The South African Wind Energy Association has welcomed the news announcing G7 Renewable Energies and EDF Renewables’ legal close in South Africa’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, announced these preferred bidders as part of the 11 projects, in the procurement of the 2 000MW Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), in March 2021. More than two years later, the projects totalling 203MW, are finally gaining traction, expected to reach financial closure and commence construction before the end of this year.
Both of these projects incorporate wind, solar and storage technology on a utility-scale, which is a first for the South African government’s procurement programmes.
These projects will not only add new renewable power generation to the grid, but as hybrid projects, they’ll enhance the reliability and stability of the power generation system.
Also known as co-location power projects, these hybrid Independent Power Producers (IPPs) will provide dispatchable electricity during peak hours amplifying the contribution of renewable energy to the energy crisis and assisting in reducing the effects of loadshedding.
“This is a massive benefit for the country, as these renewable energy hybrid systems will showcase the complementary nature of solar PV, which produces power during the day, and wind, which produces most of its power during the morning and evening peak. This combined with battery storage means dispatchable power when it’s most needed,” says Niveshen Govender, CEO of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA).
Situated across the windy Cape regions, these projects are expected to come online by 2025 onwards, according to the Minister. Speaking at the signing, he said the total investment would attract R14.6-billion, into the country’s economy and contribute a total of 3 966 job-year opportunities in the construction and operation phases. Furthermore, over R610-million over their 20-year lifetime is expected to be directed towards local development for host communities.
The projects include 128MW Oya Energy Hybrid Facility, in Matjiesfontein, Western Cape; and 75MW Umoyilanga Energy, to be constructed across two sites at Avondale in the Northern Cape, and Dassiesridge in the Eastern Cape.
The RMIPPPP’s long journey began in early 2020 with the Energy Minister’s Determination (February 2020), resulting in the 2 000MW Ministerial Determination being gazetted on 7 July 2020, following NERSA public consultation and concurrence. The RFP was released to market three years ago (24 August 2020), with the preferred bidders announced in March the following year (18 March 2021).
“The announcement this week, concludes the signing of five of the 11 preferred bidders, totalling 353MW and marks the first hybrid projects that include wind energy. We know that the first three of these IPPs, which signed agreements in June last year, are currently in construction, and look forward to these two newly signed projects reaching financial close and beginning construction, thereby bringing much-needed new generation capacity into the system in 2025,” concluded Govender.