Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has announced that a new 1500 Megawatts project will soon be launched in the Northern Cape to add to South Africa’s growing renewable energy programme.
The Minister announced this at the South African International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC) 2015 on Monday 5th October.
She said this would be a ministerial legacy project.
“For my home province and country, a ministerial determination will be made for a legacy project for this conference for 1500 Megawatts of additional solar power in the Northern Cape,” she said.
Briefing journalists later, she said the project would be in addition to previous announcements that she has made.
In June, Minister Joemat-Pettersson announced 13 preferred bidders of the procurement Bid Window 4.
The 13 projects were tipped to supply an additional 1084MW of electricity to the national grid.
“It is a ministerial determination, it is not a thumb suck, it is a legacy that we want to give so that the SAIREC conference will be remembered for the rest of our lives as a conference where REN 21 motivated for an additional 1500 MW of solar energy,” she said.
The project will be a much-needed addition to the Department of Energy’s Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme, which as to date helped government procure 6 000 MWh.
The programme is seen as a valuable contribution to the power grid which has until recently been buckling under strain due to a shortage in generating capacity.
IPP office to be rolled out to Africa
The IPP project’s footprint would be increased to other parts of Africa due to its successes, the Minister said.
The department’s IPP office, which was established in 2011 in partnership with National Treasury and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, has been lauded for adding through procurement from the private sector.
She said the model, which was also lauded by International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Director-General Adnan Amin, would contribute to addressing Africa’s energy needs.
“We urgently need improvements in living standards. The World Energy Outlook Special Report provides a comprehensive picture of today’s Sub Saharan energy sector and its future prospects in the global context.
“This picture varies widely across the region. But in Sub Saharan Africa, only 290 million out of 915 million people have access to electricity, and the number [of those]without access is rising. Our efforts to provide electrification is gaining momentum but are outpaced by population growth.”
She said going forward, the office would look at re-shaping its mandate, which expires at the end of this month, to build on its successes.
The private sector and other stakeholders are invited to give input on the shape they would like the office to take, given its past operations, challenges and successes.