- The North Guateng High Court has reportedly dismissed the plea of coal workers representing bodies in South Africa to stop 27 renewable PPAs from signing
- South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has announced that there is nothing to prevent Eskom from signing the procured power purchase agreements
- Written judgement from the court is now awaited next week
South Africa’s renewable energy industry has braved another challenge that had been preventing it from signing long-outstanding power purchase agreements (PPA) with state-owned utility Eskom. The North Guateng High Court has rejected a petition of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Transform RSA NPC that had requested to stop the PPAs from signing.
Earlier this year, there seemed to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the renewable energy industry when South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) indicated that Eskom may finally sign the PPAs (see Stuck PPAs May Finally Be Signed In South Africa). Then media reported that the new Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe had fixed March 13, 2018 as the date when the PPAs would be signed.
All seemed set but at the last minute NUMSA and Transform RSA NPC approached the court to stop the signing from taking place. They expressed fear that if the PPAs were signed, it would lead to the closure of coal fired power plants and job losses, impacting at least 30,000 working class families. The two lobby groups had secured an urgent court interdict, which now has been rejected.
SAWEA’s CEO Brenda Martin commented, “It is our understanding that there is nothing in the law that now prevents the signing of the duly procured power purchase agreements.” The association is now waiting for the court’s written judgement, which is expected early next week.
Once the PPAs are signed, the 27 delayed projects need to come online within 3 years. This will help the country diversify its energy resources, and boost investor confidence in the economy, said SAWEA.