The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed his government will be launching a new request for proposal (RFP) round for 2.6 GW solar and wind power capacity in the coming weeks, as round 5 of its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP). In August 2021, the government will come up with another bid window.
Referring to the estimates of national utility Eskom, the President said as the country’s coal-fired power stations reach the end of their working life, over the next 5 years South Africa is likely to experience electricity supply shortfalls of between 4 GW and 6 GW. The 2.6 GW renewable energy procurement is expected to help fill this gap.
Between 2030 and 2050, South Africa expects close to 24.1 GW of coal power plants to be decommissioned under IRP 2019.
While delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on February 11, 2021, Ramaphosa said the government would soon be initiating the procurement of an additional 11.8 GW of power from renewable energy, natural gas, battery storage and coal in line with South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019. Made official in October 2019, the IRP 2019 sees solar adding 6 GW by 2030 while wind is foreseen to get the maximum space with 14.4 GW; the plan also holds scope for close to an additional 6 GW for small scale or embedded generation (see South Africa Targets 6 GW Solar PV By 2030).
The President added that his government will also be looking at easing licensing requirement for new embedded generation projects that are likely to add up to 5 GW of additional capacity, needed to ease the impact of load shedding. Efforts are also being made to amend regulations for municipalities to buy power from independent power producers (IPP).
Eskom has committed to become a net zero emitter by 2050 and enhance its renewables portfolio, and the President said the national utility will be looking to partner with investors to repurpose and repower part of its coal fleet.
The President also shared that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy will be announcing the successful bids for 2 GW emergency power.
Already, in last year’s SONA dated February 13, 2020, the President had assured that the government will open a bid window for the REIPPP round 5 and work with IPP winners of round 4 to accelerate the completion of projects awarded (see Scatec Solar Switches On 86 MW In South Africa).