid window’ for the procurement of renewable energy”?
    Renewable energy, maar luister nou bokkie, your pal Minister Mantashe will bitch slap you till kingdom come because years ago he decided it is Coal, Coal, Coal, Baby! and renewable energy has no role in SA’s energy mix. So get with the programme, Minister Ramokgpoba, otherwise there is going to Big Amok if Gwede finds you in a dark alley (loadshedding will take care of that) one evening.
    Sies man, renewable energy, go wash your mouth!

  • Trenton Carr says:

    When is a proposal ever a commitment?
    Never, not even in a 1st world country much less a last world country like the ANC have made ZA. No one trusts the blah blah from the ANC talking heads anymore. We need some proper thinking heads at the wheel now, but it is probably too late.

  • Alan Watkins says:

    “The request for a mega bid window would be made to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, led by Minister Gwede Mantashe, according to the presentation. ”

    And there it will die a long slow death…….

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