Addressing members of the National Press Club in Pretoria, South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) CEO Ntombifuthi Ntuli and South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) chairperson Wido Schnabel reported that their members had projects that could be implemented on an accelerated basis and in line with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s (DMRE’s) recent call for proposals that could be grid-connected in the “shortest time and at the least possible cost”.
The call was made in a request for information (RFI), the deadline for which is January 31, for supply and demand options to close what is at least a 3 000 MW capacity gap, but which a recent Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) report calculates could be as large as 8 000 MW. The CSIR also warns that the country’s energy shortfall, which was above 1 350 GWh in 2019 (the country’s worst-ever load-shedding year), could grow to nearly 2 000 GWh this year and peak at about 4 600 GWh in 2022.
A full month as been allocated for the evaluation of the RFI responses, after which an emergency procurement process is expected to be initiated.
Lead times could be compressed in the next bidding round, owing to the fact that some 90 projects had already been identified in 2015 under the ironically named ‘expedited round’ – that round eventually expired after years of delay, precipitated by Eskom’s refusals to enter into new power purchase agreements (PPAs) with independent power producers (IPPs).